Job interviews are a nerve-wracking experience under the best of circumstances. Post-pandemic, there are more job interviews by video than ever before. When technology fails, it can be even more difficult to stay calm and focused. If you're scheduled for a video job interview, there are some things you can do to prepare in advance and handle potential problems if they arise. Here is what you need to know to handle technology fails in a video job interview.

What to do Before the Video Job Interview

The best way to handle unexpected technology challenges is to prepare for them. This means having a plan in place before your scheduled video job interview.  Here are some things you can do to make sure your video job interview goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Test out the system. Download the app and get it up and running.
  • Have an email for your contact. Make sure you know who to tell when there is an issue.
  • Get a phone number. This is great in case there are internet or device issues preventing access to the system entirely.
  • Update your software. Check for updates on your operating system and the applicable apps the day before your interview to make sure you are working with the current system.
  • Do a dry run. Prepare to use the system by testing it out and going live on the device and in the place where you will be located for the interview. Get feedback from someone on what it looks like by having them join the chat.
  • Find a quiet spot. You want to make sure that you are free of distractions and can focus during the interview.
  • Have a backup plan. Be ready to switch platforms if needed to connect with the interviewer if the first video system doesn't work for some reason.

Common Tech Problems Encountered in Video Job Interviews and How to Handle Them

Problem: video interview freezes or you can't hear the interviewer.

Solution: If the video freezes, try to refresh the browser and log back into the video call. Make sure your internet connection is strong enough by turning off other devices like streaming TV/videos on another device in the house that may be using bandwidth. To avoid this problem, make sure you are in a quiet area with good wifi before the video interview starts.

Problem: No video at all during a video interview. You can hear but the interviewer cannot see you.

Solution: If video is not working on your end, try to refresh the browser and log back into video call or restart the computer/device if possible depending on where the video interview is taking place. If the interviewer cannot see you, try to remain calm and explain the situation. Make sure you are in a quiet area with good wifi before the video interview starts.

Problem: You can't hear the interviewer at all during a video job interview.

Solution: Try to refresh the browser and log back into video call or restart the computer/device if possible depending on where the video interview is taking place. If you still can't hear the interviewer, use the chat function in the video app to tell them that you cannot hear them.

Problem: Audio lags or skips during a video job interview.

Solution: Try to refresh the browser and log back into the video call or restart the computer/device if possible depending on where the video interview is taking place. If audio continues to lag, make sure you are in a quiet area with good wifi and try to remain calm despite this inconvenience.

Problem: You cannot see the interviewer at all during a video job interview.

Solution: Try to refresh the browser and log back into video call or restart the computer/device if possible depending on where the video interview is taking place. If you still can't see the interviewer, try to remain calm and ask for questions in writing so that you can answer them.

Problem: You cannot connect to the video interview platform.

Solution: Check your internet connection. Disable your wifi and re-enable it. Then try to connect to the platform again. If that doesn't work, then try to uninstall and reinstall the platform if you can. The limitation may be because you have an outdated version of the system on your device. You may also need to send an email to the interviewer to let them know that you are having trouble connecting.

Problem: Security settings are blocking the video platform.

Solution: Check your security settings before the interview starts to make sure that the video platform works. You may have to allow permissions to the system. You may want to download the app to run on your device instead of running the platform on an internet-based site. Or, try the opposite approach if the app can't open. If you are running the video system through a website, you may also want to try switching browsers (i.e. go from chrome to internet explorer, firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc.).

Problem: Your cat (or dog) jumps on the computer

Solution: Loveable as they are, you will want to try to avoid this situation in the first place by putting your pet in another room before the interview. But, even then, pets don't always want to stay by themselves. So, if your dog or cat jumps on camera, acknowledge the situation to the interviewer. Say you are sorry and take a second to move the pet out of the area. This ability to incorporate humor and to quickly recover from the unexpected is important to show problem-solving. Stay on a mission during this time and try to stay calm while you get back on track.

Problem: Your roommate (or spouse) comes in the room doing something unprofessional

Solution: Take a break from the interview. Turn to the person that intervened and remind them to leave. Be professional because you are on camera still and you will want to use language that is suitable for the workplace. You cannot control everything in the video interview, but you can control how you respond and how you recover to the unexpected.

What to do if the Video Job Interview Never Works

Despite the best efforts, there are still times when the technology just may not work out for your video job interview. In that case, you can still recover and try to move forward.

First, send an email to your contact to say that the system never worked. You can use this opportunity to express your continued interest and offer to connect again. You can propose a reschedule or simply identify a different video platform to use.  At this point post-pandemic, most people understand that software isn't perfect. So, it isn't as big of a deal as it used to be.

Another option is to call the person if you can. You may not be able to connect as planned. But, try to cover the questions by phone if it makes sense. You may get the person's voicemail when you try calling. In that case, plan to leave a message and say that you will be waiting on the video call a bit longer. If you call, then you should also send an email to say that you are happy to reschedule if needed.

Your ability to recover when things do not go as planned is an important test of your skills. Remember that how you respond to failure or unexpected situations is a part of any job. So, keep calm and showcase your skills when trying to address the unexpected.

The interviewer will appreciate this opportunity to understand how you solve problems and how you overcome the unexpected. This resiliency is important to stand out as a candidate who will certainly deal with similar challenges when you start in that next job.


Want help preparing for your next video job interview? Work with our expert job interview coaches to ensure that you put your best foot forward. Get help now.

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