The best technical setup for online interviews and online classes

Interviews - 19 Nov 2020

Aspiring teachers may think that the hardest part is over once they have their degree in hand, but the real fun and games begin when it is time to find your dream job. Pre-COVID the joy of going to an in-person interview was almost more exciting than the interview itself. We have now had to resort to online interviews and online classes – an area that wasn’t explored much in the South African education landscape.

The main thing to remember is to not just get a ‘job’ for the sake of a paycheck. Being a teacher is a calling and your classroom will be your home where you make an impact on learners who will eventually become our country’s leaders in various fields. When applying for a job it is important to research the school you are interested in and to see if their values and processes fit your teaching style and of course, your personality. Don’t just settle. Have a look at their website and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will you be able to tell the panel what the vision statement of the school is?
  • Are you aware of some recent events that learners enjoyed?
  • Are there key documents that are available for you to read?
  • What does the Department for Education performance table website say about their outcomes?

This will help you determine if you are really interested in the school and help form some questions that you would like to ask on your interview day. If you don’t know anything about the school other than what was in the advert, your answers and ideas are unlikely to make you memorable in any way. Always go into every interview with three clear points why you are the best candidate for the position and make sure you sell yourself accordingly. Be prepared for common interview questions such as:

  • What are your areas for development?
  • Which achievements are you proud of?
  • What inspired you to become a teacher?

Coupled with all of the above you need to be prepared when it comes to online interviews and classes when you eventually settle into your new job. Following the below tips is a sure recipe for success!

  1. Do a test-run! – whether it is for your online interview or your class you have to conduct, always ensure that you familiarise yourself with the platform (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc.) and ensure that you are comfortable with using the platform. Technology can be temperamental, so ensure that your internet connection and audio functionality won’t let you down halfway through.
  2. Find the perfect spot – there is nothing worse than doing an online interview or class with a distracting or chaotic background. Setup near a window where you have natural light coming in and not sit in a dark spot where nobody will be able to see you. You always want to put your best foot forward. Light that comes from behind you will cast a shadow on your face and won’t leave a good impression. Rather set up a light, like a desk lamp, in front of you.
  3. Minimise distractions – there is nothing worse or more unprofessional than arb noises in the background while you are online or people walking past your camera. Make sure your space is neat and tidy. First impressions are lasting. Remind the people staying with you that you’ll be going into an online meeting a few minutes before the meeting starts and ask them to be considerate.
  4. Dress for the occasion – make sure you dress up and watch your posture. Appearances matter and your interviewer or class will quickly form an opinion on how you carry yourself. As cliche as it may sound, always remember to smile without overdoing it or coming across fake. Standing during an interview or online class is perceived better by your audience than when you sit. It also has the added benefit of freeing you up to use your hands more and provides a more confident appearance.
  5. Calm yourself – practice your lessons or your interview answers to ensure that you don’t stumble over your words and come across prepared and confident. It is  easier to talk to a screen when just slow down and give yourself permission to be yourself!

Be sure you always keep eye contact with your audience, even if it is just one person, by looking into the camera lens and not staring at the screen.. Nothing is really different from an in-person interaction and for once you don’t have to worry about being judged on a firm handshake!






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