Common Virtual, In-Person Interview Mistakes

As job interviews shifted from in-person to virtual over the last year and a half, the common mistakes applicants may make also changed.

According to a recent Zenefits survey of 1,000 hiring managers that highlighted difficulties they’ve experienced while interviewing potential employees, including their main pet peeves, hiring managers reported seeing these most common problems during interviews:

  • 44 percent saw work history gaps between the pandemic’s onset and the interview that the interviewee couldn’t explain.
  • 33 percent heard background noises and other distractions during their virtual interviews.
  • 18 percent noticed interviewees had work history discrepancies between their LinkedIn profiles and digital resumes.
  • 10 percent said their interviewee didn’t show up on time to their digital interview or had trouble with the interview technology.

Hiring managers also said their four main pet peeves were applicants’:

  • Poor preparation or not knowing anything about the position.
  • Trying too hard to fit in the role.
  • Not actually being qualified despite a great resume (e.g., not demonstrating some of the skills listed on their resume).
  • Not asking any questions about the company or the job position.

In the past 60 days, hiring managers have had to reach out more to find qualified candidates — 61.7 percent have seen an increase in the number of outreach attempts. It’s no wonder that the most frequently cited frustration hiring managers have with the interview process is job applicant no-shows (34.4 percent). This is followed by candidates being unable to use virtual interview tools, like Zoom (22.7 percent); poor communication skills (17.6 percent); and having to interview unqualified candidates due to a lack of response (11 percent).

In California, a good rule of thumb for interviewers is that any questions prohibited on a job application are also prohibited in an interview. This includes potentially discriminatory inquiries like marital status, children, sex, gender, age and salary history. Also, don’t inquire about conviction history or consider conviction history at any time before a conditional offer of employment has been made. Make sure hiring managers know what you can and can’t ask during interviews.

Katie Culliton, Editor, CalChamber

CalChamber members can read more about Interviewing a Candidate in the HR Library and use our Guide for Pre-Employment Inquiries. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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