03/16/2020 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Landing the Job
5 Questions to Ask Yourself During a Virtual Job Search
The final stages of any serious interview with a school usually involve a campus visit – when you demonstrate to the school why they should hire you for the position. The visit should give you the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities and to explain how your background and experience will allow you to excel in the role. But what happens when you won't be making an in-person visit to campus? Most campuses are closed because of the impact of COVID-19, so for a lot of job seekers a campus visit might not occur at all.
How can you then ensure you are able to make an informed decision about the position without being able to experience the school environment and community firsthand?
The campus visit normally gives you a chance to explore how you fit into a school’s community and to gauge school culture, the student body, and colleague interactions. You'd get to meet your potential new coworkers and get a feel for the setting of the school – all things that help in your decision-making process should you receive an offer. It's time to think about this a little differently – at least for now.
In a virtual hiring process, asking the right questions (and talking to/video chatting with the right people) will be key in getting a full sense of the school. So, what are some key questions you can be asking during an entirely virtual hiring process as you consider a new position?
Becoming the Interviewer
It’s important to remember that, for a truly successful hiring experience, the fit needs to be mutual. If you are going through a totally virtual hiring process, it is absolutely acceptable for you to have items you need to cross off your own personal checklist (and of course, it's equally acceptable if the process is not 100% virtual). Throughout this process, remember that you have a voice – and it counts.
We often suggest the five questions below during key leadership searches, but they apply to most any job search – especially now. To answer them, you'll have to be willing to do diligent research, both with the people you are talking to at the school and within your own self. But in the end, you should be left feeling more confident in the virtual hiring process.
Ask as many questions as you need to – but try to figure out ahead of time what most of these are. Feel empowered to ask more questions than you would were you to make a campus visit, and perhaps even request to speak to some others at the school (teachers, other departments, board members, parents, older students, etc.) if it could be helpful in your decision-making. Schools understand that these are unprecedented times, and they are sympathetic to job seekers who will not have the opportunity to visit in person. In fact, they are likely redesigning their hiring processes to temporarily account for these new circumstances.
1. Is this school a place I want to be?
How does the school “feel” in terms of the whole combination of work to be done, the location, the people, its mission, and what you can glean about the culture? Does the school have clear values and a mission that you connect to? Can you picture yourself as part of the larger school community?
2. Is it work I want to do?
Do the job responsibilities align with what you want professionally? Are there opportunities for you to grow, both personally and professionally? Are the challenges ones where you feel you can add value? Are you excited about the changes and challenges this new role will bring you professionally and personally?
3. Are these people I want to work with?
Have your interviewers been people you have enjoyed talking to? Do they seem committed to and engaged with the work of the school? Are you eager to partner with the faculty, staff, and parents and especially the students? Does the school have senior leadership who you have confidence in?
4. Can I be successful?
Is there a clear path to success for you? Do you feel you'll be supported in the right ways? What obstacles appear and are they surmountable? What professional development opportunities exist?
5. Will my family and I be happy?
Is this a community and/or location that you and/or your family can call home? Does it have the right affinity groups, activities, climate, and cost of living (or other factors important to you at this point in your life)? Will your spouse or partner able to find work, connections, and support? If you have children, will they enjoy their school (can they attend?) and new friends?
What other questions are likely to be important to you in a virtual hiring process? Let us know in the comments – thank you!