Interview etiquette in the virtual era

Unsurprisingly, one of the major changes in recruitment during the pandemic was how interviews were conducted.

The inability to meet face-to-face had a direct impact on the hiring process, but one thing that will undoubtedly remain is the video interview – certainly for the first stage of a hiring process.


Well, firstly there’s the flexibility video interviews allow.

Candidates are no longer having to use leave to attend the first stage face-to-face meeting, and from the Hiring Manager’s perspective, the initial interview can slot into packed diaries far more easily than having to set aside a whole day.

Despite both candidates and clients having become accustomed to video interviews, it is still really important to approach them as if they were face-to-face.

For both sides it is still the first impression – and that will always count in a job interview situation, regardless of whether it is over video or in person.

As an experienced Recruiter, I’ve pretty much seen and heard it all in terms of bad first impressions, but even for me, the Zoom/MS Teams era has thrown up a number of etiquette clangers that are imperative to avoid.

So, here are some dos and don’ts for both candidates and Hiring Managers to bear in mind when approaching the first stage video interview…


  • Find a private space with good connectivity, there’s nothing more off-putting for either side than a stunted conversation with a noisy backdrop
  • Where possible, try and undertake the interview on a computer – no one wants to be holding a phone for an entire interview – and there’s always the chance the person on the other side of the call ends up seeing an unflattering angle, which is obviously really unappealing!
  • Treat it like a face-to-face, dress appropriately – although more video interviews allow more flexibility, both sides are giving up time for the conversation so be professional


  • Squeeze it into your diary without booking the time off. Your current work will be demanding, and you can’t say to your current manager ‘I’m sorry I can’t make that meeting as I have an interview’
  • Allow the interview to be interrupted by doorbells, deliveries, dogs barking, and children returning from school
  • Forget to do your research on the company – why this business, why this role? Be specific!
  • Forget the preamble – making the first impression is even more important on a virtual platform (and harder to do, so work at it!)
  • Expect to join the interview without having tested the relevant platform and downloaded the software.