If you have moved into the interview phase for an online teaching job, congratulations! Whether it is your first or tenth interview, there are often curveballs and unexpected questions and varying interview formats that can feel uncomfortable. In this first of two articles on interviewing of the Steps to getting your first online teaching job series, I will cover the top three trends I am seeing in online teaching job hiring today.
Here are some trends in interviews:
Group interviews are trending right now. I am seeing more group interviews than solo interviews in the past three months. What does this mean? That schools are asking 2 or more people to join the interview call. This has a distinct advantage – fewer calls as you advance in candidacy. Of course, it can also be a bit more nerve wracking to be on an interview with multiple interviewers. You may know ahead of time who will be on the call, but often you don’t. You may only find out when you hear the primary interviewer say (for example) “joining me today on the call is John, who will be asking questions about your experience in building courses.” Try not to panic. The school is not doing this to create a “gotcha” moment. They are interviewing you to rule you in, not rule you out! (This is important to remember when you answer questions, too). They are likely doing this to save time and be able to chat about the interview later amongst themselves.
Another trend I am seeing in interviews is for the school to use screeners, hired as sub-contractors or working for the school in human resources. If your first interview is with a screener, you can expect a relatively short call (20 minutes or less) and basic questions like “who have you taught for?” and “what did you most like about teaching?” The screener will likely ask you what you know about the school (do your homework ahead of time) and how long the terms are, what learning management system they use and more about the position. Do not take screeners lightly. He or she is a gatekeeper to your ability to move onto talking to the Dean. Keep your conversation upbeat and conversational. Screeners will usually ask if you have questions at the end (as will other interviewers). The answer to this is never “no”. More on the most common interview questions I see today next week.
One more trend I am seeing is the use of online screening tools when a school is interested in hiring or interviewing you. You may receive an email asking you to take one or two 30 minute to one hour online assessment tools. Schools are using them to make a decision about your personality and courseroom engagement, and to determine if you are a good fit for the organizational culture. The best advice I can give you here is to be honest, as some of the tests use internal validity to try to determine if the respondent is trying to “cheat the test” or is being honest in their answers.
Your initial interview may be with human resources, with a course lead, with a department chair, or with a dean of a school. It isn’t unusual today for more than one person to be on the same interview looking to save time and ensure they hire the best candidate.
There are also a variety of platforms used for interviews. More recently I have seen Skype interviews because they now allow group calling. I also still see traditional phone interviews, and some Google Chat calls as well.
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