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Landing your dream job virtually

Landing your dream job in education during a time when virtual interactions are the norm requires special attention to the expectations of the employer, but it also offers unique opportunities to enhance your success. NEA interviewed both human resources (HR)/personnel directors and building administrators in large and small settings across the country to curate the best advice for aspiring educators.

Interview Tips During a Pandemic 

Dress for Success
Even though an endless parade of classes and meetings may be held with more relaxed norms on platforms such as Zoom, multiple administrators reinforce that candidates for jobs should still dress professionally. As one HR director said, “We’ve had candidates who wore sweatshirts to their interview. We didn’t hire them.” 

Find a Neutral Background
Try to find a location with a neutral background if you will be connecting via video. If possible, try your best to limit the likelihood of interruptions from pets, family members and roommates. 

Location, Location, Location  
For one district that’s been using virtual networks to recruit applicants for many years, they believe that those candidates within 25 miles of their district are far more likely to remain in their schools and thrive. Even though distance interviewing opens doors across the country, it might be that your dream job is just around the corner. 

Tech Savvy Under Pressure  
The necessity of moving to a virtual process for interviewing has helped some schools discover which candidates are able to go with the flow when complications arise. They also note that it gives them a sense if the applicant feels comfortable using technology that could be a normal tool even when face-to-face classrooms return, so check your internet connection (or hardwire) and any other potential tech issues before the interview. 

Do Your Homework
Administrators almost always note that the best candidates clearly know about the school and district where they are applying. Do some research beforehand to learn as much as possible about the students, department of interest, community demographics, as well as the history, challenges and successes in the school district. 

Tell Your Story
Interviewers will be interested in the examples you can share about helping every student succeed – what strategies were adjusted, and how did you lead them to overcome obstacles confidently? They also want to hear how you demonstrated care and respect for the students, their families and your colleagues where you completed student teaching. 

Give the Big Picture
Think about the most important things you want the interviewer to know about you and write down a few points about each. For example, you collaborate well so “you look forward to working with Professional Learning Communities both to learn and contribute.” Then, regardless of what questions you are asked, find ways to insert your big message and talking points into each answer. 

In many ways, this advice would be relevant even with a traditional interview. In addition to their important observations, consider some tips from two other respected sources/journals for educators. 

5 ways to ace your next interview
11 questions you’ll be asked in a teaching interview