How should I prepare for online interviews?

Video interview: 6 tips to convince applicants

The video interview now dominates numerous job interviews. Thanks to Corona. Even assessment centers take place partly via video. The video interview poses a number of challenges for job seekers and applicants. Technical as well as content. Many ask themselves: How can I convince in front of the camera? What do I have to pay attention to - for example with the background and light? We will show you step by step how you can convince HR managers in a video interview and master the online job interview ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Video interview: job interview at a distance

The video interview is a digital interview. You are not sitting directly across from the person you are speaking to, but instead carry out the video interview at home from your computer, laptop or tablet. Mostly sitting at a desk. The video interview (also known as a “video call” or “video conference”) has many advantages when it comes to applying. For employees and employers: Both save travel time and costs. In addition, safety distances are more than observed in pandemic times. Of course, this also works if someone from Kiel applies for a job in Munich. Or for applicants from abroad. The video interview also helps to bridge greater spatial distances before the invitation to a personal interview is given.

In contrast to a telephone interview the video interview never catches applicants cold. You will always be explicitly invited by the employer to do so. Usually by email with a link. There you will also find the time of the conversation, the person you are talking to and the data you need to log in with (if necessary). Video interviews are common today via the apps Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, GoToMeeting or Skype. If you are currently looking for a job, you should expect that he or she will conduct a video interview.

Reasons for a video interview

Inviting applicants to a video interview is a good sign. The written application documents were convincing. The professional qualifications match. Now the HR managers are primarily concerned with getting to know the candidate personally. The video interview is therefore primarily about the personality, soft skills and working methods as well as the motivation of the applicants.

Video interviews are an integral part of personnel selection today and are part of the application process like salt for cooking. Because of the low cost, they are mostly used for pre-selection with many applicants. Means: Anyone who takes this hurdle usually has not yet received an acceptance, but is invited to a personal interview.

Time-shifted video interview

A special form of video interview is the "time-shifted video interview". There is no direct interlocutor here. There is no immediate exchange or dialogue in the job interview. Instead, the time-shifted video interview resembles a ping-pong game. To do this, applicants log in to a platform using a link and a password. There, questions are then played to them by video from the HR manager. They answer this in turn in front of the webcam and record their response video. Unlike in a personal conversation, you do not have to answer within a few seconds, but are given time to collect your thoughts and formulate an answer. Usually two to five minutes. This time is also displayed.

With time-shifted video interviews, there is So no fixed point in time at which the conversation takes place, but only a predetermined period of time. For example, a week in which applicants conduct the time-shifted video interview and answer all questions or take tests. The HR managers can then view the results - also with a time delay - and compare them with other candidates. As with other methods, applicants will only find out whether and how the selection process will continue at the end of the application process, when the decisions have been made.

Prepare video interview

In order to be convincing in a video interview, you should take the preparation just as seriously as you would for a face-to-face interview. Ultimately, it makes no difference whether you are conducting a face-to-face, virtual or time-shifted video interview. You have to score with your demeanor and the answers. Regardless of the medium.

The same basic rules apply before the video interview the preparation as before any other interview:

  • Research the background to the company.
  • Gather important information about the job.
  • Practice a self-presentation.
  • Prepare the most common questions.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Think about suitable examples that prove your skills.
  • ALWAYS prepare smart questions.

You also have the advantage in the video interviewthat you can have your documents and important information ready around the screen or on the desk. So you can give better answers and convince with a quick look (at the cheat sheet).

Tips & tricks BEFORE the video interview

When preparing the video interview, you should definitely keep these points in mind:

  • Check the technology

    The basic requirement for the video interview is functioning technology. Hardly anything causes more frustration or panic among the participants than technical problems during the conversation. So check the webcam, microphone and LAN or WLAN connection again beforehand. For example, with a test interview with a friend. As a precaution, have a replacement ready in case an emergency occurs and a device fails.

  • Create a calm atmosphere

    During a personal interview in the company, you have no influence on the environment. Yes, with the video interview. Make sure you are quiet and switch sources of interference - literally - off. Means: cell phone and phone off, door closed, window closed to rule out background noise, street noise, heckling or interruptions. You should also tell any roommates what you are about to do so that they don't suddenly run across the screen.

  • Put yourself in the right light

    The light makes a big difference in a video interview. It shouldn't come straight from the front, but slightly from the side. It is best to work with three light sources, the so-called 3-point illumination (see graphic).

  • Pay attention to the background

    The background should be as neutral as possible and harmonize with your clothes. Restless walls, shrill pictures or holiday photos as well as untidy shelves do not leave a good impression or are too distracting. The same goes for bookshelves. Book titles like “Rivets in Pinstripe” or “Tips on How to Work Less” are not exactly what distinguishes top performers.

  • Choose the perfect frame

    See beforehand how you will be captured by the camera. Is the cutout correct? Are you tall and easy to recognize? Ideally, the camera should be slightly raised in front of you (an ironing board also works as a tripod for the laptop). Your eyes are in the upper third of the picture (golden ratio). Also check that the face is well lit and that there are no ugly shadows under the eyes or in the background.

  • Check your profile

    What is meant here is the online profile. If programs such as Skype or Zoom are used for the video interview, you should check your profile there in advance. Did you choose an appropriate name? When you dial into the video interview, your profile should consist of your first and last name - if possible without any further additions. Your profile picture and description should also be professionally worded.

Tips for the video interview

First of all: don't be afraid of the video interview! A little nervousness and stage fright are completely normal and good. The adrenaline increases alertness and concentration. And recruiters know that candidates are nervous. Rather, make yourself aware: In the video interview you stay in familiar surroundings. That gives you additional security. With a confident and optimistic attitude, you are well on the way to a successful video interview. The following tips for the video interview do the rest.

1. Be ready on time

Never start the video interview rushed. So take enough time in advance to prepare yourself mentally and to prepare for the conversation. Ideally, you should be ready to go 15 to 30 minutes before the start of the video interview and relax a little - with appropriate breathing techniques. Also, drink enough still (!) Water beforehand and put a glass of water on the table. Stage fright makes your mouth dry. Drinking loosens the vocal cords and makes the voice more comfortable.

2. Take notes

It is allowed and useful in the video interview if you take notes during the conversation. This can be important information that you write down or questions that you want to ask at a later point in time. You also show that you are really interested and that you are listening carefully.

3. Pay attention to the dress code

There is also a dress code for the video interview that you should adhere to. Simple rule: wear the same outfit as you would for a personal job interview in the company. You want to exude professionalism and competence. Even if you are sitting in your living room at home and not in the conference room. Conspicuous patterns and checks are rather unsuitable for a video interview and the camera. With many cameras, such clothing leads to distortion or blurring.

4. Practice body language

In addition to the outfit, you should pay attention to your body language and posture during the video interview. You should avoid sagging shoulders, hunched back, lowered gaze or nervous waving of your hands. Sit up straight or stand up straight. Hold your hands in front of you on the desk and underline what has been said with slow gestures.

5. Look at the camera

Eye contact with the HR manager is important and easy to implement in a personal conversation. One mistake is made again and again in the video interview: You look at the screen instead of the camera (above). In order to maintain real eye contact, you need to look directly into the camera during the video interview. Otherwise, it will appear to your interlocutor as if you were just dropping by. And don't forget: Always smile! That immediately makes you more personable. To do this, professionals stick a post-it with a smiley face directly next to the camera so as not to forget the smile.

6. Control your voice

With increasing nervousness, many people's voice changes. The pitch of the voice becomes higher, the speed of speech faster. In the video interview, try specifically to counteract these factors and properly control your voice. You can massively improve your impression. Especially if you can manage to speak more slowly and clearly. And say less "Uh".

[Photo credit: Vectorium by Shutterstock.com]

Even more interview tips
➠ Interview: All the tips

Job interview process
➠ Interview preparation
➠ Application questions + answers
➠ Job interview clothes
➠ Introducing yourself
➠ self-presentation
➠ End the interview

Interview types
➠ Second interview
➠ Assessment Center
➠ Stress interview
➠ Job interview English
➠ Video interview
➠ Telephone interview

Typical questions
➠ These 100 questions can come
➠ 25 trick questions + answers
➠ Stress issues
➠ What are your weaknesses?
➠ What are your strengths?
➠ Why should we hire you?
➠ What was your last salary?
➠ Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
➠ Why did you quit?
➠ Inadmissible questions
➠ Inquiries to HR managers

Tips & Tricks
➠ Practice interview
➠ Interview mistakes
➠ White lies in the job interview
➠ body language tips
➠ Overcome nervousness
➠ Where to put your hands?

organization
➠ Confirm the interview
➠ Postpone the interview
➠ Cancel the interview
➠ Cancel the interview
➠ Follow up after the conversation