What NOT to do in a virtual interview

Have you ever had a bad interview? Whether you were the one conducting the interview, or the person being interviewed, I’m sure everyone can think of at least one interview in their time that stands out for being a bad one.

There are many ‘dos and don’ts’ that can influence the outcome of an interview and due to the COVID-19 pandemic and technology, it is now easier than ever to practice interviewing. Applications such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, make it extremely convenient to attend interviews and with most people working from home, it’s easy to schedule interviews around your work diary, without having to take a day off to attend an interview. However, the convenience of a virtual interview via video call can create a more casual feel to the interview.

Virtual interviews should still be taken just as seriously and include the same level of preparation as if you were attending an in person interview.

As recruiter’s during Covid-19, we have conducted many virtual interviews and have seen consistently ‘what not to do’s’ come up. Now a lot of these may seem very basic and obvious but with the casual feel of video interviews, we have seen a lot of the things you would think are obvious not to do, occur frequently.

Here are some of our interview don’ts:

Dressing casually – although you’re at home, it might be tempting to stay in your loungewear for the interview and may feel weird wearing your corporate attire while staying at home. It is important to still look the part and get just as dressed up (well at least the top half), to show a level of effort in your preparation for the interview.

Turning up late – even though you don’t have to travel anywhere, or wait in a waiting room at reception, doesn’t mean it is okay to jump onto the virtual interview a few minutes late.

Forgetting to prepare – yes, you may have your computer in front of you for the interview, but still do your research on the business prior and not during, the interview. Take notes. It’s great when people take notes during virtual interviews, as it emphasises your interest in the role.

Not testing the IT – before your interview time, it is essential to check all your IT is working correctly. IT issues happen to everyone, but it is always better to address any problems before your interview rather than when your interview is underway. There is nothing more distracting in a virtual interview than bad quality technology/internet.

Talking over the interviewer – one thing we find that is a frequent occurrence in recent virtual interviews we’ve conducted, is having the interviewee speak over you while you’re talking. The way the video audio switches between the people talking, makes it a lot harder and more obvious when you’re spoken over. Remember to stop and listen during the interview and when you ask a question, pause and give the interviewer time to speak and answer.

Have an unprofessional setting – put a professional filter/background on if you have to, but the interviewer doesn’t want to see your unmade bed and washing in the background. Also try not to have the interview on your phone ( if possible) or sitting in your car. If using your phone is the only option, make sure instead of holding your phone and moving around, lean your phone up against something as a stand and have it at an appropriate angle/distance from your face. Having an extreme close up of your face and having to look up your nostrils is also not ideal.

Don’t get too comfortable – yes you feel more comfortable because you’re in your own home, but remember to maintain professional communication and body language. A common example we’ve seen when someone becomes too comfortable, is when they start speaking critically about their previous employer. It’s not a good look. Make sure you sit up straight, maintain eye contact, sit still without moving around / fidgeting and don’t overshare.