9 Virtual Interview Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Are you preparing for a job interview? Find the most common virtual interview mistakes and how to avoid them!
virtual interview

9 Virtual Interview Mistakes You Need To Avoid

In the last couple of years the working world has changed drastically. Many companies are now doing the vast majority of their hiring virtually, interviewing candidates online over video calls. This offers a lot of benefits to both them and you, but there are some hurdles that you’ll have to clear if you want to make a good impression. 

If you’ve never done a virtual interview before, you’ll want to make sure that you get everything right. There are some common mistakes that people make, so if you’re unsure follow this guide to ensure you know about them first. That way, you can avoid them in your own interview. 

Types Of Virtual Interview

Before getting into the mistakes that people often make in virtual interviews, it’s important to know how these interviews work. There are two main ways that you can be interviewed online:

Live interview: This is where you meet up with the recruiters in a live video chat, to talk about the role and how you’re suited for it. 

Recorded interviews: These are where you’re sent a list of questions, and you record your answers to them. That way, the recruiters can watch them back when they’re ready. 

There are a lot of similarities between the two types of interviews, such as the types of questions you’ll be asked. In either case, you’ll want to do your best to make a good impression. 

Virtual Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Many people are new to virtual interviews, so it makes sense to feel nervous and be worried about what you’re doing. That’s why a lot of people make some of the same mistakes. If you’re aware of these mistakes though, you can do your best to avoid them. Here are some of the top mistakes that you want to know about before that interview:

1. Having A Bad Connection

There’s nothing more annoying than getting a buffering signal when you’re trying to watch a live stream or video online. If that’s something you get with your current internet signal, then you’re not going to be able to give the best impression in your interview. After all, how can they get to know you if the signal keeps dropping out? 

If you’re not sure how the signal will work when you’re on the call, try doing a test call with a friend first. They’ll be able to report back on whether you’re able to get a good signal where you are. If it’s not great, you’ll want to find somewhere, such as a friend or family member’s home, that can offer a good signal for the interview. 

2. Having Distractions Around You

Everyone who had to start working from home will tell you that home is a distracting place to try and work. There’s always something going on, whether the cat’s asking for attention, the kids are just coming home from school, or your spouse is in the kitchen rummaging for a snack. This isn’t great when you’re having a virtual interview. You won’t be giving them your full attention, which isn’t ideal. 

To avoid this happening to you, set aside a private space for your interview, ideally somewhere with a locked door. Put your phone on silent, and put a note on the door asking people not to disturb you as you’re working. If everyone knows what’s happening, they can be sure not to disturb you as the interview goes on.

3. Bad Camera Angle

As you’re interviewing over a video call, you’ll need to consider the angle that you have your camera at before you start the meeting. It’s not great if the picture is out of focus, or it’s not pointing directly at you. You especially don’t want to be dealing with it as you’re meant to be starting the interview. 

To avoid this, simply adjust your camera before the interview itself. Ensure that you’re in focus and that the camera is cropped correctly. Ideally, you’ll want your camera to be in line with the top of your head. That should be more than enough to keep you in focus during the conversation. 

4. Not Wearing The Right Clothes

There’s no way you’d go to an in-person interview wearing just about anything, would you? However, online, there are plenty of people who are wearing sweats, PJs, or other less than formal clothing to their virtual interviews. “It obviously gives a bad impression,” says Annalise Dawes, a career writer at UK Services Reviews and Studydemic. “It looks as though you aren’t taking the interview seriously, and that’s going to hurt your chances of getting the job.”

It can feel a little strange, dressing up just to sit in front of your computer. However, you want to make a good impression, just as you would in person. As such, you’ll want to wear clothes that are professionally appropriate for the interview.

As an additional note, on a virtual interview, it’s best to stick to block colors. Patterns and stripes often create optical illusions on camera, and that can be distracting. 

5. Getting Connected At The Last Minute

You wouldn’t show up to an in-person interview at the last minute. Typically, you’d plan ahead so you’d know where the interview would be, and you’d arrive a few minutes early so you’re ready and composed as the interview begins. Online though, there are people who don’t connect to the meeting until the last second. They may be trying to find somewhere with a good connection, trying to get roommates out of the room, or just aren’t punctual in getting there. 

Just as you would for an in-person interview, make sure you make your preparations ahead of time. Let everyone know you’ll be in an interview, set up your camera ahead of time, and be in your seat a few minutes before the meeting is ready to begin. Just being there and ready will make a good impression. 

6. Being In A Messy Room

Remember that the recruiter can see not only you but what’s behind you. This also contributes to the impression that you’ll be giving off. If you’re in a room with a lot going on on the wall behind you, or your laundry is sitting piled up on your bed, this gives the impression that you’re not serious about the role. It’s also very distracting for recruiters as they try and listen to you. 

Find a space where you can sit that is neat and tidy and doesn’t have a lot of distractions. The less going on behind you, the better. That way, you’re showing that you’re professional and the recruiter can focus on you and you alone. 

7. Not Having Good Lighting

Here’s something that you never normally have to worry about when you’re in a regular interview. You want the recruiter to be able to see you, as body language is so important to the interview. If you’re sitting in a dark room though, they won’t be able to see you at all. That’s obviously something you want to avoid. 

Get ready before the interview by checking the lighting in the space you’ll be using. Look to see if you’re clear on the camera and whether everything important can be seen. “The best way to light a room is by natural light,” says blogger Daniel Pierce, from Subjecto and Best Essay Services. “However, if you can’t get enough natural light, turn on ceiling and floor lamps, or even invest in a ring light.”

8. Eating And Drinking During The Interviewed

You wouldn’t think this is a problem at first glance, but it does show an air of unprofessionalism, which you want to avoid. When you’re at home, it’s easy to feel comfortable and have a drink or a snack as you’re talking to the recruiter. 

However, you still want to look professional, and just as you would in a regular interview, you don’t want to eat lunch until after you’ve completed the meeting. After all, you don’t want to spill food down yourself during the interview. 

9. Fidgeting And Not Paying Attention

This is related to the idea of being distracted, as mentioned earlier. In a regular in person interview, you wouldn’t stare off into space, or check your phone as the other person is talking. However, there are people who do this during virtual interviews. That’s obviously not going to look good when you’re meant to be paying attention. 

Before your meeting, remember to remove as many distractions as you can. Don’t check your phone or your emails, as it’s going to be obvious that you’re not listening. Make sure you maintain eye contact, and try not to fidget with your hair or clothes. 


There are lots of mistakes that interviewees make when they’re being interviewed for roles online. However, now you know what these mistakes are, you can make sure you’re not doing the same. Make sure you avoid these issues, and you’ll be able to make the best impression possible. 

For more career guides & resources visit GrabJobs!

About the Author

Madeline Miller is a careers blogger at Student Writing Services and Top Essay Writing Services, where she covers virtual interviews. She’s also a blogger at Resume Writing Service. 

Valentin Berard

COO at GrabJobs. Valentin leads strategic and operational activities regionally. Background in Business Development and Recruitment. Passionate about social innovation, he constantly strives to find solutions to real-world problems through harnessing smart technology. Read more: https://www.linkedin.com/in/valeberard/