How to present in front of the camera – 9 tips

Guest article from Claudia Haas – Steigerwald from comdico

Exit restriction, ban on contact, social distancing – the corona crisis affects all companies and industries. The face-to-face interviews that are common in the classic application process are currently not possible and force HR departments to take new paths: Job interviews via camera as live interviews and video applications are now in demand as tools. Companies that have already modernized, digitalized and visualized their recruiting process have a clear advantage here. Others are currently following suit and are increasingly using smartphone-based video recruiting platforms such as Talentcube.

With the app from Talentcube, applicants can apply for jobs all over Germany via smartphone. To do so, they answer up to five specific questions and film themselves with the front camera. The special thing: The applicant cannot view the questions beforehand, so he/she must answer spontaneously. It is also possible to apply for jobs via the Talentcube platform. To do so, the applicant selects his or her own questions and then creates a video application, which he or she then submits to the company on their own initiative. The resume can be maintained in the app and thus be kept constantly up to date.


Performing in front of a running camera – a challenge for applicants

Applying by video sounds very simple at first. Experience from numerous communication, media and rhetoric training courses shows that for many people, appearing in front of the camera is something completely new, unusual and a special challenge.

The applicants have many questions in their minds, such as:

  • What happens if I make a promise or someone comes into the room in between?
  • Should I prepare the answers or speak spontaneously?
  • Do I speak clearly enough?
  • Should I start with a smile or with a neutral face?

In my speech, conversation and media training, participants often express the wish that they come across as authentically as possible and do not want to pretend. At the same time they want to appear professional. In the classic job interview, the applicants also receive direct feedback on their answers. In the video application, this is not necessary. This is another challenge for many. The following tips make it easier to present yourself in front of the camera:


9 tips for professional handling in front of the camera


#1 Plan what you want to say

This applies to both the spontaneous interviews and the video application. Why? So that you can speak freely and to the point. Under pressure and tension, the ability to react and think can change. Seminar participants report that what they wanted to say did not occur to them or that they said things they did not want to say at all. Write down your answers in whole sentences or in keywords, read through them several times and speak them out loud. In this way you can internalise the contents, retrieve them more easily later and put them together in a flexible way depending on the question. When formulating sentences, remember: don’t write a novel and long box sentences. Write for speaking, i.e. short, concise sentences that you can say in one breath.


#2 Design your appearance: Outfit and space

The same dress code applies to Video Applications and Live-Interviews as for personal interviews in the company: With your outfit you want to appear professional and competent. It’s worth looking over your own shoulder: the untidy shelf wall or the dried-up yucca palm can be prevented. In the best case, the space behind you should positively support your appearance.


#3 Pay attention to your breathing and voice

If the nervousness increases, the voice changes for many people. The pitch of the voice becomes higher, breathing and speech tempo become faster. Sentences seem choppy, are spoken too fast. They seem short of breath, get muddled up. In the video interview, try specifically to include pauses and speak slowly. This has several advantages: Your interviewer can process what you say. You give each of your words and phrases the relevance they need. This makes you appear confident and competent to the HR manager.


#4 Speak interesting

With a well-formulated script, you run the risk of reading the sentences instead of speaking freely. Your monotonous way of speaking seems boring to the personnel. How does it go better? Emphasize one or two words per sentence and then go down in your voice at the end of the sentence. This will change your intonation and your speech will sound more exciting.

Tell concrete experiences from your study or professional life. This will help you attract the attention of personnel decision-makers.


#5 Speak clearly

Mumbling and swallowing word endings makes listening tiring for your counterpart. Articulation is crucial here: loosen your jaws with gentle chewing movements and then pronounce a few sentences aloud. Give your full attention to every single word, syllable and ending.


#6 Think about your “why?”

Think about why you are interested in exactly this job in exactly this company? This will help you to convey real emotions and a certain passion in your answers. You want to inspire the company about yourself. Do this by talking about your most important experience and why you are the ideal person for this position. It’s not about overly sentimentalism but about more than just hard facts.


#7 Speech posture, body expression, facial expressions and gestures

Pay attention to your body expression during the video interview. Floppy shoulders, crooked back, tired look seem passive and disinterested. Sit upright and relax your shoulders. Do not wave your hands around. Instead, place them on the desk in front of you. Your facial expressions and gestures will naturally follow what you say. You can use gestures to emphasize something special. For example, you can use your thumb, forefinger and middle finger to underline a list.


#8 Speaking under live pressure

In a video interview, you are under live conditions, similar to a face-to-face interview. For many, this increases the pressure, stage fright increases. A certain amount of excitement is a natural physical reaction and definitely positive. It activates your body and prepares for the coming challenge. So you calm down: relax your shoulder area. Sit up straight. Pay attention to your breathing and breathe calmly in your stomach and flanks.


#9 Camera in view

Eye contact is important in a personal conversation. This is how you stay in touch with your counterpart. The camera is not human. This makes it difficult for many people to speak into the camera at first. But the camera is the eye of the staff member. So don’t digress in your video application or live interview, but keep eye contact. Tip for handling the camera: Look directly into the camera and not at the monitor. Otherwise, it will look as if you are looking past the HR manager.


Conclusion

In general: Practice makes perfect. Do not put yourself under pressure. Approach your first video application playfully. If it doesn’t work out directly with the first recording attempt, try it again. This way you get used to the camera and practice your answers while doing so.

Do you have any questions? Then the personal support of Talentcube will be happy to answer them. Explanatory videos, an extensive FAQ section and the opportunity to practice with a range of sample questions will also help you to create your video application.


Claudia Haas-Steigerwald M.A., M.A. has been consulting companies in strategic communication and press relations for over 20 years. The Germanist, trained mediator and Master of Speech Communication and Rhetoric is a communication trainer and lecturer for rhetoric at the University of Heidelberg. She accompanies executives in their application processes. More about individual application trainings HERE.

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