Application and job interviews online: Success factors and pitfalls

In the course of the last few weeks, HEIs have been and continue to be confronted with exceptional challenges in their operational processes. This also applies to recruitment and appointment procedures, if these cannot conducted in-person. Currently, various digital formats are being tested. However, digitally mediated discussions and appointment processes are developing their own dynamics. Therefore, technical, organisational as well as psychological aspects must be taken into account in this development process. These topics were discussed by around 45 participants in the second Online-Dialogue of CHE Consult.

The following questions were at the centre of the discussion:

  • To what extent are online procedures already being used to select applicants?
  • How do the psychological aspects of interaction affect job interviews?
  • Will hybrid formats – analogue and digital – be developed for the selection of applicants after Corona?

The discussion kicked off with a presentation by Mrs. Rogalla (Head of the Department of Finance, Human Resources and Communication, Medical Faculty of the OWL, University of Bielefeld) and Prof. Dr. Hauck (Professor of Communication Psychology and Organizational Consulting, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences) on these topics. They also reported on the current state of research as well as practical experiences in the field.

Some aspects of the process would be different with digitally-supported procedures, as compared to analogue formats. For example, the media competence of the applicants is much more apparent in a digital format and has an effect on the overall perception of the candidates. A preliminary assessment of technological competency is also indispensable for a successful interview.

However, there are aspects that have to be considered for both digital and face-to-face interviews. These include ensuring comparability (in terms of form and content), drawing up a competence profile and clearly defining the formal requirements.

For future application and appointment procedures, the two input providers concluded that a dialogue process would now have to be initiated at universities regarding how to take advantage of both variants and develop hybrid processes in line with the motto “Get the best of both worlds!“. There is still one drawback of hybrid formats – while digital formats enable comparability, they do not replace direct and therefore social and interpersonal exchange.

Julia Klingemann, initiator and moderator of the Online Dialogue, expressed her delight at the continued interest in the series and announced that it would be continued: “We are delighted about the large number of participants in our second Online Dialogue. The next Online Dialogues are therefore already being planned and will cover topics such as Virtual and innovative Leadership and On- and Offboarding”.

If you are interested in participating in upcoming exchange formats or have any further comments on the topic, please contact us and send an e-mail to elisa.himbert(at)