In a post-pandemic world, technology has transformed the job-search process and changed the way we interview candidates. For the most part, candidates are now interviewed virtually from the comfort of their homes.  

While this is convenient for both recruiter and candidate, the added sense of comfort can bring about a false sense of familiarity that can lead to some interviewing faux pas.  

Trust us – we’ve seen it all during the online interview process, from candidates vaping during the interview to interviewees showing up in pajamas or yoga wear. 

To help you avoid some common interview mistakes, we’re sharing our top tips on how to avoid sabotaging your next virtual interview.  

6 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Online Job Interview 

  1. You don’t send a thank-you note. 

In our experience, this is a simple step that is too often missed. It just takes a few minutes to write a thank-you email that thanks the interviewer for their time and expresses or reaffirms your interest in the role.  
We recommend sending a thank-you note after each step of the job interview stage. This type of courtesy goes a long way and keeps you top-of-mind when we’re sorting through our list of candidates to present to potential employers.  

2. You act too casual or exhibit a false sense of familiarity. 
Demonstrating professionalism and respect are two sure-fire ways to improve your chances of job-hunting success. While it may seem obvious, be respectful to everyone you meet during the interview process. 
Another way to make a good first impression? Come prepared to your first interview with the recruiter. Remember, we’re evaluating whether you’ll be a good fit for both the role and the company culture, so we want to see your personality, enthusiasm and interest at the outset. The way you interact with us will influence whether we move you ahead to the next step: an interview with the company that’s hiring. 
Bottom line: Treat everyone you’re interviewing with – at every step of the process – with the same level of respect and professionalism. 

3. You appear distracted or disinterested during the interview.  
During a digital interview, it is important to be aware of your visual surroundings and your body language. Make regular eye contact with the people on your screen and use positive body language – even online. That means not crossing your arms, making an effort to smile, and leaning in slightly towards the screen to show interest.  
We also recommend communicating clearly at the beginning of your digital interview if you plan on doing anything that could be seen as a distraction, such as typing out notes or questions during your call. After all, you don’t want the interviewer to think the reason you’re typing and looking away from the screen is because you’re working on something else during the call. 
In the virtual interviewing world, communicate clearly what you’re doing and why. 

4. You are overdressed or underdressed for the role.  

While wearing a suit and tie might be a good idea for an interview at a law firm, it could be overkill for a mid-level role in tech, for example. Our rule of thumb? Be yourself and dress the part. If in doubt, dress business casual.  

Additionally, if you find out you’re getting that coveted interview at your dream company after your initial meeting with a recruiter, then it’s OK to ask the recruiter what the dress code is at that company.

We also recommend you do your own research on the company and its culture, or take a look at the company’s social media pages. You may be able to find photos of current employees in the office, which can give you a good idea of the company culture so you can plan an appropriate outfit.  

5. You aren’t aware of your digital surroundings.  

Whether your interview is on Microsoft Teams, Zoom or another digital platform, we can’t say it enough: Test out the interview platform in advance! Technology mishaps can affect even the best of us, but planning in advance will help avoid any last-minute delays in downloading or logging in.  

Secondly, be mindful of the virtual background you present to potential employers. A cluttered background full of knick-knacks or a laundry rack full of clothes are definite no-no’s, but a solid, well-lit background showcasing a favourite piece of art, some plants, or a curated library of professional books? That’s a yes. Consider your background as a way to showcase the best parts of you. 

And last but not least, be on time. Don’t show up late or too early to your virtual interview. Recruiters and hiring managers are often in back-to-back meetings so they’ll often be right on time to an interview. Logging in right on time or two-to-three minutes early are generally the best times to log in.  

6. You show up unprepared.  
Research the company and the responsibilities of the role you’re interviewing for in advance. We can’t stress enough how impressive it is when a candidate mentions details about the company they are interviewing for, unprompted.  
It’s also helpful to check the professional backgrounds of the interviewers on LinkedIn or on the company’s website, from the recruiters to your potential manager. You never know what type of personal connections, interests or backgrounds you might share that could be helpful in establishing an initial connection.  

We hope these six tips will help you navigate your job hunt with ease. You’re bound to find the job that’s right for you if you take conscious steps to avoid these six virtual interview blunders!