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Introductory Videos: How Job Seekers Can Impress Recruiters 

Written by: Elizabeth Heubeck
Published on: May 20, 2020


Imagine you’ve got just 90 seconds to show your best self to a potential employer. In the era of COVID-19 closures, this is a very real possibility.

With traditional career fairs grinding to a halt this spring and other forms of in-person screenings equally implausible, the brief, introductory video is fast becoming one of the most surefire ways to sell a recruiter on your teaching skills. 

If you’re planning to create an intro video to submit to prospective recruiters this hiring season, follow these five best practices.

Be Mindful of Your Backdrop.

When you’re presenting yourself online, it isn’t enough to exhibit a professional image. You also need to consider your surroundings.

“Think clean, tidy, and safe,” said Tim Sackett, a human resources expert and author of The Talent Fix.  Elaborating, he reminds candidates to eliminate any “questionable stuff” in the background that would make a recruiter wonder about your personal behaviors and habits. Enough said. 

Eliminate Distractions Beforehand.

You can’t plan for every potential disruption. But what you can control, do, urges Sackett. Have a dog? Minimize the risk of having it break into a barking fit while you’re recording your video. Avoid recording near windows, where distractions can also lurk. If roommates or family members pose a risk of interrupting, warn them in advance that you’ll be recording a video—or find a quiet alternate location. 

Demonstrate Passion.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can’t be emphasized enough, say recruiters.

“We want candidates who have a passion for working with all kids,” said Jeff McCanna, chief of human talent at Tomball Independent School District in Tomball,Texas. And he believes strong hiring managers can tell which candidates are truly passionate. “They can see enthusiasm. They can hear it in their voice. We call it an emotional connection with the work,” McCanna said. 

While showing passion is essential, telling a recruiter that you’re passionate can backfire.

“We don’t really want to hear candidates tell us how much they love kids. We expect that,” said Ann Larson, the chair of the board of directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She says she’d much prefer a candidate to reveal mastery; for instance, curriculum adaptation in face-to-face, virtual, and hybrid environments.

Respect Parameters.

Recruiters will often suggest or even mandate time limits for these brief, introductory videos. Going beyond the time limit throws up a few red flags: You’re not a good listener, and you’re disrespecting the recruiter’s time.

What’s more, says Sackett, it’s just not necessary. “Think less is more. Ninety seconds is the sweet spot,” he said. 

Pair the Video With a Strong Resume. 

“You don’t want to buy a product that doesn’t have batteries,” said McCanna. The resume, he explains, serves to back up any claims the candidate makes during the intro video. “Can we go look at their resume and see grit? Were they involved in stuff?” McCanna said.

He suggests going beyond a cursory glance at the resume. If a candidate was involved in a committee or organization for four years, he explains, a savvy recruiter will take the question one step further, asking themselves: Were they a leader in that organization, or merely a member? 

Still with us? These recommendations do seem like a lot to absorb and use in such a short video. 

But in these unprecedented and uncertain times, recruiters need to know that teaching candidates are ready to tackle any and all challenges they’ll face next fall—whether virtually or in-person, Larson said.

“Our society depends on teachers being at the forefront of these adaptations and responses,” she said. “Here’s our moment.” 

With an impressive intro video, the moment could be yours too.