If you’re reading this, you’ve already made a great first impression. You’re on the way to your next International School job. A school has reviewed your profile, they’ve probably read the two or more references written about you, and they think you might be suitable for one (or more!) of their current vacancies. This is brilliant!

How to have a great video interview for your international school job

The next step is to ensure that you impress them face-to-face in a Skype video interview. (Many of these tips obviously also apply if you meet in person). You might also like to read our guide to successful phone interviews.


1. Review your Skype account settings

If you are using Skype, check that your skype ID is accurate in your profile. You can adjust this in the Skype ID section of your Contact Details.

Make sure this shows your skype ID, not your normal name. You can find out your Skype ID following these instructions on the Skype help page.

Ensure your Skype ID looks and sounds professsional. (Surfin.USA from your college days might be better now as Brian.Wilson61) Check that your Skype photo looks professional. It will be the first image that an interviewer sees when they call you.

2. Test your audio and video

Check the image: Check that there are no unsightly items behind you. Make sure your camera is positioned at a good height. Ideally it should be level with your eyes or higher. If you are using a laptop, prop it up on some books. If you are using your phone, aim to balance it landscape. It’s likely that your interviewer will be on a computer so this widescreen appearance should give them a more natural view.

Check your lighting: If it’s not good enough, find a small table lamp to plug in nearby. Definitely avoid backlighting. You don’t want to be in shadow with a halo around your head.

Check the sound: banish any loud dogs or children during the call (if possible!)

3. Prepare your notes

Have a reminder of any key details printed out in front of you. Make sure everything is large enough that you can scan details quickly during a call. Be careful though: it never looks good if you appear to be reading during the interview. Checking a note quickly is OK, reading out a prepared sentence is not!

Have questions ready to ask your interviewer.

Get our guide to Interview Questions

4. Dress for the role

Dress for the job you’ll be doing. Make sure you are as smart and well-presented as you would be on your first day at your new job. (At least the top half of you. We’ve done many Skype discussions from hot tropical countries where the business-style clothing we’ve shown on screen is not the full story!)

5. Close other applications

Before interview time make sure you shut down any other applications. Neither you nor your interviewer want to be distracted by pop up notifications or sounds.

See more

Here is a useful YouTube video with advice on how to get the most out of a Skype video interview. Click to play:


6. Sit back from the camera

Leave space between you and the camera. You need to ensure you can still be seen and heard clearly, but if you sit back a little you make the conversation feel more natural and less intrusive. However, if the interview ends up close to their screen, you might want to mirror their position.

7. Look at the camera

Try to stay focussed on your camera, not on the image on your screen. You want to create eye contact with your interviewer which you can only do if you look in the camera. If you have an external camera position it slightly in front of your screen. You can then look ‘through’ the camera at the image of the interviewer. That creates a stronger connection with your viewer.

However, try not to be too static. You can still use body language, and use your hands to help illustrate any points. Just briefly check that you are staying inside the video frame.

8. Smile

Yes, we know that an interview (and a video chat interview) are unusual situations. Try, as much as possible, to enjoy yourself. You are a strong candidate and the person interviewing you wants to find out more about you as a person. Despite the stress, remember to smile!


9. Ask questions

Most interviewers will ask you at the end if you have any questions. Make sure you have at least 3 ready to ask. If doesn’t matter if you have researched this school, this interviewer, and the country and already know everything. If the interviewer asks you for questions, you should ask something! If not, it seems that you are not really interested.

Initially focus your questions on the role, the school, the style of the leadership team or your immediate boss. It’s useful to find out what kind of place is this. Will you enjoy it there?

In the first interview, avoid asking questions about benefits or other allowances. Most of these are already available on the school’s profile that you’ve reviewed. You can find out any missing details later. For now, you want the school to really want to hire you and to understand your motivation and teaching passions. They don’t, initially, want to debate whether the summer holiday is 6 or 7 weeks long.

However, it is reasonable to ask a final question, ‘What happens next in the process?’ Use this, or some variation on it to find out when you might hear back from them, and potentially find out how many other candidates they are talking to. When are they hoping to make a decision about this role? What other steps will be involved (how many interviews)?

10. Say thank you

Easy and obvious, but thank them for their time.


11. Send an email

Send an email to the person who interviewed you to thank them again for their time.

As relevant you can include something specific from your call, either about your professional experience (“I was pleased to learn that you also a strong believer in XYZ in early childhood education”) or about the school or location (“Thank you for sharing information about the school’s great location. It came to life much more strongly than any google map could ever do”).

Confirm that you look forward to hearing from them in the next (whatever timeframe you discussed in the final question of the call above).

12. Share feedback

Our team at Searchality will send you a message after your interview to check how it went and to get your feedback on the school, the job, the process, and the interviewer(s). Your feedback helps us to improve the Searchality community for everyone. (As well as sharing tips with you on video interviewing, we also do the same for our school clients. We want to help everyone do well!)

13. Prepare for the next interview

Think back on the call. Is there anything you’d have said or done differently? Are there elements you want to emphasise more strongly in the next discussion (with this school or another)?


Well done!

Need more?

We want to make your recruitment process a success. Contact us below if there’s more we can do to help.

What’s your experience of Skype interviews?



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