Online job interview:
How to have a successful video interview

The thought of the supposed loss of real personal interaction during a video interview is really unnerving to some people. A considerable proportion our communication consists of body language; many people find it more difficult to express themselves without it. Nowadays, video interviews are an integral part of recruiting, and a constituent of the application process. Companies often use online interviews to carry out pre-selection and get a first impression of you as an applicant. Video interviews have numerous advantages, such as the savings made in terms of money and time.

However, an online interview poses certain technical and content-related challenges: Hardware problems or insufficient preparation can reflect badly on you as an applicant and cause serious problems during the interview. We would therefore like to provide you with some useful tips for being well prepared for your online interview.

Online job interview: Short tips

Before the interview:

  • Prepare for frequently asked questions. Make notes on this.
  • Choose a simple background for the video interview which goes well with your clothing.
  • Before the video interview, test how the camera sees you. Your head and shoulders should be visible.
  • Preparing for the online interview also includes checking the lighting of the environment to avoid any drop shadows or a too dark transmission.
  • Test that your microphone, webcam and internet connection are all working. A test call can help. Have replacements ready in case one of the devices fails.
  • Check whether your profile picture and name in the messaging service that is being used are appropriate before your online interview. You can use the photo from your application and your full name for this.

During the interview:

  • Eliminate potential interference sources and therefore avoidable mistakes. Switch off your mobile and close the windows and doors.
  • Dress appropriately for your interview. Wear the same clothes that you would for an in-person interview. Our tips for dress code for an interview might help.
  • Have important information ready within view. If you blank on what to say next during the interview, you can refer to your notes.
  • Use easily understandable, clear language. Avoid phrasing that is unnecessarily complicated. This is particularly important in an online interview.
  • Maintain eye contact with your interviewers. This gives the impression that you are listening and paying attention. Try to look into the camera and not at the screen, so that you are looking directly at your interviewer.
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  2. 1. Make all of the necessary arrangements for your video interview in good time

    Technology is an aspect that is almost only relevant for video calls. Be sure to prevent any unpleasant technical difficulties by installing and configuring the necessary programmes (Skype, Zoom, or similar) devices in good time.

    Test your connection and video software several times before the online interview e.g. by making test calls in order to check the sound and picture quality. Your interviewers probably have a full calendar, and will be anything but impressed if you have to keep reconnecting. Our careers advisers can help you to prepare for your digital job interview and the content thereof. You alone are responsible for ensuring that the technology doesn’t let you down. A stable internet connection is therefore a basic requirement for the online interview.

    Dress formally for a video interview, even if you're conducting the interview from your living room. Dress as you would for an in-person interview on site at your potential employer's. However, avoid intricate patterns, since these can cause display problems with many cameras. Choose a clean and tidy location for the interview, and make sure there is nothing within the field of view of your camera which you don't want to be seen. If your personal adviser has set up the interview, they may offer you the use of their office for the video interview. In this case, you don't need to worry about the last point.

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  4. 2. Familiarise yourself with the technology

    During the interview, you have to feel comfortable with looking into a camera and speaking into a microphone. Looking directly into the camera will allow you to have eye contact with the interviewer. Speaking clearly into the microphone will avoid having to repeat yourself. Resist the urge to check your own video image on your monitor. One thing which is very important is to smile. You can make a connection with your interviewer by smiling.

    Listen closely to the interviewer’s questions – remember that delays in the video transmission and/or connection problems can occur.

    Occasionally it may be difficult to answer a question immediately. In this case, you can simply ask to continue and return to the question later. Silences can prove to be difficult if you're not in the same room as your interviewer. Which is why you should try to avoid uncomfortable silences.

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  6. 3. Radiate confidence and stay calm

    Another difficulty of video interviews is conveying your attention, interest and motivation to the interviewer with your natural body language. Make sure that you reflect all of this with your words, while always remaining conscious of your body language. It always makes a good impression if you also ask questions. Have some prepared.

    Stay professional, relaxed and calm. It will then be easier to answer the questions. Delays in the flow of conversation are natural during video interviews, and are nothing to worry about. Just wait for a moment and make sure that your interviewer has completed their questions. This prevents confusion and unnecessary misunderstandings during the interview. Clear, succinct answers can help to pave the way to a flowing conversation. If your interviewers require more information, they will ask for it.

    Self-confidence can be much more decisive in an online interview than conventional in-person interviews. Body language can suggest your self-confidence. If this is not evident, it can be difficult for your interviewer to get an impression of you. Act confidently, and leave no room for doubt about you and your skills. Our tips will provide you with support.

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  8. 4. Respond confidently to problems in the interview

    No matter how well you have prepared your video interview, always keep in mind that there are technical aspects beyond your control. If you use software for video calls, for example, the conversation may be disrupted or the signal interrupted. In the worst case, the connection is lost completely. In the latter case, you should try to re-establish the connection quickly so that you can continue with the conversation as soon as possible. Also, contact your interviewer at the same time and let him or her know that you are in the process of resolving the problem.

    A successful online interview will be a success.

    Nothing now stands in your way of a successful online interview. Take our tips to heart and your dream job is within reach.

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