Video Interview

In today’s job search, a lot of companies tend to use automated and digitized ways to recruit people, especially at the entry-level. Instead of driving a couple of hours to have an interview on-site, many of us may just have it through our computer or smartphone. This process is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that are programmed to make evaluations of candidates almost immediately. As a result, recruiters make their decisions fairly quickly. For example, my aunt Jenna recently interviewed, via HireVue, for an accountant position. She did very well and was notified she would continue her interview at the company with the real manager the next day. However, not everyone feels comfortable talking to the camera or behaves well like aunt Jenna. So, you might find the below content useful when you are preparing your own AI-based video interview.

How does AI video interview work?

A classic video interview platform will look like this. On the left side, you can see some prompts. Sometimes you might see written text and sometimes you might see a pre-recorded video generated by the HR department. After seeing the prompt for about 30 seconds, the video response will begin. Usually, you will have 3 minutes to answer a single question. Overall, the process may have 5-10 questions that cover different aspects of your skills, education, experience, personality, or whatever the company thinks is relevant to the job.

How does the AI algorithm evaluate your answer? They will try to make use of every data in that short video including your tone, facial expression, and body movement. The content is then collected, evaluated, and compared to other job candidates applying for this position. Usually, companies like HireVue present the same questions to the top performers and learn from how they answered. So if you behave and speak similarly to those job candidates, you are most likely favored by the system. Although the video interview may collect a lot of data, only some of them may be relevant for the job.

What are the key takeaways for the AI-based interview?

Is it different from a real-life interview? Yes, it is the correct answer! The biggest difference is that AI technology makes the initial evaluation, NOT human beings. So, how will this influence your interview?

First, people like to use small talk to try to make connections to the interviewers, to understand what kind of person the recruiters are like, or save some time for them to think through this. Well, these techniques will no longer work for AI technology.

Second, even though you don’t need the small talk that does not necessarily mean you should keep a poker face, avoid your eyes from the camera, and speak like a machine! True fact, machines algorithms are not programmed to favor candidates who act robotic! I think you will benefit a lot from smiling, looking directly at the camera, and speaking fluently with some energy. However, don’t get too anxious about this. You are not asked to speak like Abraham Lincoln in order to be hired as a machinist. Again, AI technology identifies the role model according to the top performers at your position. So I think about the best way to perform professionally and friendly.

Third, AIs do not literally understand human language, but they can identify keywords. So you probably don’t want to joke around in this case and have them guessing about what you mean. Just get direct with them! Instead of rather ambiguous stuff like “I am the superstar of my previous team and everyone admires me”, state your strengths clearly and in a succinct way. One recommendation is to prepare your answers in the S.T.A.R. format. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Approach, and Results. This format is especially helpful when you answer behavioral questions like “what is the most successful experience you had at your previous job?”

In short, no small talk, speak professionally and friendly, and get to the point.

What else do you need to keep in mind?

Just like the traditional interviewing, you should practice your answers to become fluent and confident in yourself. It would be a good idea for you to Google “frequently asked interview questions” for the desired job ad posting. You may either face the mirror or record yourself through the smartphone. Don’t forget to use the STAR format!

In addition to those important points, you’d better check to make certain that the Internet connection, camera function, and microphone are working well. Moreover, you may want to make sure you are at a place where you feel quiet and comfortable. You don’t want to stop your dog from taking your phone or comfort your child during the interview. 

Take a breath and smile. Good luck!

Blog post written by Jet Wang, NC State University, Mar 23, 2020. Featured image photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash.

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