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“...take a deep breath, but not necessarily in front of a white wall”

From Karin Frei | 03.09.2018

Practical tips for your first video interview for a job application

For some recruitment procedures, we’ve recently started using video interviews which are not dependent on time or location. After an initial selection process, applicants who are interesting to us will receive a link to an interview page, i.e. a tool for video interviews. On the interview page, applicants can practise for the video interview in a test environment and familiarise themselves with the tool. Once they feel confident enough, applicants can start the interview. In the interview, applicants are asked questions which they need to answer off-the-cuff and within a certain time limit – just as in a real interview situation.

In this way, the video interview gives applicants the opportunity to make a further impression and answer initial questions about their professional experience or motivations for applying. We’re convinced that applicants are more than just their CV, which is why we would like to give them an opportunity as early as possible to let their personality and skills shine.

What’s it like to participate in a video interview without an interviewer? What things should you be aware of when participating in a video interview which is not dependent on time and location? How can you best use a video interview to make a good impression?

You can find lots of video interview tips from Aline, Stéphanie and Julien in our YouTube video (German version).

We also asked Julien some further questions.

During the application process for the trainee programme at Swiss Post, you took part in a video interview yourself. How was it for you?

Weird. And new! I’d never done this kind of interview before and at first it was really nerve-racking getting used to the idea. It was also very strange that the interviewer was missing. In the end, the interview went really well, and the preparation time really helped me a lot. I was also able to bring in my creativity and personality. That helped me to stay calm under the circumstances.

What was the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge for me was the absence of the interviewer, which meant there was no direct feedback or reaction. That made me feel rather uncertain. On the other hand, it was a challenge for me to incorporate aspects like my creative streak into the video. I was a bit concerned about it for a few days.

What would you do differently if you had another video interview?

I think I’d be a bit more adventurous and choose another location rather than doing the interview at home. And maybe I’d also smile a bit more – being nervous often makes that quite hard.

What’s your personal tip for handling a video interview successfully?

It’s the usual advice – be yourself! Breathe deeply, stay calm and show who you are. That’s half the battle. It will also really help if you prepare as you would for a normal interview. Ask yourself what might be expected of you and find a place for the recording where you feel comfortable. Don’t forget that you’re allowed to be creative and you don’t have to have a white wall behind you.

Do you think that we’ll see digital technology being used more and more in job application processes in the future?

Absolutely. If digital technologies continue to make inroads, they can significantly reduce the effort involved in job applications. I also think that in the future, more and more students will look for jobs internationally as well. They’ll be prepared to live somewhere else and take on a new opportunity. Digital interviews are essential in this respect.