Preparing for a Virtual Screening Interview

It’s that time of the year – when job openings are popping up! This year, some districts are conducting the screening interview virtually – with the candidate sending in a video responding to pre-made questions from the district. It is safe to assume that districts may be screening more candidates for positions, so it’s important to plan and prepare for this screening round so that the district gets to know your personality, who you are, your experiences, your education, and your background – so that you can move to the next round. Below are a few suggestions for the virtual screening round:

Script Your Answers 

Before you begin recording your video, look over the job description and the questions that were sent to you by the district. Write out your answers to each of the questions. You can write these in any format you wish, as you are the only person who will see this writing. I highly recommend scripting out your answers so that you know exactly what you want to say and how you want to deliver the points that you wish to get across. Approach this as you would an assigned essay for a class – write out your answers, take a break from them, and then go back and revise what you wrote. Make sure you are answering the questions that the district has asked rather than veer off onto other topics.

Be Mindful of Your Background 

Pay attention to what is in the camera’s view. You want to make sure that your video looks professional. If you look at television interviews during the pandemic, you notice that many people are sitting in front of bookshelves and the books on the bookshelves are pretty strategically placed. For example – certain book titles are easily noticeable. It gives the impression that this person has knowledge of certain material. You want to do the same. If you plan to sit in front of a bookshelf, make sure you look at the titles of the books that are on the shelves – because chances are, someone watching the video will notice them as well. If you use a virtual background, keep it professional. Set up the background before you are ready to shoot the video so that everything is situated. Additionally, be mindful about what you are wearing and make sure it looks professional on camera.

Practice! 

Practicing a few times before you film your video is helpful. You can practice rehearsing the questions that you wrote out. It is fine to look down at your notes, but you do not want to be reading from them. This also gives you the opportunity to practice the tone of how you will deliver your responses and what parts you want to emphasize. Additionally, you want to make sure that you are not rushing your answers, but your pacing is natural. If you need to stick to a specific amount of time, make sure you time yourself so you know if you need to cut out some text. When you are ready to video yourself, I suggest taking 2-3 videos so that you can choose from a few videos and can submit the best one. If possible, have someone else see your video before you send it out and give you feedback. Ask them for constructive feedback  – for example – one thing that was strong about your video and one area that may need a bit of improvement. If the suggestion would help you, I suggest taking the time to shoot the video again. Remember, this is what will get you to the next round of interviews. 

Submit Early

One of my colleagues has a quote (actually, I believe her Dad taught her this) – early is on time and on time is late. You want to show that you are the type of person who can meet deadlines. Submit your video a day or two before the deadline. When you submit the video, make sure it is in the format that the district asked for and that you have included any necessary documents that the district wants. This shows that you can follow directions – you have taken the time to read the requirements and you can follow them. 

Overall, try to enjoy the process as much as possible. I am very well aware that the job interview process is stressful and very time consuming, but having a positive and open-minded attitude will shine through!