Don’t Chew Tobacco! Mistakes to Avoid in Virtual Interviews

virtual interviews

7 Things Not to Do in Virtual Meetings

Virtual interviews (ie. Zoom or Skype) are hurdles that seem to trip up many candidates. Some mistakes made on video calls are embarrassing at best, and indefensible at worst. Who would have thought a politician would have made such an elementary error as appearing naked on a parliamentary video call, for example?

We trust that you will keep your pants on when you are being interviewed virtually, but this is not the only mistake you might make. From poor preparation to disastrous distractions, here are seven major mistakes you must avoid when you interview on video.

1.    Being Underprepared

When preparing for an in-person interview, you should do some research. Strike that. A lot of research. Learn about the staffing firm you are interviewing with, the type of clients they work with, and the candidates they target. You prepare answers to the questions you may be asked, and develop questions to ask the hiring manager. The same applies for when you are preparing for virtual interviews, but there’s more to prepare, too:

·      Your Background

Is the photo of you at the end of a night out really the impression you want to portray? Yet there it is, on the wall behind you.

Are you trying to demonstrate how well organized you are? So, why does your bookshelf look more like a yard sale?

You may be a saintly character, but the bright light behind doesn’t create a halo – just a blinding light that does nothing to enhance your on-screen image.

Make sure that your background is professional, free from clutter, and that you are lit from the front.

·      Your Technology

The last thing you need is for your screen to go blank, or your audio to fail. Worst of all, if you can’t even log on.

Test your tech! Make sure that your webcam works, that you can be heard clearly (and that you can hear the interviewer) and that your connectivity is good. And, of course, ensure that you have the app that the interviewer will be using downloaded to your laptop.

·      Your ‘Commute’

Though it may only be a few seconds from your lounge to your ‘interview room’, you should plan your journey. Sounds odd, but hear us out.

A kid’s toy on the floor is a perilous item. A loose carpet can cause a trip. A locked door with a mislaid key is like an unpassable traffic accident.

Will you take a coffee to your desk? How long will you need to prepare it?

2.    Not Eliminating Distractions

When you are interviewing in-person, in an interview room, there are no distractions to worry about. Except, perhaps, your cellphone. At home, it’s a little different.

Deliveries. Children. The television. Friends knocking at your door.

Let your friends and family know that you are not to be disturbed. Arrange a sitter for the kids. Turn off your cellphone. Place a notice on the door telling delivery drivers to take parcels to your neighbor. Make sure you kill the TV. Don’t put the laundry on two minutes before your interview is set to start.

Eliminate all the potential distractions that you can think of, and focus on the interview.

3.    Not Minding Your Language

It is easy to forget that you are interviewing when you are sitting at your own desk. You spill your coffee, or your cellphone rings (because you forgot to turn it off), or the picture on your screen disappears halfway through the interview. You cuss under your breath, you think. But it was loud and clear for the interviewer to hear. Not good.

4.    Poor Body Language

Body language isn’t something you need to worry about on screen. If you believe this, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Fidgeting, playing with a pen in your hands, or sneaking a look at your cellphone all show up on screen.

Your body language indicates how you feel about the role you are interviewing for. Are you nervous because you lack confidence to do the job? Are you disinterested in what the interviewer is saying?

Be calm. Look at the interviewer (by looking into the webcam, not the picture on the screen). Nod positively. Lean forward to show interest, as you would in-person. Smile.

5.    A Disheveled Appearance

What’s the last thing you do before sitting down in a waiting room for your interview? Visit the restroom, right, to get rid of those last-minute nerves, wash your hands, and make sure you look the part.

Don’t sit in front of your webcam with a bird’s nest on your head! Make sure you brush your hair neatly. If you wear a beard, be certain that you haven’t left some of your breakfast in it. Clean your teeth – that piece of spinach stuck in them is really distracting.

6.    You’ve Got a Habit That You Should Have Left Behind

A rare mistake, but one that I have witnessed a couple of times, is not nixing that annoying habit for at least the time you are interviewing. It’s not good to chew tobacco and spit while you’re interviewing.

Work on eliminating the habits that could damage how the hiring manager views you. Don’t play with your hair. Don’t bite your nails. Don’t pick your nose. And don’t chew tobacco or gum.

7.    Being Late

It’s not like you can blame the traffic or the weather for being late to an interview when your interview is your home office. Lateness for virtual interviews is a crime. To avoid the punishment – instant rejection for the job – you will have to shine brighter than the sun.

Join the interview early. You’ll be held in the ‘waiting room’ until the interviewer is ready – and you’ll be ready to sprint out of the starting block.

Make Sure Virtual Interviews Work for You

Virtual interviews are here to stay, so you must be prepared to rise to the challenge. These seven mistakes can be easily avoided:

  • Prepare yourself, your technology, and your room
  • Eliminate potential distractions
  • Present well in appearance, verbal language, and body language
  • Be punctual, and leave your annoying habits at the door

Do these things, and you’ll be more confident during a video interview and deliver a positive impression that will be hard to beat.

Are you seeking your next career move in the staffing industry? Contact EnabledForce today for a confidential chat about your career in staffing – we know you’ll be prepared to meet virtually!

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