Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
by Chaim Shapiro, Touro College’s director of the Office for Student Success.
These are tough times for job seekers, but you are one of the fortunate ones. You just got an interview! Obviously, no one is meeting job candidates in person, so you do your best to prepare for a virtual interview. To help prepare, you try researching the interviewer only to find out that there isn’t one!
Virtual interviews are so last decade. Your interview is completely virtual with no human interaction, prerecorded questions, and prompts to record your answers. Doing a little more research, you discover that your answers won’t even be reviewed by a person; the company uses artificial intelligence (AI) to screen video interviews and determine who moves to the next round. How do you prepare for that? Here are five things you need to know about AI video interviews.
1. What are AI Video Interviews?
Technology has advanced rapidly. Major companies have been conducting virtual interviews for years via platforms such as Skype, BlueJeans, and more recently Zoom. This is the next logical step.
Your responses to interview questions will be interpreted by artificial intelligence to determine if you are a good fit for the company. For many companies, your interview will not receive human review unless the AI determines that you meet their preset criteria.
2. How does it work?
Most AI-based systems allow you to interview at any time within a window of a couple of days. The questions are preselected, and often recorded in video form. Some companies just provide the text of the question for you to answer.
Usually, there is a countdown timer after each question is read before you can record your answer. This is the time to make sure your camera is focused correctly, you are centered on the screen, and that you have a professional background.
Himal Ahuja, founder of the career readiness platform, Quinncia, a leader in the use of AI for career readiness, stressed that proper lighting is essential for video interviews. The system must be able to see your face. A source of light behind your computer is usually the best way to go.
Be aware that normally, your computer screen will show you answering the question during the recording process. Look directly at the camera. Ahuja recommends putting a book under your computer and keeping it at arm’s length, so the camera is at eye level.
Many employers allow you two or three attempts to answer each question before they are submitted, but that is not universal. Multiple attempts will allow you to restart if you make a mistake in an earlier iteration. Be aware that companies can keep track of the number of attempts and can use that in their assessment. Instructions provided with the interview should clarify how many attempts you have per question and how long your answers can be.
3. What does the AI do?
This is advanced technology. The AI system dissects your video and judges your performance based on preselected criteria set by the company. These are very smart machines. Believe it or not, they claim that they can measure things like mood and attitude in addition to things like the use of keywords, the structure of your answers, your use of language, filler words, and face and body language.
The system analyzes the video of your face so they can interpret even the smallest movement of your lips and eyes. Believe it or not, the system will analyze whether it believes you are being truthful, or exaggerating based on small movements in your lips and eyes. That is why the lighting is so important. The AI will not get a reading if it cannot clearly see your face.
4. How do I prepare for an AI interview?
That is the golden question! Every company has the ability to set the criteria to determine what factors they consider important in terms of determining a successful interview, so there are no absolute answers to the question.
In addition to the standard preparation you need to make for any virtual interview, you have to focus on trying to give the AI what it wants to see. AI transcribes your answers, so try to speak a little slower than in standard conversation so that the system doesn’t miss any of your words.
Most likely, the AI is looking for the use of certain keywords. Often the job description will contain most of those keywords. Make sure to use them during your answers, but remember the system is also judging you based on the content of your answers, so you will have to weave those keywords in.
AI claims it can judge your mood. Whether they really can do so accurately is a matter of debate, but the AI system does include that interpretation in your analysis. Try to choose a time when you are relaxed and happy. It can be a good idea to watch a short video that puts you in good spirits before you start (watching Patrick Kane’s Stanley Cup winning goal from 2010 works well for me).
Stay focused and attentive and be wary of your facial expressions and body language. Smile, but be genuine and real. AI is very smart. Small differences in the movements in your lips, nose, and eyes can mark the difference between a real smile and the smile you give during that last photograph after five hours at your cousin’s wedding.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
My best advice is to practice video interviewing to get a better feel for how it works and how you present yourself. As opposed to standard virtual interview, you will see yourself on your computer screen while you are recording your answers. That takes getting used to.
The best idea is to record your answers so you can watch them and assess your performance. An even better idea would be to submit your practice interviews to career services so they can give you feedback.
Fortunately, LinkedIn has a free virtual interview preparation tool found here that allows you to record your answers and share them with experts who can give you feedback.
LinkedIn recently made the exciting announcement that they will be rolling out a free AI evaluation of the video interviews you record on the platform. Every company sets different criteria for their AI, but this new LinkedIn system will allow you to evaluate things like your sentence structure, use of filler words, pauses, words per minute, increases or decreases in the speed of your answer as well as the use of nonprofessional words and culturally insensitive words.