This morning when scrolling through my favorite social media outlet (Twitter) timeline, one of the people I follow put out an intriguing tweet—“I love video interviews.” After someone asked why, that person answered, “You do not have to go into an office and you can show up right at the time you are supposed to start.” They then continued, “…and pants are optional.”
While I had to laugh at the pants are optional part, the exchange as a whole presented an alarming question. Are job seekers taking video interviews as seriously as they should?
As someone who adapted from in-person interviews to the age of video interviews, the venue is the only item that has changed, not my preparation or approach. In 2017, I would still dress up for a video interview if I had one, and definitely would be opening the link to where the interview is being conducted 10 minutes prior to the meeting just as I would show up 15 minutes early at a minimum for an interview.
Maybe that is all a little old school, but professionalism is still an expectation I put on myself, and you should too. And it appears I am not the only one with that expectation.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a hiring professional who exclusively uses video interviewing for their first interviews. With the high volume of candidates she interviews for openings all over the country, it is the only way to efficiently perform her job in a timely manner.
Once we got to chatting, she revealed two of the most common mistakes job seekers make when it comes to video interviews with her. When it came down to making the cut for a second interview or not, 99.9 percent of the time if a job seeker did one of these two things—they were instantly eliminated no matter how good their resume was.
Failing to Check Software Requirements in Advance
One of the most “annoying” (her words, not mine) trends with job seekers is not to make sure their computer, laptop or mobile device has the required software installed prior to the job interview. Job seekers who wait until the exact time of the interview to log on are often prompted to install a plugin or software to ensure an optimal experience with most interview software, and if it is not already installed it could take a few minutes to get up to speed depending on your device and internet connection.
To an interviewer, this is equivalent to running in the door at the last minute without a copy of your resume or any other required documentation the interviewer asked you to bring with. Put simply, if you are not preparing in advance for an interview, how can a company trust you to be prepared to utilize technology to present to a client across the country?
Checking to make sure your internet is working properly and that the video interviewing link and software are compatible is a five minute process that should be completed at least 30 minutes prior to your interview, period.
Forgetting You Are on Camera
As always, there’s a story behind this one. Before we get into it, this is what my hiring friend had to say about this common mistake: “You would not believe how many people forget they are on camera during an interview! One person’s cat jumped in their lap and they did not even apologize. They just went on petting the cat while answering my questions. I could not believe it!”
The comfort level of doing a video interview can easily be forgotten by job seekers. Animals walking in an out of a room, a dirty desktop and more can be major distractions for the person interviewing you, and also could show you are not very serious about actually getting the job you are interviewing for.
Why could it show you are not serious? Well, it is story time.
Around two years ago at an old company, a colleague of mine and I were at a bar/restaurant for lunch when suddenly he pops his headphones in and opens his iPad. I asked what he was doing, and he said he had to do a quick Skype job interview.
Shocked, I asked, “In here? Aren’t you worried about the noise or servers walking by?” His response summed up my “serious” comment from above, “Nah man, it is just a first interview.” A week later, the same person who interviewed him called me for a reference check and her main question was in regard to him really be interested in his work and if he was passionate about his career field. She stated, “He did not seem all that focused during his interview, and since he worked with you, I was curious if that was just his personality.”
You get the picture. In-person or through video, an interviewer can tell whether you are interested or serious about a job. Treat a video interview like an in-person one.
As technology advances, job seekers and interviewers have to adapt to changes in the job seeking process. For a job seeker, this means treating every form of communication with a potential employer—phone interview, video interview, email communication and even text message communication—as professionally as possible.
Here is the easiest advice you will ever receive when it comes to the hiring process. Treat every conversation like it is in person in the hiring manager’s office. If you do this, you will give an employer no choice but to judge you based on everything you have prepared for and presented to them. And likely, you will put yourself well ahead of the rest of the job seeking pack.