How to Blow Your Video Job Interview

People do some incredibly stupid things during video job interviews, according to staffing firm Robert Half.

Robert Half interviewed senior managers, and asked what were some of the top video interview bloopers they had encountered:

  • The candidate’s dog walked in front of the camera.
  • One applicant picked up and showed off the family cat.
  • A job seeker took his girlfriend’s phone call during the interview.
  • The candidate was eating breakfast during the interview.
  • A child stepped into the frame and asked, “What are you doing, Mommy?”
  • The job seeker and his wife were arguing during the interview.
  • The applicant asked the interviewer for a date.
  • The candidate was playing video games in the background during the interview.
  • One applicant wore a tank top and flip-flops.
  • The job seeker was getting dressed.
  • The doorbell rang mid-interview.
  • A package was delivered.
  • An interviewee’s house was being renovated, with banging and electric saw noises in the background.

Now, some of these were the result of normal household activities taking place – such as a package being delivered, construction next door or the dog strolling through the shot.

A more controlled environment might have been in order.

Robert Half offers these tips for not blowing that video interview:

  1. Test your technology. Download the video platform being used for your interview well in advance. Test your webcam, microphone and speaker to ensure they are working properly.
  2. Do a trial run. Ask a friend to conduct a mock video interview and provide you with an honest critique. You may find you need to practice pausing momentarily before responding to ensure the interviewer is done speaking. This can be especially important if the connection is slow.
  3. Remember, location, location, location. Pick a quiet, well-lit space. Make sure pets and family members don’t interrupt the flow of the interview. Set your phone to silent, and disable any on-screen notifications.
  4. Dress professionally. Look your professional best from head to toe, not just from the waist up. Choose an outfit that projects confidence. Also, avoid patterns that could be distracting on camera.
  5. Look lively. Directing eye contact to the camera when speaking, nodding noticeably, smiling, maintaining good posture and making appropriate hand gestures a bit more than you typically would can help you appear more engaged on screen.
  6. Send a thank-you. Extend the same politeness you would after an in-person interview. Before the discussion concludes, ask for the office mailing address or email address of the hiring manager and follow up with a thank-you note.

Sage advice. Maybe a good, overall, piece of advice is to not get too relaxed – even though you’re being interviewed in a comfortable place, like home. It is a job interview, after all.

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