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I'm doing an online interview soon and they requested I use earbuds. I don't have any and I don't have the money or gas to go out and buy some. I do have access to larger headphones, big clunky ones that cover your ears. It's all I have though. Will it work or will I be disqualified for not having earbuds?

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    The goal is probably to avoid having a feedback loop (or overcompensating echo canceller) on your end; especially if there will be multiple people in a speakerphone setup on the company's end. – Chris Stratton Nov 14 '18 at 20:02
  • Most cellphones now days bring earbuds with them when you buy it. See if you don't have any of them lying around or forgotten – DarkCygnus Nov 14 '18 at 20:29
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    they have them at dollar tree. I fear if you can't afford those you can't afford a job ramp-up... – dandavis Nov 14 '18 at 21:35
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    It's highly unlikely that they meant that you couldn't use regular headphones. Unless they explicitly said that headphone or a headset aren't OK, they actually meant "don't use speakers". – BSMP Nov 14 '18 at 23:58
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    @dandavis - That is horrible. I hope you are not homeless and poor - and trying to better yourself. It could happen to you – Ed Heal Nov 15 '18 at 0:14
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You should be Ok - I will think this is a minor thing and after a minute it will be forgotten about.

Anyway - good luck.

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    if they say anything about it (they likely won't), just tell them "heh, murphy's law; my earbuds got stepped on last night, I hope these will hold us over, and if not, i'm ready to work air traffic control...". – dandavis Nov 15 '18 at 5:41
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    It's quite likely that with "earbuds" they intended just "headphones". – Martin Tournoij Nov 15 '18 at 22:42
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Most people's computers are hooked up to speakers.

But this can cause problems when you're doing an interview over the internet: the sound from the speakers can be picked up the microphone, creating either a feedback squeal or an echoing effect as both of your words get played a few times before fading to silence.

I can tell you with near certainty that the reason they're asking for 'earbuds' isn't because they specifically need 'earbuds' for the process. It's because they've run into enough audio problems that they just ask for them up-front in order to save time and hassle.

So regular headphones will definitely be okay - it's still handling their core business need (no audio feedback/looping.)

  • And iff you have them use a real sound card and mic (I suspect the OP does not but its good advice. – Neuromancer Nov 19 '18 at 23:58
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They almost certainly requested that you use earbuds to avoid the common problem of computer speakers creating feedback.

Just wear your headphones and they will probably think nothing of it. If you feel the need to say something, you could say,

You asked me to wear earbuds, but I only had these headphones. I hope you can hear me OK.

If the interviewer were upset about this for some reason, that might be a red flag that this will not be a nice company to work for.

Many people, including myself, use full-size headphones in professional videoconferencing settings. Your choice of clothing and your lighting are far more important.

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