Like many things during what I have dubbed the “Spring of Quarantine” this year’s job season is shaping up to be a little different. The word on the street is that at least some schools are moving forward with interviewing. Some are doing phone interviews but most are using a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Meet. As an art educator, I’ve experienced remote interviews and I am here to share what I and other art educators have learned.
The portfolio is so very important to the art teacher interview, don’t want to leave it to chance. For sure, you can’t rely on your physical teaching portfolio for a remote interview. A day in advance of the interview send the point person your website link, a slideshow link, or a multi-page PDF of your portfolio. Make it short, sweet and timely. They can look at it in advance, or you can lead them through your portfolio during the interview if given the opportunity. This abbreviated version of your portfolio should include your resume, samples of written lessons and student pieces. Make sure the lessons you select for this interview line up with the grade level and topics needed for the position. Each page should display your name and title (art educator) in a consistent location in readable but modest font and size with page/slide number. Numeration allows you to reference specific projects and lessons through your interview and make sure that you are all, literally, on the same page.
I will also mention that you can use the screen share feature in Zoom to share specific images. Find the green button at the center and bottom of the screen. Make sure you check the box to allow your participants to hear your computer’s audio if necessary. Another option is to join with a secondary device like your cell phone and use it as a document camera (No Audio) or with potential images preloaded to the device.
Prep the Tech
If you’ve never done a video conference before, practice. Get your best friend, your neighbor, your teen to set one up and practice with you. Try those ways to share screens so you feel comfortable and confident in the moment.
Prepare your interview space. As you choose your space, think about what is visible beyond in your view. You don’t want clutter like kids toys and laundry to be distractions. You also probably don’t want to invite them into your bedroom, it just doesn’t feel professional. You also don’t want to be lost to the shadows, so you need to be in a room with plenty of lighting, be it natural or artificial. Think about a space where people and pets won’t be wandering through.
Dress for Sucess. Just like any other interview, give some thought in advance to what you wear. Just because it’s remote does not mean you shouldn’t be dressed professionally. I have another blog post about that you can check out. You will generally be viewed from the waist up. While your pants won’t likely be seen, it’s still good to wear them because you never know and it helps you mentally. One special consideration is the color you wear and how it comes across on the monitor. The best thing you can do is a trial run in advance of the interview to assess your outfit.
Keep the Noise Level Down
If you live with others try to reserve a room that you can close the door to. If you have kids, this is the time to have your spouse take them outside. Turn off the television, stereo and all phones. Let housemates know your in an interview and consider a note on the door to your room as a reminder.
Use Cheat Sheets
Online interviews allow for you to have a cheat sheet they can’t see. You can have a document open on the side or notes on stickies, like the name of the people in the interview.
Don’t forget to be warm and genuine with a smile. Make eye contact with your audience and show those public speaking skills, you are a teacher after all.. Thank them for the opportunity.
With these pieces of advice, you can join your interview feeling prepared and confident. To boot, you will have shown you are tech savvy and can reach your audience in a digital format. You never know when that might come in handy!