Online Video Interviews: How to avoid technical difficulties



Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, more and more companies are switching to online interviews. Online video interviews are live or asynchronous. Although technology is fundamental to today’s society, it’s also worth noting that at times you can run into technical difficulties. We’re sure you can relate when we say that this always seems to happen at the most inconvenient times? I.e during an online video interview but don’t stress, we’re here to provide support and insights into how to avoid this. 

What is the difference between a live and asynchronous interview?

Live video interviews are online and require the candidate and recruiter to be available at the same time. This is very similar to face to face interviews, with two or more people communicating, except it’s online. This will allow the interviewer to run a similar interview format to those which are face to face, without the candidate having to travel to the office. This is becoming an increasingly popular method as employers are looking to adapt to the new normal due to Coronavirus. Candidates should treat this like any other face to face interview they have attended.

Asynchronous video interviews do not need the recruiter and candidate to be online at the same time, as they are not in real-time. Instead, you might be asked a number of questions beforehand from the recruiter, you might receive these during an online application or via email which you’ll then have to answer these on video. It’s worth taking into consideration that there may be a time limit on pre-recorded interviews.

How to avoid running into technical issues?

While we can’t guarantee that you won’t run into technology failures, there are some precautionary measures you can take to eliminate this a much as possible:

  • Download the software in advance so you can check that this is compatible with your device

  • Practice using the software so you know how to unmute your microphone and switch on your camera. Most video software requires you to do this before you enter the room.

  • Learn how to screen share - 

  • Test your computer’s webcam and lighting of the room you’ll be ‘attending’ your interview in (remember that a quiet and well-lit room, which gets good internet connection works best. You should also ensure no clutter is in the background as this might distract the interviewer)

  • Check that your audio works (perhaps run through this with a partner, friend or family member)

  • Close all unnecessary web browser tabs 

  • Practice screen sharing - depending on the employer and the job you’re applying for, some employers may ask you to prepare a presentation or portfolio, which you will then need to show to the interviewer. Learning how to properly use screen share is important for an interview. 

Other important hints and tips

It might be daunting attending an online interview, especially if it’s your first time but don’t panic. In fact, many applicants that we speak to actually prefer online interviews, with one of the top reasons being that they feel more at ease in an environment they know. On the day, there are a few hints and tips you can do to nail the application process. These include:

  • Dress as though you’re attending the interview in person - Remember just because the interviewer can’t see what you have on your bottom half doesn’t mean this should be an excuse to wear pyjama pants! Dressing professionally will help you get into the right mindset.

  • Keep your CV to hand - While speaking to the interviewer, you’ll be able to have a quick glance at your CV but remember not to sit there reading it word for word or looking down to often as you are on camera. The interviewer will know!

  • Have a pen and paper next to you for any notes you might like to take.

  • Make sure your phone is on silent - The last thing you want is to be disturbed.

  • When listening to the interviewer, make sure to nod and smile showing that you are engaged and focused.

  • Make sure you’re in a quiet area, without any distractions. The last thing you want is your dog to start barking at the postman so the interviewer can’t hear you. Not only that but it will likely throw you off your game.

So now you know all the hints and tips needed to help you nail an online interview, it’s time to put them into action! Remember, preparation is key. Good luck!

About the author:

Simon Bell is the Founder and Director of Careermap, an online jobs and qualification website, which also provided career guidance and advice to school leavers, university students, graduates and career seekers.