The Hidden Messages: Camera Usage Disparity in Online Interviews

Abhinav Kumar
8 min readMay 10, 2023

Navigating the complexities of camera requirements: Insights into empathy, equality, and privacy concerns

Online interview
Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Have you ever been asked to open your camera in an online interview, while the interviewer keeps their camera turned off?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a significant transformation in the tech interview landscape, necessitating a shift from traditional in-person formats to remote and online settings. Personally, I have participated in over 20 interviews and have transitioned to two different employers during this period. Each of these interviews was conducted online using platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.

Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to the subtle habits and practices of the interviewers. It took time for me to realize and truly understand the implications of these behaviors. I began to question how much these observations can reveal about the interviewer and the overall company culture.

The virtual nature of online interviews offers a unique window into the values and practices upheld by the interviewer and the organization. Small details such as camera usage, communication style, and engagement during the interview can provide valuable insights into the interviewer’s level of attentiveness, professionalism, and interpersonal skills. These factors, in turn, can shed light on the broader company culture, its values, and how candidates are perceived and treated.

As the interview process continues to evolve in the digital age, paying attention to these micro habits and practices can serve as a valuable tool for assessing the interviewer and the company, ensuring a better alignment between the candidate’s aspirations and the organizational culture.

The lack of interest displayed by the interviewer suggests a one-sided approach to the interview process. Interviews are meant to be a two-way communication channel, where the interviewer asks questions and the candidate provides answers. However, they also serve as an opportunity for the candidate to showcase their personality and engage in a general conversation, much like interacting with a potential teammate…

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Abhinav Kumar

Software Engineer @Zalando, Living in Germany, Tech enthusiast, Story Teller, Write about my learning and experiences in tech and in life.