Four video interview mistakes to avoid at all costs

If you have been invited to interview for a new job in the last 12 months, the chances are that you will have experienced the advantages and potential challenges of the infamous video interview. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic putting a halt on physical interaction and pushing everything from family quiz nights to recruitment processes onto Zoom and Microsoft Teams – video interviews are at an all time high. 

And while over 63% of companiesreported having used video interview even before the height of the pandemic, it seems that recruiters and candidates alike are still facing challenges in getting the process right.

In this article, we take a look at four of the most common mistakes being made by candidates when it comes to video interviews – so that you can avoid them and ace your next interview.

1) A poor tech setup

If you’ve been invited to a video interview, you hold some responsibility to ensure that you can be seen and heard clearly by the interviewer. This means that you need to do your best to provide a stable internet connection along with a decent picture and audio.

Most laptop webcams will provide a good-enough picture for an interview, but the microphones are not always up to the task – so, consider investing in a low cost microphone to ensure you get all of your points across seamlessly. Wi-Fi connections are notoriously unreliable on video-calls, so plug your router directly in to your laptop via cable to avoid any frozen screen awkward moments.

2) A messy background 

We’re not saying you have to have a formal office set up or even a plain white background during your interview – after all, recruiters and the interview panel understand that you are likely conducting the interview from home. However, this does not excuse a messy background filled with stacked dishes, abandoned clothes, or tons of clutter. 

The background you present is all part of the first impression you give off during your interview, and so it should be as free from clutter as possible to allow the panel to focus on you – not what’s surrounding you. 

3) Not treating it seriously 

This is one of the most common video interview mistakes we see and hear about – and yet despite the focus on remote interviews as the main body of the process, the problem remains. Candidates just aren’t taking video interviews as seriously as they should; failing to see the experience as equal to that of a face-to-face interview, and instead treating it far more informally. 

Candidates should remember that even in a remote interview setting, punctuality and presentation are key, as well as the fourth and final thing on our list…

4) Poor video etiquette

This covers everything from eye contact to interrupting others when they are talking and is something which can take a bit of practice to grow used to. In fact, 67% of hiring managers state that a lack of eye contact is the biggest mistake that candidates make, with fidgeting and an overly stern demeanour also cited as reasons which managers may be put off certain candidates. Other areas of focus from an etiquette perspective include:

  • Punctuality
  • Selecting a quiet and undisturbed setting for the interview
  • Being prepared for the questions 
  • Taking turns to speak

Try running a few practice video-interview sessions with friends to ensure you get it right and stamp out any beginner mistakes.

A video interview will never completely replicate the experience of meeting someone face to face, though from a candidate perspective this should not alter the way they approach or prepare for the interview. If we could share one key piece of advice, it would be to prepare – both yourself and your technology – well in advance. 

Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of Job Description Library and StandOut CV, two leading UK careers advice websites. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.

Photo by Ben Collins