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How to ace your interview (virtually or in-person)

Interviews | Teachers - 11 Oct 2020

Starting your career as a teacher is one of the most rewarding steps of the whole process. You have been through the motions of studying, doing assignments, work-integrated learning experience and of course putting a stellar curriculum vitae together. Now comes the part where you need to ace your interview. Even though we have reached Level 2 of lockdown in South Africa due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are still in rough waters. The interview process for a teaching position will either be a virtual interview or face to face, depending on the school’s protocol. Here are a few tips to ensure that you ace your interview both ways.

Test that technology!
As soon as that virtual teacher interview is scheduled, make sure you check your technology. We all know how temperamental Wi-Fi can be, especially with load shedding being back in full force as well. If your video is grainy or you’re getting an echo, it’s probably time to invest in a small webcam with a built-in microphone. Be sure to do a day-of check of your internet connection, as well as audio and video. If at all possible, rather connect to the internet via an ethernet cable. It’s just more stable than Wi-Fi.

Prepare your interview space
Whether it is online or face to face, prepare your interview space. If online, try to find a quiet, well-lit area for your virtual interview. A blank background like an empty wall to sit in front of is always a winner because you will remain the focal point on-screen. With face to face interviews, you don’t really have much control over your interview space, but you can, however, ensure that you are comfortable and confident, and don’t stack all your things on the table in front of you.

Practice always makes perfect
As with any interview, the way you prepare can make all the difference. It’s a good idea to look through a school’s website – make sure you know what their vision and mission is and that you get a feel for how they operate. You can also predict some common interview questions and have your responses ready. You don’t want to be rehearsed, but high-level talking points you definitely need to be prepared for.

Dress to kill!
Dressing the part for an interview (online or in-person) will give you a confidence boost (who couldn’t use that?) and send the message that you’re serious about the job and that you mean business! Have a look at photos of the staff on the school’s website. Gauge what their dress code is and ensure that you match the school’s dress code for your interview. Maybe even dress up one notch greater that the school’s dress code just to be sure. Add a tie, a bracelet, watch or jacket that steps up your game just a little bit.

Do that follow up
Just like you would for an in-person interview, follow up within 24 hours of the interview. This is a great way to keep yourself on their radar. A simple email to thank your interviewers for their time is a simple and effective way to stay top of mind. Just don’t sound needy or desperate. Add a link to an article, video or podcast of yourself in the email. This allows the employer to catch another glimpse of your awesomeness.

The most important of all is to always be yourself. It is easy to sell something that you aren’t but will catch up to you very quickly when you have to uphold the facade. Your skillset will, of course, be the ultimate selling point, but to just be yourself and let your personality shine will add that extra magic that will land you the job! Remember, there is nobody like you, and that is your unique selling point.

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