Interviewing for a job by video is now more common than ever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, it is different than the traditional in-person option. Many candidates are doing video interviews for the first time in their career and everyone is figuring out the best practices. Here are the most common mistakes that people make when interviewing for a job by video:

No Back-up Plan

We have all been there, waiting on the video meeting only to have no one join and to find out later that the person was having issues getting in. This can happen in a video interview. It can happen for both the candidate and the person doing the job interview. Or, there can be a technology issue that prevents the person from getting in. Regardless of the challenge, technology isn't perfect. Plan for the unexpected to happen in the interview and make sure that you have a backup plan - who and how to contact someone if the system doesn't work for the job interview. This will avoid the interviewer thinking that you didn't show or that you are late. Ask your contact at the company when scheduling the interview what to do or who to contact if there are any issues with the video interviewing system. This small step will save a ton of headaches and will be much appreciated by the people who are considering you as a potential colleague.  

Not Practicing by Video

You have done all the prep for the interview, but have you tried to do it by video? Not testing out where and how you will interview is one of the most common mistakes. Testing your equipment, location, and delivery there will make a huge difference in how you perform. It will also enable you to proactively troubleshoot the common issues that can arise with video interviewing. Take the time to sit where you will sit for the interview and test your camera, sound, lighting, and practice some answers. Record yourself and watch the video feed. This will let you see how it looks on the other side and ensure that you are portraying the right image for your big interview.

Recovering from Technology Issues

As if interviewing for a job isn't stressful enough, it is always possible when doing it by video that technology can fail during the interview. In that case, the biggest mistake that people make is how they handle it and if they can recover. Whenever interviewing for a job by video, expect the unexpected and plan accordingly. Should the system fail or the connection get lost while in the midst of your answer, stop, breathe, and try to reconnect. Acknowledge the tech mishap and ask the people what they heard last. Don't hesitate to repeat yourself a little or to even repeat the question to remind everyone where you were before the technology issue. Also, before the interview, plan for how you will handle these challenges and make sure that you have a phone number or email of someone to call if the tech does fail.

Forgetting the Camera

It seems harder than it really is to forget the camera in the midst of the interview, but it definitely happens. This could be forgetting that people can't see what is happening off-camera. For example, petting your dog that comes up under the table and causes you to move inexplicably. Without explanation, this could look really odd to the person on the other side of the meeting. Others will look off camera at their notes or another screen without providing context. This makes you look distracted or bored when not looking at the person you are speaking to. So, make sure that you are narrating what is happening off-screen to let the interviewer(s) know.

Another way to forget about the camera is that many people will simply opt to follow the defaults of the system when they come into the video job interview. This can also be a mistake. You can change those defaults to opt to turn on/off your camera as well as the views on your screen. Use this functionality to your advantage to ensure that you are capable of seeing everyone in the meeting and that they can see you. And, remember, you are the one being interviewed for the job. So, the other people may not feel the need to turn on their cameras. This does not mean that you should keep yours off. The point of using video instead of phone for your job interview is often to meet you. Make sure that you remember this when configuring your presence in the meeting.

Forgetting the Point of the Interview

Finally, the biggest mistake that many candidates make when interviewing for a job by video is forgetting the entire point of the exercise. This is not another Zoom meeting. You are using the system to interview for a job. So, you need to prepare for the video job interview just like you would an in-person interview.

This starts with looking professionally and continues throughout the interview in how you interview. You also need to interact with everyone on the video interview the same way you would if you were on-site and in a manner that is consistent with how you want them to see you professionally. It is an interview for a job and it may feel more casual because it is in the place that you choose, but it is still an interview for a job.

Make sure that you bring the right mindset to the table when you join that meeting and do everything that you need to do to prepare fully for the job interview by whatever video platform the company uses.


Need help in preparing for your big interview? Get help from an expert coach that can answer all of your questions and help you to be as prepared as possible for your next job interview. Learn More.

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