Got a video job interview? Here’s what not to do

Andrew Fennell has some top tips to help you make a good impression if you’re being interviewed for a job over the internet

Bald man in mauve t-shirt sitting at desk with computer remote working


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. And he has some vital tips for jobseekers on how to ace a video interview.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, video interviews have become an integral part of the recruitment process. In fact, there has been a 67% increase in companies using video interviews over the past year.

As such, perfecting your video interview techniques has never been more important.

To help you do this, we’ve pulled together a list of five common video interview mistakes that you need to avoid if you hope to land the job.

1. Poor body language

You need to make sure that you don’t treat the interview as any less formal just because you’re not meeting face to face.

This means that you still need to be aware of your body language and non-verbal behaviour. Fidgeting, slouching or tapping your pen can be more tempting over video, especially if you’re interviewing from your home, but you need to be aware of what your body language says about you.

Poor body language can look unprofessional and can be very distracting, so make sure you’re acting accordingly at all times during the call.

2. Getting distracted

If you’re conducting a video interview whilst at home, there can be a lot more potential distractions. For example, pets wandering around, children in the house or someone ringing the house phone. It’s vital that you don’t let anything distract you from the interview, as this can look unprofessional and doesn’t allow you to portray your best self.

So before you begin, find a quiet room and shut the door, choose a neutral background and perhaps even try to ensure you’re the only person in the house. This can reduce the likelihood of you being distracted or interrupted.

3. A technology failure

Although technology doesn’t always work the way we want it to, you can’t risk a technological failure during an interview. Employers will expect you to have ensured everything is in working order beforehand.

As such, it’s vital that you check all your devices and internet connection before you start. You can do a practice run to make sure everything is plugged in, the sound is working and that you have any software or programmes you need.

It’s best to test out your technology a day or two before the interview, just in case there is an issue and you need some time to fix it.

4. Not dressing the part

You might be doing this interview from your kitchen, but this doesn’t make it any less professional. As such, you need to dress the part like you would for a face to face interview.

Avoid casual, slouchy clothes even though you’re at home. Instead, be sure to wear smart, clean clothing and avoid wearing bold, distracting colours or patterns. You should also avoid large, noisy jewellery or accessories that can cause issues with the sound or become distracting to the interviewer.

After all, you want them to be focusing on your answers to their questions and not the outfit you’re wearing.

5. Not following up after the video call

Video interviews are still new to a lot of people and this can leave you unsure of the rules. But for the most part, the same traditional rules apply.

This means that you still need to follow up after the interview, either with an email or a phone call. Remember, though it may be a much quicker process, the interviewer is still giving up their time to meet with you. So give them a follow-up to say thank you and remind them why you’re the right person for the job.

Don’t let these mistakes cost you the job. Video interviews can feel strange and nerve-wracking at first, but if you practice and ensure you avoid the common mistakes listed above, you can land yourself a job in no time.

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