Six Common Question Marks for Video-Based Job Interviews

By candidate X

The need for social distancing has driven the use of Zoom and other video communication technologies for job interviews. 

For 15 to 45 minutes a candidate is under scrutiny… in living-color rectangular-screened scrutiny. Every shift of eye, every “um” uttered, every clearing of throat or instance you don’t directly answer a question is being evaluated and measured against other interviewees. 

For these reasons, we’ve compiled a list of six topical issues candidates and recruiters should heed when connecting and interviewing over Zoom with its fishbowl transparency.

1) My throat gets dry, I get nervous, and drinking water relaxes me. Can I take an occasional sip of water?

Some candidates have reported judgmental looks from their interviewer when taking a sip of water during a conversation, both in person and over video. Do your best to hydrate ahead of time.

2) Because I’m in the comfort of my own home I like to wear comfortable clothes such as a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Is this all right for remote, video-based interviews?

Always dress professionally for job interviews, but don’t let your suit and tie become a straight-jacket. Stay loose in your chair or at your standing desk, but maintain good eye contact with the people on the other end of the feed. (Standing also helps with voice projection)

3) I like to wear big earmuff-like headphones to cancel out external sounds. How is this perceived by the potential employer?

One East Coast recruiter I spoke with said her best practice is to use normal headphones or use airpods. If you look a little goofy it probably won’t help the perception of you as an interviewer. Keep visual distractions to a minimum.

4) I’m busy and meals are difficult to schedule. Can I discreetly turn my camera off so I can bite into a sandwich?

During job interviews, don’t, for these periods of going off-camera can raise questions and even arouse suspicions. Once hired and comfortable with your teammates, you might turn your camera off occasionally to cram a meal into your busy schedule and here you should obviously mute yourself when chewing.

5) What should I talk about?

You’re on the video call to sell yourself, but remember it’s a dialogue. Answer the recruiter or interviewer’s questions completely but succinctly. Candidates who wander into monologues and don’t let the recruiter maintain a pace can be left off recommended candidate short-lists.

6) I want to stay top-of-mind with the recruiter or hiring manager. When should I send my ‘thank you’ note?

Next day is best, according to many recruiters. Conversely, immediate, same-day “thank you’s,” or those sent just after the interview’s adjournment can be quickly forgotten. A next-day, or right-after-the-weekend expression of gratitude and engagement can go a long way. Don’t wait too long, however. Other candidates are closing in on ingratiating themselves with the recruiter or members of the hiring team and taking strides toward the next step, and your own foot in the door opportunity can be fleeting.

What else should we cover? Seriously, that’s not a rhetorical question. Let us know.

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