Three school leaders joined us for a webinar to share their insights and past experiences with remote interviewing. The speakers were:

  • Stephen Priest, Principal of the British International School of Tbilisi
  • Rebecca Dunne, Deputy CEO of Prestolee MAT
  • James Blackwell, Headteacher at Jericho Primary School

The webinar is linked at the bottom but here are some of their key insights for you broken down by what they found worked well, what they learnt from the process, and a key insight.

Stephen Priest, Principal of the British International School of Tbilisi

What worked well:

Limiting the number of people you have on the panel. Two active participants is sufficient. More can distract the candidate and is not conducive to meaningful discussion.

Key finding:

Having a two stage interview process is critical. It helps to conduct a formal interview and an informal conversation. The informal conversation can be hosted by a less senior member of staff. This creates a more relaxed environment for the candidate to ask questions that they wouldn’t ask the Principal.

Key insight:

A good way to give the candidate a sense of your school without them being there is to show them a part of the school virtually with a mobile device. This can be a great way to stimulate discussion.

Rebecca Dunne, Deputy CEO of Prestolee MAT

What worked well:

Consider your questions and how you present yourself on video carefully. Understand you may not be coming across on camera as you would do face to face - as it’s hard to convey personality. Take this into account and consider how you can introduce yourself, your interests and background to build rapport and help the candidate feel at ease.

Key finding:

Video requires you to be more proficient and precise with your questions. This enables you to get the information you really need from a candidate without meeting them.

Key insight:

Be mindful that the last few months have affected people in different ways. You don’t know about their personal journey over these last few months. Having that awareness and expressing empathy will help you to make candidates feel comfortable.

James Blackwell, Headteacher at Jericho Primary School

What worked well:

Hosting an introductory meeting with the candidate before the formal interview and tasks. This gives an opportunity to express school values, ethos and culture. It also puts the candidate at ease and gives them useful information to ask their own questions during the interview.

Key finding:

That you should become familiar with the technology before conducting remote interviews. Lots can go wrong, so it’s important you’re able to anticipate, diagnose and solve problems quickly.

Key insight:

Resist the temptation to overhaul your set tasks. This process might be new to you, your colleagues and the candidate. Consistency in the tasks will mean you can focus on the candidates’ performance, not the task selection itself.