How to Ace the Job Interview from Home, Part 2: Video and AI Interviews

By Emily Seamone and Don Goldstein with Carly Batist

Video Job Interviews

Photo by McKinsey L. Jordan, Raw Pixel

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we discussed strategies for handling more traditional remote interviews including phone and webcam interviews. In Part 2, we address a new form of video interviewing that is conducted—and sometimes even evaluated—by artificial intelligence.

We are fortunate to have the comments of Carly Batist, a GC PhD student in Biological Anthropology who recently sat for an artificial intelligence interview using HireVue. Her insights are included below.

Acing the Video Interview

The Video Computer / AI Interview

This is the “brave new world” of job interviewing. It is similar to the webcam interview except that you are not interacting with an actual person but rather with a computer or artificial intelligence program. The most popular platforms are HireVue, Interviewstream, Spark Hire, and VidCruiter.

Once you are selected for an interview, you will be sent a link to a website or be asked to install an app. When you trigger the start of the interview, most systems will give you a practice question, and your recorded answer for this question will not be seen by the company. Take advantage of this opportunity because it will give you a chance to see how the platform actually works and it will get you into the momentum of answering questions. You will then be told how many questions you will be getting and how long you have to answer each question. Generally, you will be given 30 seconds to prepare your answer and 3-5 minutes to answer. A countdown clock will appear on the screen, and you press a button when you are finished with your answer.

The questions are asked by a pre-recorded person or appear in written form on the screen. Some questions may require a written (rather than a spoken) answer, but there are generally no time limitations on composing written responses—although there are word-count limitations. There may be multiple choice questions as well, but these are generally used to collect factual information about the candidate.

Video Interview Evaluation

There are a couple of ways that the video recording can be reviewed and evaluated. First, a human, such as an HR recruiter or a hiring manager, can review the video when they have time in their schedule and can easily share it with other decision makers. In the second instance, the recorded questions are evaluated by artificial intelligence algorithms to evaluate candidates’ facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, speed of delivery, and use of keywords. The latter, as you might imagine, is not without controversy.

Recommendations from a Recent Video Interviewee

Insight about HireVue

On HireVue, you can practice recording answers as many times as you want. It can be helpful to make a list of potential questions you think you might be asked and answer them the way you would in a live interview (since they just give you three generic questions in the practice module).

After you record a response, you will be able to review it to make sure the sound and lighting are good and that you’re happy with your answer. Some companies may give you the option to re-record an answer. However, it’s important to note that on HireVue, the app will NOT save the first video for you to then choose later on. If you opt to re-record, the first video is erased and replaced by the re-run. You will typically have about 5 minutes between each question to re-group, drink some water, take some deep breaths, etc. Because it can be hard to hear yourself speak and watch yourself at the same time, HireVue gives you the option to black-out the screen so you can’t see yourself while recording.

Other Recommendations

Wear professional clothes as you would in an in-person interview; it helps you to get into an “interview mindset” if you dress as if you are going to be at an in-person interview. You can record whenever or wherever you’d like, but pick a decently-professional background (e.g., blank wall). Use a stationary recording device like a laptop, or attach your phone/tablet to a holder so the video isn’t shaky. Adjust your recording device so that your head and upper body are visible (as if you were sitting at a table across from an interviewer). Make sure that you are in a well-lit room without any background noise or distractions.

Depending on how you typically prep for interviews, you may want to write out some bullet-points for probable questions or experiences/skills you definitely want to highlight throughout. Don’t necessarily write a word-for-word script, as it will be obvious in the video if you’re reading something. You may find it helpful to have key points written down that you can look at between questions to make sure you hit a certain point that you may have previously forgotten to mention.

Post-Interview Etiquette

A thank you note for the video/AI interview is a bit tricky. If you know who posted the job description or set up the interview (and it’s not just the company’s tech person), address the note to them. If you don’t have that information, do some detective work to try to ascertain who the hiring manager is for the position. You should send the thank you email within 24 hours of conducting the interview. Express your continued enthusiasm for the position and provide any additional information that you might not have mentioned in the interview.

Self-Reflection

After an interview, you should always take a moment to self-reflect and evaluate your own performance. Did you have difficulty with any of the questions? What could you have done better? Remember, the more practice and the more actual interviews you do, the better you get at it.

The Future of Job Interviews

We believe that this format of interviewing will be used more and more by companies in the future and not only because of the COVID-19 crisis. It allows them to save time. They don’t have to watch the whole interview if they determine early on that the candidate is not a good fit for the position. They can watch the interviews according to their own time schedules and can re-wind and re-play an answer. They can share the videos with colleagues. It may prove to be a fairer system because every candidate is fielding the same questions. However, if AI intelligence is making decisions, there is certainly a potential that this technology could be misused to reinforce biases. This is something that we can’t control. What we can control is our preparations and doing the best possible interview in any remote format.

For more information about remote interviews, view our recent webinar How to Ace the Job Interview from Home.

Stay safe and healthy at home.