Video Interview Bloopers to Avoid

Survey Shows Some Job Seekers May Not be Ready for Their Close-Ups

Toronto, ON – A number of companies now use video interviews to meet job candidates, but not everyone is camera-ready. Senior managers in a Robert Half survey recently recounted situations in which video interviews went awry.

Here are some of the awkward and funny moments they reported:

  • 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.

View a blog post with additional video interview tips.

“While technology has made the interview process more flexible for companies and candidates, when it comes to video interviews it is important that the professionalism expected of in-person meetings is upheld,” said Greg Scileppi, president Robert Half International Staffing Operations. “Interviewees should give as much care to the space around them as they do to their appearance and behaviour, making sure they are in a clean and quiet environment that is free of distractions.”

Scileppi added that companies should also try to make the video interview process as seamless and comfortable as possible for candidates. “Hiring managers need to ensure that they are conducting the interviews in a discreet environment and are confident using the technology beforehand to avoid any unnecessary disruptions on their end.”

Robert Half offers the following tips for job seekers for a successful 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.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm. The research is based on interviews with more than 600 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in Canada and the United States.

About Robert Half

Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has more than 330 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search and management tools at For career and management advice, follow our blog at Follow Robert Half on Twitter at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]

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