Some applicants believe that a lot more mistakes can be made during a face-to-face interview than during an online interview. Yet painful blunders are regularly made online!

You only make a first impression once! During a job interview, it is possible that by making a small mistake you can completely ruin your first impression. Resulting in a rejection for the job. It is therefore crucial that you do not make mistakes!

1. Unprofessional email address or online name

In a face-to-face conversation, there is often contact via e-mail, but with an online video conversation, the chance is even greater. In addition, it is possible that you use an online video chat program where a username applies.

A common mistake is using an unprofessional email address or username. If you have used the video program before, you may have set a username or profile picture. The recruiter may be called ‘Superhenkie123’ because of this. It is advisable to see what profile picture or name you have used on these programs.

2. Arriving late

Being late for an online job interview is no less bad than being late for a face-to-face interview. In fact, during a meeting on location, there is still the possibility that you have encountered travel problems due to force majeure. What’s your excuse when you’re at home?

3. Skip testing

Skipping the testing of the required resources is probably the biggest mistake you can make. This can lead to major problems and tension during the conversation. To prevent this, it is wise to thoroughly test the products you are going to use.

You can’t always prevent a bad WiFi connection. If you know this before your conversation, you can respond to this and prevent your conversation from being terminated prematurely. Then look for alternatives (different locations, different networks, etc.)

You should also be familiar with programs and apps such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc. Make sure that you can actually use the software you are going to use. If you still have to download the program at the agreed time for the interview, you are already 1-0 behind.

In addition, it is useful to check whether everything works on your computer/telephone before the interview. Think of your camera, audio, or microphone. The moment one of these three doesn’t work, the conversation is as good as hopeless.

4. Not having everything at hand

“Just a moment, I’m going to grab that.” This is not something a recruiter wants to hear during a job interview. Once you’re at your computer, you should have everything you need ready. Think of your resume, references, portfolio, etc.

You will also be offered a drink during a face-to-face conversation. Don’t be the applicant who goes home to make coffee during the interview. Grab this in advance and/or make sure you have a glass of water ready.

5. Incorrect clothing

Some job applicants believe that being at home doesn’t mean they should go through all the trouble of dressing as they would in a face-to-face interview. For example, by dressing representatively only at the top. The result is quite painful if you unexpectedly have to get up during your conversation. Just like in a normal job interview, wear appropriate clothes!

Another common mistake is choosing clothes that are professional but don’t look good on camera. An example of this is white clothing against a gray background. This can become very unclear on a screen. Therefore, avoid stripes, extremely bright colors, or wearing the same shade as the background.

6. Clutter in space

This is a mistake that cannot be made in a face-to-face interview, but certainly can be made during an online job interview. Make sure the room is tidy! It is understandable that not everyone has the luxury of sitting in a home office, but even if you conduct the conversation from your bedroom or living room, you can ensure that it is tidy. When the room you’re in is a mess, what does that say about you?

7. Multitasking

It may seem tempting to secretly do other things during your job interview, but your interlocutors can’t see what you’re looking at on your screen or what you’re doing with your hands. However, this is a huge blunder!

Don’t be tempted to look up answers in your notes or worse, on the internet. Also, do not use your phone during the conversation! Whether it’s stress, overconfidence, or disinterest, it’s extremely rude to multitask during your conversation. Your interlocutors will always notice this because you are distracted from the conversation you are having with them!

8. Background distraction

It will not be completely unknown to home workers: you are working at home and suddenly a huge distraction arises in the room. A family member starting to make a noise, a package is at the door or pets coming to take a look. Unfortunately, this also happens regularly during online job interviews.

You can sit wherever you want during an online job interview. However, this does not mean that all locations are suitable. Provide a quiet place with little background noise and where you will not be disturbed. Prepare for this and try to minimize this distraction in advance.

9. Stress

Even though you’ve tested everything and done everything you can to avoid distractions, a lot of things can go wrong. It can always happen that the technology does not cooperate or the people around you let you down. For example, something can go wrong with the internet connection or the neighbors start making noise right during your conversation.

A big mistake many job applicants make is to get stressed and panicked. It is recommended to remain calm in these situations! There is no need to get stressed over something that you probably have no control over.

Communicate with your interlocutors what is going wrong, if necessary by telephone or e-mail contact. If it cannot be resolved quickly, offer options to continue the conversation at another time. Staying calm and communicating clearly in these kinds of situations says something about your competencies!

10. Poor visibility

It is nice that your conversation partners can see you well while they are talking to you. It’s really a blunder if they can’t see you well and you can’t do anything about it during the conversation. Too dark and they only see black. Too light and they only see white. Provide sufficient light, but avoid overexposure!

11. Wrong posture

A pitfall that many people fall into during an online job interview is the thought that you should not pay attention to your body position because this is not seen via a video connection. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, many people look at the screen instead of at the camera. They then look at their conversation partners lower in the screen or even at the screen in which they themselves are visible. This way there is no eye contact. So don’t forget to regularly look into the camera during the conversation!

Many home workers sit on an office chair. If you sit on a swivel chair with wheels, the nerves can cause you to unconsciously turn or drive during the conversation. This can cause irritation to the recruiter! Furthermore, adopt an active attitude. You do this by sitting up straight, placing your feet on the floor, and not leaning back.

12. Commenting after the conversation

The most painful mistake you can probably make is forgetting to disconnect and give a (negative) opinion about the conversation or the organization. While your conversation partners are still listening!

With various video programs, clicking away a window does not end the conversation. Therefore, check immediately after the video job interview whether the connection has really been broken!

Avoid these mistakes in an online job interview!

It is crucial that you do not make mistakes in your online job interview! A common mistake is using an unprofessional email address or username. Being late for an online job interview is no less bad than being late for a face-to-face interview. Skipping the testing of the required resources is probably the biggest mistake you can make.

In addition, just like in a normal job interview, wear appropriate clothing! Provide a quiet place with little background noise and where you will not be disturbed. Prepare for this and try to minimize this distraction in advance!

Useful links:

Resume Writing
Cover Letters
Résumé Questionnaire
Job Search

Written by Bob Hubner