The past few years launched a new lifestyle of virtual meetings, and it seems the Zoom life is here to stay. Whether this technology has become a familiar part of your day, or it feels daunting and overwhelming, interviewing for a new job virtually has shifted the way we approach job hunting. As educators, we’re used to making in-person connections with students, peers, and community members, so interviewing for a substitute teaching job through a screen can feel strange.
At Kokua, we conduct our substitute teacher interviews virtually, and we want you to feel confident and comfortable when you sit down to speak with us. To put your best foot forward, check out our top 10 tips for a successful virtual interview:
Mark your calendar
This tip carries over from in-person interviews. At Kokua, we reserve 30-minutes just for you, so make sure you have the time, date, and login information saved on your calendar. Having an event on your computer will save you from having to dig through emails to find the link. Login on time – or a few minutes early if you can!
Use a laptop or computer
While your phone might be great to video chat with friends and family members, you’ll be more successful on a laptop or computer for a professional interview. This will allow you to be hands free, have a steady camera, and avoid any distractions from your phone. During your Kokua interview, we may share our screen to provide visuals and answer questions, which can be difficult to see clearly on a smaller phone screen.
Pro tip: Make sure your computer is fully charged or plugged in so you’re not interrupted by the dreaded “low battery” notification during your interview.
Get tech ready & test the platform beforehand
Test the meeting link prior to your scheduled interview time to make sure you can access the interview, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the platform. You may discover you need to download an app or plug-in, which you’ll want to complete before your interview.
A few other ways to be tech ready:
- Make sure you have a reliable Internet connection
- Test your camera and microphone (Zoom prompts you to do this when you click the interview link, so it’s easy!)
- Test your speakers
Consider your surroundings
Setting up a suitable space to interview is a new challenge with virtual interviews. Set yourself up in a well-lit room, with a clutter-free, professional background. If this isn’t possible, consider using a virtual or blurred background.
Dress to impress
Most of us are feeling much more casual these days. While we love our loungewear, dressing professionally will not only present yourself well to the interviewer, but it can make you feel more confident and focused. Consider how you’d want to present yourself on your first day at a new job. At Kokua, we recommend business casual.
Some examples of business casual attire:
- Slacks or khakis
- Dress shirt or blouse
- Open-collar or polo shirt
- Knit shirt or sweater
- Blazer or jacket
Interviewing from home can present challenges, but do your best to find a quiet space that will help you maintain your focus. Communicate with members of your household to avoid accidental interruptions, silence your phone and computer notifications, and use the mute button while your interviewer is talking.
We also know you’re human, and the occasional pop-in from a family member, child, or pet is understandable!
Look into the camera when speaking
When you’re feeling nervous, sometimes direct eye contact is the first to go. Virtual interviews can make it tricky to maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Pro tip: look into the camera when you’re speaking, rather than at the interviewer’s video. Do your best to avoid the ever-tempting urge to look at your own video!
Get to know the company
Do your research! Explore the company’s website, build personal connections to their mission, and check out their online presence on websites like Glassdoor and Indeed. For example, Kokua is highly rated on Glassdoor, and you can explore hundreds of reviews from teachers and staff members to help you understand our culture.
Interviewers typically leave time at the end of the interview for questions, so take note of questions you have while exploring the company. At Kokua, we want you to be excited to join our team, and we appreciate when candidates have thoughtful questions that guide their decision.
Reflect on your experience
Lastly, be prepared to share more about your work history and why you’re interested in the role. At Kokua, we love when our candidates show their passion for impacting young lives and their excitement to work in a classroom. Gather concrete examples of your growth and projects you’re most proud of, while also considering the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way. Jotting down a few bullet points can help trigger your memory, so keep those nearby for quick reference.