Video Interviewing: Naked Candidates and 4 More Epic Candidate Blunders

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I have reviewed thousands, if not tens of thousands of video interviews, and in addition I have helped numerous job candidates setup or prepare for their interviews.  Here are the top five candidate blunders I have encountered.

  1. Showing up late: I realize this one isn’t that juicy but for candidates taking live video interviews this is certainly the blunder that occurs most often.  Unlike virtual interviews, live video interviews are scheduled which means the candidate must login at the appropriate time to connect with the interviewer.  Many candidates log in only minutes prior to their interview not understanding that they may encounter an issue with their microphone, camera or computer.  As a result, seconds before their interview launches, the candidate is frantically trying to explain their issues with tech support.  Unfortunately, the impatient interviewer with whom the candidate has failed to connect on time, has canceled the interview.
  2. Trying to cheat: Many candidates are requested to take one-way (asynchronous) interviews which mean the questions appear one at a time on their screen and their webcam/microphone records their responses.  In the standard one-way video interview the candidates have just one shot at answering these questions. No do-overs are allowed.  So I find candidates trying to game the interview process to be funny.  Occasionally I will get a candidate requesting that I set them up again and delete the interview they just took.  Upon inspection of their interview I discover that the candidate has clicked through each question of the interview without responding and has instead written down the questions so they could prepare their answers in advance.  Evidently they forgot they were also being recorded and that they couldn’t click back to the beginning of the interview.  In the background of one such interview I even heard the candidate’s boyfriend ask, “Are you sure you are allowed to do this?”
  3. Showing up naked: Yes, this has actually happened and like above, the Naked video interviewcandidate evidently failed to understand that his camera was on and recording him.  Once the realization sunk in, the candidate, without logging out, stood and rummaged around for a shirt in his closet before returning to the interview. True story.
  4. Showing up without a camera: Yes, this too is hard to imagine but it has happened.  I’ve had candidates call me and say that they can’t see themselves.  I take them through the typical troubleshooting steps which will quickly correct the issue.  However after many minutes of no success I will ask, “Do you have a camera plugged into your computer?”  Naturally I don’t ask that question up front because such an inquiry would insult the 99.9% of the population that understands a camera is necessary for a video interview.
  5. Showing up poorly dressed: Almost as bad as showing up without any clothes on is appearing on camera donned in a “wife beater” while sitting on the edge of a messy bed.  Yes, the descriptive term is vulgar but necessary to describe such a social faux pas.  These shirts are barely appropriate at rock concerts and monster truck rallies.  Of course the interview is no place for them but a hiring manager may get a good laugh out of it.

So here’s a few quick tip for your next video interview:

  1. Don’t be late.
  2. Promise not to cheat.
  3. Put on clothes.
  4. Be sure you have a webcam for your “webcam interview”.
  5. Remember to treat your video interview with the same professionalism you would a traditional interview….at least from the waist up.
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