Artificial Intelligence Creeps into a Job Search Process

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Job interview with a machine

Technology advancement affects various areas of our life and a job search is not an exception. Candidates already got used to software applications like ATS (applicant tracking system) widely used by HR departments to screen incoming CVs. These advanced IT tools bring many tangible benefits for the hiring companies, most importantly savings on cost and time to pick the suitable candidates.

In search for additional cost cuts, companies try to make the most out of IT solutions. ATS software was just a first step. Another tool, which gains increasing traction within HR departments is automated video interviews (AVI) systems. In a nutshell, one-way AVI solutions help companies to conduct an interview without a presence of a real recruiter as candidates submit video responses to predefined questions. Subsequently, their videos are analyzed by the AI technology to draw conclusions on aspects such as eye-contact or enthusiasm and to produce a numerical score of a candidate. The most popular piece of such software is HireVue, which is already used by a third of Fortune500 companies[1].

We can probably all imagine the awkwardness of speaking to a machine. Inability to ask confirming question to another person or limited answer time make the whole process seem bizarre. Nevertheless, a further adoption of these tools by companies seems inevitable and candidates can easily be caught off guard by the new technology. What can be then done to maximize chances for success during an automated video interview? Surprisingly, the answer to this question is not complicated at all. Here are some useful tips.

Your checklist before an interview

Firstly, let us start with some issues you should take care of long before an interview. To shed more light on the mechanism behind automated video interviews, systems like HireVue analyze a job description and search for keywords relevant for a given role (similarly to ATS tools). As a result, the system builds a “perfect candidate’s profile”, which your video answers are subsequently benchmarked against. Of course, this model profile considers not only keywords from a job description, but also other qualities and skills defined by the recruiter. Therefore, a tip number 1 is: go through company’s website + job description thoroughly in search for required skills and qualities. This knowledge will be a strong foundation of your preparation process.

Once you screened the job description and know the requirements of a position well, you must prepare your answers to typical interview questions. Some of you might be tempted to act spontaneously in order to make your answers seem more natural. This, however, may be a blind corner. Be aware that during an automated video interview you will have a limited time for an answer. Any sort of improvisation may thus, hurt your performance badly. Now you may ask yourself: What kind of questions may I encounter? No need to worry, here is a small hint for you: during the automated video interview you are usually asked typical behavioral questions and technical issues are set aside for later stages. Probably one of the most important question is: “Tell me about yourself”. If you have problems with coming up with other examples, give a try to the CFA Interview Simulator described in the previous article. This smart tool will provide you with a list of behavioral questions and suggestions of a well thought-through answer.

 High time to give it a try

Now you are well-prepared and ready to launch an automated interview, or are you? Before you launch an interview, be aware of additional challenges you may face during this task.

First, we cannot ignore obvious technological aspects of an interview, such as: proper background, undisturbed surrounding, sufficient lighting, audio settings, internet connection or laptop battery. Trivial as they may sound, these small issues can easily hinder your performance during the interview. Therefore, make sure all of them are acting to your benefit. Moreover, despite you are interviewing from home, consider dressing as if you were meeting at the company’s premises. Choose your outfit which suits best the culture of the company you are applying to.

Another bunch of practical tips: set up your desk into a standing position, which will effectively calm your breath and reduce an anxiety. This will help you to give a smooth and clear answer. Secondly, align your webcam with your eye level. This is not always obvious, but it looks much better on the interviewer’s side when you are not looking up or down the camera. Moreover, as this may be hard to control, still try to look straight into a camera during the interview. This small but important element make a positive impression as if you are speaking with a real person.

Okey, so finally you can now hit a “Start” button! To give you an idea of what the whole interview looks like, I will lead you from the very beginning. Firstly, the system will display the instructions and the rules of the process. Read or listen to them very carefully as these will include important information on preparation or answer time. Speaking about time available, usually you will have 30 seconds to prepare your answer and 90 seconds to record your video, which may vary from one system to another. As you can imagine, time limits may generate a lot of stress. In case of any troubles, focus on one idea which you want to convey. This will prevent you from falling into sidelines of related topics and provide a concise answer. Finally, even if you have some time left after you finished your answer, avoid trying to additionally extend it. This would expose you to a risk of sounding artificially or simply saying something that you would not like your interviewer to hear. Your goal at this point is to provide a concise and crisp answer only.

Now you are well prepared so you can roll up your sleeves and face an automated video interview 😉

 

[1] https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201102-asynchronous-video-interviews-the-tools-you-need-to-succeed

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