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Skype interviews from abroad and pay negotiations

Discussion in 'Independent' started by charlieeh, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    Hi all,

    I'm currently teaching in an American University,but will be back in England in June 2016, and am currently applying for teaching jobs in independent schools in London/Surrey. However, due to my current location, I will need to be interviewed over Skype or phone, which apparently some independent schools are willing to do.

    I have two Masters degrees and a decent Bacholers degree. Before leaving for America (which was because of my partner's job, just for one year) I taught in a good independent school in Surrey for 5 years (starting there as an NQT).

    I held a HoD position for one year and also Director of Pupil Learning for a further year.

    My final salary was £47,000 (although this includes approx £6000 responsibility payment, and around £2500 extra-curricular payment, so my base salary was much less than that).

    With this in mind, can anyone help me to decide on the minimum salary I should try and negotiate when being interviewed for jobs? I'll be applying for just a regular classroom teacher position and as it will have to be a Skype or telephone interview, I'm worried that will reduce the extent to which I am able to negotiate.

    Is anyone able to give me any advice on what I should aim for as a salary? What sort of salary do most independent schools in Surrey and London offer; I'm not sure if my old school was typical!

    Do I need to be really concerned about requesting a Skype interview, or are schools generally open to that? I'm not sure whether to be pushy over salary, or just be relieved when/if I get offered a job from abroad

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Hullo there, and I'll start by wishing you all the best of luck with the applications and interviews.

    Now Skype interviews can be tricky. Practice with a friend which is the best position for you - some people lean into the camera and it distorts their features. Get it right before the big day, and also choose a good neutral unfussy background and clothes. No dangly ear-rings, whichever sex you are!

    Yes, they are not bound by the Statutory Guidance to schools that they must have a face-to-face interview. However, it is not the norm to do this, and you may find that your request is turned down.

    No, they are not.

    You see, apart from wishing nonetheless to abide by Statutory Guidance despite not being obliged to, it means that one applicant is having a different experience from the others, in that you will not be carrying out the same process under the same conditions, and will not be doing an observed lesson with their pupils in their school. This could leave any decision to appoint you open to legal challenge from another applicant, which a school would be wary of.

    And actually they WOULD like to see you teach . . . and No, a video of you teaching somewhere else wouldn't convince them.

    Salary is negotiated at the moment of offer, not during interview normally, and this is usually over the phone, so you would be in the same boat as everyone else over negotiations.

    You are talking of pushing £40k for a class teacher position with no responsibilities. That might be considered quite a lot, except in Central London.

    Here are the salary scales for GDST

    And do read this article in the Professional Advice Hub:

    Returning to the UK after teaching abroad

    Most of this long reply is not what you wanted to hear, I know, and I'm sorry about that.

    Best wishes

    IceCreamVanMan likes this.
  3. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Please note the GDST salaries are sometimes 20-30% higher than other indies, but each school has its own pay scale as you know!

    I have applied to numerous jobs in the independent sector and never saw that skype was possible as most particulars said interviews with original identifying documentation was required in person, but you could try!

    Good luck!
    IceCreamVanMan likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Indie pay is a law unto itself . . . GDST may be higher than smaller Indies, but it's less than the very large successful schools, so is a good medium.

    And they actually make their salaries public! Most don't, not even when you are applying.

    Best wishes

    sabrinakat likes this.
  5. fivesmaster

    fivesmaster New commenter

    ignore some of comments above...i got a job this way via skype back in 2013
  6. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    Hi all,

    Thanks so much for all the useful replies. What I gather, then, is that I'm not in a position to be picky or to push for too high a salary if I'm going down the Skype interview route! Yikes - better get applying then! A few teachers at my old school (including HoDs) were employed over Skype interviews to I had assumed (or rather, hoped) that most schools would have a similar approach... But perhaps that is not the case at all! Good point re. legal position, Theo - I hadn't thought of that.

    Is it best to explain to need for a Skype interview in my cover letter, or wait until I'm invited for interview and THEN request it over Skype? (My cover letter makes it clear I'm currently abroad anyway).

    Many thanks for your help; it's really appreciated!
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    That may make schools hesitate about interviewing you unless you come up with a solution to the problem in your application. Would you be prepared to come to the UK for interview if Skype not acceptable? You need to make all this clear from the word Go.

    Best wishes

  8. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    ..... which makes it very frustrating to know whether to apply or not!

    Good luck to the OP, though!
    IceCreamVanMan likes this.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. Having taught in independent schools in the UK, as well as quite a few international schools in various countries, I would say that most independent schools in the UK really do not like the idea of SKYPE interviews. Yes, they are pretty common these days for international schools, but then again there are still quite a few international principals (usually from the better schools) who prefer face-to-face interviews. My present teaching post in China is the result of a SKYPE interview.
  10. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    Hi all,

    I now have two interviews set up for this week and next week at independent schools - one of which I really really like the sound of. I've never done a Skype interview before though. Theo has already mentioned some good advice regarding Skype interviews - does anyone else has any more tips? Has anyone had a Skype interview before and how did you find it...?

    Thanks in advance!
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Well I never! You have been really lucky! Skype instead of face-to-face, and no teaching!

    Now to ensure that you make the most of these opportunities.

    Have you read all the general interview advice in the Professional Advice Hub? Tag me @TheoGriff if not and I'll point you in the right direction.

    Very best wishes
  12. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    Thanks Theo - I've now found the Professional Advice Hub and have been reading through it ... Very helpful indeed!

    One more question - one of the schools has asked me to undertake an in-tray exercise online, which has surprised me as it's just for a teacher job (I thought in-tray exercises were only used for SMT applicants). I presume this is to make the process fairer as I'm not teaching a lesson. However, on the Professional Advice Hub, the only info I've found shows questions that are geared towards deputy head applicants; sort of 'what would you do if...' scenarios regarding running the school. Any idea what sort of tasks I may get asked to do for this, as just a teacher-applicant? It's thrown me a little!

  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Glad you are finding the advice helpful.

    Anything that would be likely to crop up in the course of yout normal duties. Contacts with pupils, (academic and pastoral), with colleagues and with parents.

    It will be do-able, no point if it isn't! Just think logically and with integrity, and mention that you would check the school policies and procedures, if necessary.

    Best wishes - let us know how you get on.

  14. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    Dear Theo...

    I got that job!

    It's the one I really liked the look of, so I'm really pleased. Salary is far higher than I'd even hoped for as well, so I'm very happy with that! Interview was very tough though - they definitely grilled me!

    Very many thanks for all your advice.

    One final question - I'm still waiting to hear back from another school I was also interviewed at... Do I have to contact them now to say I've already accepted a job elsewhere, or can I just wait for them to contact me and then explain? Also, do I have to formally withdraw my other applications (I applied to a couple of other schools) or can I just withdraw if they contact me to offer me an interview?

    Thanks again!
  15. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

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