Avoiding Virtual Interview Blunders

These days, it’s hard to remember a time when video conferencing wasn’t the default meeting mode! Even before the pandemic, hiring managers have been integrating digital tools to boost the efficiency of the recruiting process. 

Technology has made some impressive strides over the last two decades, and it is changing interpersonal communication. As is with most advancements, there can be stumbling blocks that are easily overlooked. Our recruiters have put their heads together to identify the most common virtual interview mistakes and have outlined tips on preventing those hiccups in your future virtual interviews. 

Check The Tech

There are three things to do before you start testing your equipment:

  • Ensure a reliable internet connection (you can test your internet speed here)
  • Charge your device (keep it connected for the duration of the interview)
  • Make sure your device and applications are up to date

If you are working with a program you haven’t used before, it is best practice to make sure everything is in order prior to your call. Most programs have a test audio and video function you can use before your meeting. Test the equipment you plan on using during the virtual interview. I.e., if you plan on using Bluetooth headphones, make sure they connect quickly and the audio comes through clearly.

It’s not uncommon to share screens or files during an interview. Be sure all sharing functions are working smoothly. If it’s a system you haven’t used before, it’s ok to ask the recruiter to do a quick check with you to make sure it’s working.Close any other program on your laptop so you don’t accidentally share something that should stay private.

Curate Your Space

Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s book and tidy up your area. Eliminate as many visual distractions as possible. Your space can be a representation of you, so put your best foot forward. 

When deciding where to conduct your virtual interview, pay attention to the lighting. If you sit by a window, make sure you’re not backlit. To get your device eye-level, you can stack books or boxes underneath. Make sure that you are in the middle of the screen so the interviewer can see you. Also, ensure you look into the camera to give the impression of eye contact.

Eliminate as many external sounds as possible. Go to a quiet place without any construction noise, cars beeping, dogs barking, or kiddos playing. Let your family or roommates know your interview time so they can help to minimize external noise.

Most importantly, conduct your interview indoors. If you are in a car or outside, your internet connection may be spotty, and the outside noise can be highly distracting to both yourself and the recruiter. 

Be Professional – Always

While you may be in the comfort of your own home, you’re still in an interview. To the best of your ability, try to distance from domestic distractions such as pets, kids, and other family members. Be dressed for success and wear appropriate attire that complements the company you are interviewing for; this includes pants- you never know if you will need to stand up to grab something.  

Prepare in advance: know who will be on the call, research the company and role. Have notes prepared ahead of time and think about the questions that they may ask. Don’t forget to also think of questions to ask the interviewer. Sometimes the questions you ask are just as important as the ones you answer. Feel free to take notes during the virtual interview but use pen and paper as the keyboard noise can be picked up through the microphone. 

Take A Deep Breath

Being on video can cause anxiety, especially in an interview setting where people are watching your face and trying to look into the camera. Also, it may be hard to read reactions or the energy of the room. Do some relaxation and deep breathing in advance of the call. Smile, be present, and go in with the confidence that you can handle any question. If you need more guidance, see our previous blog posts on “How to Prepare for an Interview” here and here. If the technology still fails you, stay cool and troubleshoot as best as you can. You’ve got this!