4 embarrassing blunders to avoid during your next video interview

Video interviews. Let's face it, they’re daunting.

No matter how many you sit through, each one leaves you as nervous as the first one. With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing more and more companies to adopt work-from-home policies, video interviews are increasingly becoming a routine part of the application process.

Types of video interviews

Depending on the size of the organisation you’re applying to and the stage of your application, you’ll typically come across two types of video interviews:

Live Video interviews

Live video interviews are typically interviews done between you and a recruiter, usually over zoom, google hangouts or skype, in real-time. Think of it just like a regular face-to-face interview but over webcam.

One-way video interviews

A one -way video interview (also called an asynchronous video interview) on the other hand is where you record yourself responding to text based interview questions and send it to the recruiter.

These questions could either be delivered to you in text format via email or pre-recorded in the recruiter’s chosen video software with time allocated between questions for you to record your response.

No matter which type of video interview you’ve got coming up, we want to give you the best chance of acing it so here are 4 embarrassing yet simple to avoid blunders to watch out for… (and yes some of these I’m recalling from experience 🙈).

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#1 Know who you’re about to talk to

When looking for a new role, it’s common, and in many cases encouraged, to apply to multiple vacancies. After-all, the more applications you make the more likely you are to get an offer.

Now I get that switching between a conversation with one potential employer to another can be confusing. And it’s easy to lose track of who you’re interviewing for next but one of the worst blunders you can make is mistaking Harry for Mike or Emily for Sandra. To avoid this, take a moment before your interview to recap over your conversations with the recruiter. Double check who will be attending the interview (if it’s not a one-way video interview) and remember their name.

#2 Put away your pets, kids and immature flatmates

Whether you watch BBC News or not, I’m sure by now we’ve all seen the infamous interview where professor Robert E Kelly’s super serious interview on South Korean politics was hijacked by his kids … if you haven’t here’s a spoiler:

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When you’ve put so much thought and effort into securing an interview, you want the recruiter leaving the session thinking you’re perfect for the role and remembering how adorable your pet lying in the background was or how visibly hungover the flatmate wandering around in the background was.

#3 Spring clean beforehand

Just as you don’t want the recruiter focused on people walking around behind you as you drop your best spiel and pitch how perfect you are for the role, a messy background can take a recruiter’s focus away from you. Picking a spot with minimal distraction in the background will keep all eyes on you.

Now if you’re like me and can be guilty of occasionally having a place that resembles a demolition site rather than a room then don’t despair. Video software tools like Zoom and Microsoft team now include features which allow you to hide your surroundings with a virtual background or just simply blur everything behind you 🙌

#4 Dress for the role, not the environment

One of the main upsides of doing a video interview from home as opposed to a face-to-face interview is that you don’t have to commute to a location which chances are you’ve not visited before (and would most likely spend 10-15 minutes looking for when you arrive at the address provided). But this doesn’t mean you should look unprofessional and join the video interview in your marvel onesie. We recommend playing it safe with formal or smart casual clothing (at least on the top half) to feel ready to ace your interview.

Next time you’ve got a video interview lined up, remember to avoid these 4 blunders to ensure you sail through to the next stage and ultimately secure your new role 🚀

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