Video Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Video Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid

The process of job interviews these days has evolved. Especially for remote jobs, recruiters prefer interviewing candidates via video calls. Although more people are familiar with video calls, it is a different ball game when it comes to formal meetings.

Mistakes happen during video job interviews which greatly affects the outcome of the process. Some of these mistakes are technical challenges while others are caused by the interviewee. However, for both technical and self-inflicted challenges, these mistakes can be avoided.

From not paying attention to the background to having terrible lighting, these mistakes can define the process.

Let’s look at 17 of the biggest video job interview mistakes you should try to avoid.


Being overly casual

Having a job interview via video call is a privilege. It helps to be more relaxed for the interview since you are likely in your comfort zone. However, there is a tendency to take this opportunity for granted by being overly casual.

This starts from where you intend to set up the interview. A video job interview is not a casual, friendly conversation – it is a formal meeting of professionals.

Likewise, dressing too casually is not a good move. It sends a message that you do not take the process seriously. It would be best if you dressed the part and comport yourself like a serious professional.

Choosing the wrong spot

Location is everything – especially when it comes to sitting in front of the camera. Besides not tidying up the location or room for the interview, your choice of location matters.

For example, doing your video job interview in an open space is not a good idea. Also, using a place where you haven’t tested the internet connection is risky. In the same way, having your job interview somewhere too comfortable or relaxing can send mixed signals to the interviewer.

Not having tested the video call app.

Whatever you do, try to test the video call app before the interview. For some people, making video calls – both casually and formally – is part of their usual routine. Even in this case, if you have a scheduled interview on a relatively new video call app, test it.

For those who are not familiar with using video call apps, it is paramount that they know what app would be used. After that, they ought to proceed to learn how to use the app. Some settings and the interface might take some minutes to get used to. You might be wasting the interviewer’s time by trying to figure out the app before the interview.

Messing with the video app settings

If there is something or a setting in the video call software for the interview you don’t understand, leave it be. The default settings on video call apps are decent enough for your first experience using the app.

You could mess up the settings which would affect the quality of the interview if you press the wrong button. Also, whatever settings you made before the interview, it is best if you didn’t adjust it. That could make the interview end quicker than the proposed duration.


Not double-checking the audio

The audio of the conversation is as important as the video clarity. Some might argue that the audio is more important. To their point, without the audio, there is no communication, which is the essence of the interview.

The problem with the audio is that several factors could affect its functionality. Starting from the video call app’s setting, be sure to check the mute button constantly to ensure you are heard.

In some cases, the headset you are using for the interview might be the problem. Check them as often as you can during the interview. Lastly, there can be an audio problem from the laptop’s default audio setting. Thus, check your device’s audio settings and try to correct them.

Failing to tell your companions about the interview

Working from home is a challenge especially when you live with other people. Not telling those around you to behave themselves before the interview is a recipe for disaster. It would be inappropriate for a friend to badge into your room or home office during the interview. Employers prefer to hire someone they feel would not be easily distracted especially for a remote job.

Not practicing before the interview

Sitting in front of a camera can spark anxiety even for professionals who are paid to do so. From models to actors, having a camera in your face takes some getting used to. Not everyone can hold their own in front of a camera, which means practicing before a video interview is valid.

While you are facing the camera, mannerisms matter. Also, how you place the camera to capture the most interesting sides of your domain speaks volumes. Thus, it is better to test the waters to see what adjustments you need to make before the main event.


Using a fan instead of an air conditioner

To this point, questions and genuine concerns would surface like, “why an air conditioner instead of a fan?” Likewise, some might argue that they only have a fan and no air conditioner.

It is not a crime to have a fan, neither will you be charged for turning it on during an interview. However, microphones and fans don’t get along very well. The sound of the air from the fan interferes with the microphone which distorts the quality of the audio.

On the other hand, an air conditioner would not present such problems. Thus, if you only have a fan and would like to turn it on during the interview, you may. However, turn the fan low and don’t sit close to it.

Not considering the time zones

In most cases, a video job interview is usually preferred due to the distance between the interviewer and the candidate. Sometimes, both individuals could be in separate regions with different time zones. If that is the case, I suggest that you keep the time difference in mind as you prepare for the interview.

For instance, if the interview time falls at around midnight in your local time, you may need to rest well during the day. When you don’t see the time difference as important, you might not be in the best mental and physical state for the interview.

Terrible lighting

When it comes to the camera, lighting is everything. Lighting is more crucial for live video coverage. If you get the lighting aspect right, you are halfway through recording a picture-perfect video.

Firstly, lighting is meant to cancel the darkness and make the focus visible. Your interviewer chose to interview you via a video call – they want to see what you look like. So, you should try making your home office or interview location well-lit.

As a rule, never back or sit immediately under the light source. This casts a shadow on your face. Thus, if your major light source is your window, face the window and let the camera or laptop back the window instead.


Having an untidy or inappropriate background

Even though you don’t mind the background during casual video calls, you should for a job interview. Your house, room, or living area speaks volumes about you as an individual. Thus, having your video job interview in an untidy room is a mistake – and a risk.

You could get found out when you try to adjust your camera or if your gadget falls. Likewise, a background that does not ooze professionalism is a turn-off. The posters on all, paintings, or other objects in the background that seem inappropriate or offensive should not be in the camera frame.

Frequently muting the audio

There are certain gestures during interviews that come off the wrong way. Especially when it comes to video job interviews, frequently muting the audio or video seems disrespectful.

By doing so, you are cutting off the interviewer which doesn’t send a good signal. It gives off an impression that you have other more important things to do than focus on the interview at that time.

Constantly taking your face off the camera

Only a few things give off a sign of distraction like constantly taking your face off the camera. Before you start a video job interview, try to put yourself in a situation where you will not be easily distracted.

By looking around too often during the interview, the interviewer would feel that something else is taking your attention. Likewise, not making eye contact with your interviewer at all times shows a lack of focus. Try not to take your face off the screen so much even if you are camera-shy.


Not taking writing materials

An interview is a big opportunity to impress your employer, especially the ones you do from home. Attention to detail and communication skills are some of the top attributes employers look for in these types of interviews.

Doing a video job interview can be challenging and you could easily lose track of some information, questions, or comments made by the interviewer. This is where bringing a note to the interview comes in.

As the interview progresses, you would need to note a few things. Although you can record information on your laptop that would make you seem distracted. Using a note is more presentable for the occasion and it helps you to not always ask the interviewer to repeat their questions.

No water in sight

Did you notice how water is placed in front of participants of corporate meetings and high-profile interviews? Firstly, food or liquids other than water are not in the conversation of what to have here.

Next, these meetings can be long (and boring), so much that the participants might get dehydrated. The same thing applies to doing a video job interview. You might need to hydrate or drink something to avoid having a dry throat. Having anything other than water on the table doesn’t look good (not even coffee).

Also, having to leave the video job interview to get water, no matter how necessary, is not appropriate.

Not preparing for extra-long interviews

Nobody wants to be involved in a long interview process even if they love the job. Interviews, including those done via video calls, are usually brief. However, some intense interviews could take hours.

Hardly is there any interviewer who sets out to hold a 4-hour interview from the onset. Yet, some interview sessions take as long or even longer. Since you never know what to expect recording the duration of the interview, best to stay prepared.

Provide essentials that would make you comfortable for a long period, make sure the power is on, and have an extra pair of gadgets. Also, for those who have a small bladder, you might need to empty your bladder shortly before the interview.

Having no backup equipment

The last thing anyone would want is to see their craved job interview cut short by technical difficulties. Although it is assumed that anyone who is about to do a video interview would have prepared, the unexpected could happen.

Electronics and machines malfunction when you least expect them to. For this reason, I suggest you have a backup plan for virtually all your video interview equipment. From headsets to chargers, have a replacement gadget, and prepare for the worst while you hope for the best outcome.


Final thoughts

A video job interview can also be as intense as a physical job interview. For professional actors and models, standing in front of the camera is still a challenge. This could be more challenging for the average person who is not used to having a camera in their face. For this reason, practicing before the interview is one of the most important things to do.

Maintain a good and professional posture throughout the interview. Also, try to send a “thank you” note to the interviewer after the interview. Employers expect more from candidates nowadays.

Have you ever had a job interview over a video call? Please tell us about your experience and what you would do differently.

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