1 in 4 job candidates rejected because of video background

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Modern-day job interview faux pas include unexpected guests joining the call – such as cats or partners – answering the door to delivery drivers, and dodgy audio.

A poll of 500 hirers found 13 per cent have had a candidate stand up mid-call to reveal they were wearing smart attire on top – and JOGGERS down below. And more than one in 10 calls were cut short because of something inappropriate in the applicant’s video-call background.

As a result, 28 per cent of hiring decision-makers have chosen not to take someone on after being put off by their video backdrop. And a further 58 per cent said a messy room in the background could cost someone the job.

The study, commissioned by BT Skills for Tomorrow found 56 per cent now do the majority of their job interviews over video call, with 42 per cent believing this will continue even after Covid restrictions are lifted.

Hannah Cornick, from BT Skills for Tomorrow, said:

“Video calls are going to remain part of the hiring process well into the future, and there is an opportunity for candidates to use this to their advantage.

“Being in control of your environment and in a familiar space can help reduce nerves and allow you to showcase your personality.

“This is the time to show the interviewer your strengths and how you stand out from the crowd, without any distractions from your surroundings.”

The results also show 67 per cent said candidates seemingly don’t think much about what is in their background when on a video call.

And only 48 per cent would still hire an applicant if their backdrop was totally chaotic, with mess and inappropriate posters on display – even if they seemed perfect for the job.

But almost four in 10 of those responsible for hiring decisions believe doing interviews over video calls makes it harder to get ‘a good sense’ of a candidate.

The research also polled 500 people who have taken part in a video job interview over the last 12 months.

On average, they’ve each been through three interviews, yet four in 10 job seekers have been unable to land a job at the end of the process.

More than one fifth (21 per cent) have had audio issues and one in 10 admitted to answering a phone call mid-interview.

Just over half (51 per cent) believe video interviews are harder than those done face-to-face, and 30 per cent have deliberately placed an ‘object of interest’ in shot behind them, to use as a talking point.

Post-pandemic, 37 per cent would rather go back to doing interviews in person while 23 per cent want to carry on with video calls, according to the OnePoll figures.

Free resources and advice to support job seekers across the UK prepare for a digital future can be found at https://www.bt.com/standoutskills.

Chris Price
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