The Art of the Zoom Interview

Zoom has taken over the world. Classes, weddings, cocktail parties, interviews- truly, what’s next?

Edit: I would like to clarify that I am sharing the knowledge I’ve learned from previous interview circumstances. This knowledge helped me achieve my current position which I LOVE and plan to be in for years and years to come 🙂

I don’t believe Zoom interviews for teachers were common until the Covid-19 pandemic, but even so, I can see them being utilized more frequently moving forward. I’m hoping that administrators consider the balance between the ease of meeting online and the benefits of meeting a candidate in person, but sometimes, it’s just easier to get everyone together online, at home. The flexibility really can’t be beat.

Now, preparing for a Zoom interview is a bit different than preparing for an in-person one. Keep in mind you will have a little bit of grace when it comes to technology, however, it is always important to test your tech ahead of time, have chargers handy if needed, and to present a clean and professional space in your background. If you plan to share your screen, make sure that your notifications are turned off and that all other tabs are closed. Furthermore, a clean desktop (folders, documents, etc.) may be beneficial! 

While your camera only catches you from the waist up, it is still best practice to dress for the interview. Remember: dress for the job you want! If you’re dressed for success, you can actually shift your mindset into a more focussed perspective. Similarly, selecting a location in your home (if possible) that you often use for work or more serious activities can be useful. It’s very hard to have a successful interview from your couch!

If it’s important to speak slowly during in person interviews (although, as teachers, we understand fast talking more than most professions) than it’s 10Xs more important to speak slowly and clearly during a Zoom interview. While you don’t have to scream to be heard, there is still a screen between you and your panel. If someone asks you to repeat something or states that they missed what you said, kindly restate or use the opportunity to rephrase. Similarly, if you don’t hear something completely, do not hesitate to ask someone to repeat what they said.

Some will find more ease in a Zoom interview than an in person interview. Others will feel completely out of their comfort zone. Keep in mind that the teachers on your panel probably feel the same. Don’t forget to smile and shift your eye contact to different areas of your screen (remember: your camera is up top!) It’s also okay to acknowledge this “new normal” although, please I wouldn’t use the phrase “new normal.” I can’t believe that I just used the phrase “new normal.” 

In my opinion, it’s more of a challenge to share who you are in a Zoom interview than when you’re face to face, in person. However, it’s even more important in these cases. Moving forward, schools will have distance learning opportunities in the back of their minds. Snow days, state emergencies, flu season… it will now and forever be an option. Your panel wants to see that you can engage an audience and present yourself adequately over a video call. Show them what you’ve got! 

Looking for more? My full “Actionable Interview Guide for Teachers” is available on Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s. However, you can get it free for a limited time when you sign up for my email list! Start your educational career off on the right foot and start moving one step closer to your dream job.

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