Recruiters Share Top 5 Virtual Interview Distractions

Preparing your responses, choosing a professional yet flattering outfit, researching the company, and setting up the perfect lighting are all known to top the virtual interview tip lists, but what about removing distractions?

Distractions have been known to derail an interview and distort how you’re remembered. I asked several recruiters to share serial virtual interview distractions they’ve encountered.

Background Movement

The first distraction to quickly come up in my conversation with one recruiter was a ceiling fan. She remarked that it was not only distracting for her but the other interviewers on the panel, too. Take the time to assess your background for distracting movement and objects.

Preclude the Tech Talk

At this point, most hiring teams have the interview process nailed down. Scheduling, technology, and presentations flow smoothly so they’re able to focus on the decision-making. This leads to the next issue brought up by a recruiter: fumbling over the technology which was sent over prior to the interview.

Take some time to become acquainted with the technology used in the interview.

The bottom line is the time on tech is stealing your opportunity to discuss the position and fully share your value for the position.


Could your Roomba timer go off in the middle of your response to the “Tell me about yourself” question? The sounds of dogs, appliances, tv, and people can be huge distractions. Some may be tempted to jump ship and hop to a coffee shop, but that’s risky because it could cause more stress in terms of internet connection, forgetting documents, and surrounding baristas contributing to your distractions.

Interview Etiquette

When the pandemic began, yoga pants with business tops were all the rage. Not as much when a recruiter sees it in an interview. A recruiter described this scene: guy in interview; guy is asked a questions which requires a document that is on the other side of the room; guy gets up to fetch document; guy shares his basketball shorts paired with suit and tie top.

Dress the part!

The overall distress I gathered from the recruiters was a general dissatisfaction that candidates weren’t taking the interview process as formally during the pandemic. Dressing the part was only the beginning, many didn’t send a thank you message or join the interview on-time. Though we are in unprecedented times, an interviewee should revert-back to precedented interview practices.


Desk Distress

Though a Zoom call doesn’t expose your workspace in its entirety, it can be one of the most offensive distractions to you and the interviewer. Clearing your work area is an important prep step. Consolidating your materials and leaving your resume and paper for notes is a quick action that will project into the overall interview vibe.

The biggest takeaway is to give yourself time to take a step back and evaluate the virtual interview from all angles as a pathway to ace an interview calmly and confidently.