Remote interviews seem to be gaining more traction.
Employers don’t want to miss out on great candidates because they didn’t have time to bring them in the for interviews or the candidates couldn’t get to on-site interviews for whatever reason.
Let’s face it – everyone’s really busy. Trying to find a day and time that works for all parties is next to impossible, particularly if the candidate is working full-time.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
There are companies who are trying to address the inefficiencies and inconvenience of the traditional interview methods by developing AI-driven interview software that addresses the problem of missing out on good applicants and getting low conversions due to poor candidate experience.
I guess the theory is that if you can’t bring the candidate to the interview, you bring the interview to the candidate!
One jobseeker who is a subscriber of mine, recently experienced this “Black Mirror” style of interviewing which she had concerns about and sent me this message:
What’s your recommendation for doing video interviews where there is no human involved?
I just had one with a great company but I think I “blew it. You’re looking at your picture on your computer and answering questions to yourself. There’s no interaction, no feedback or response from a human.
I found this AI-driven format unsettling.
Well, it’s certainly a different experience trying to impress your own webcam! I’ve never experienced this type of meeting before, but I can only imagine how, well, weird it must feel.
What to expect
The kind of AI interview that I’m talking about in this article is the one that requires the candidate to sit in front of their own computer and answer a series of questions that are recorded.
Depending on the AI system and how it’s set up, the candidate might also be asked to write an essay, answer multiple choice questions, play little games, or even draw.
The system analyzes the content of the candidates answers and visual clues such as body language, facial expressions, and speaking skills.
Apparently, the system can see micro-expressions that a human would typically miss which allows it to identify the candidate’s mood, behaviour patters, and nervousness which helps the employer decide if the candidate is a good “cultural” fit for the organization.
How to prepare for an AI interview
If you are faced with this kind of interview, you will need to establish good eye contact, good posture, a confident tone, and be as poised as possible to avoid the system misinterpreting your body language.
Because you’re talking to a computer, you don’t need to develop a rapport with it, so you can forgo the small talk and not worry about being charming or engaging.
Instead, the focus is how you answer the interview questions which will be analyzed first by an algorithm and then by the human.
You would prepare for an AI interview just as you would prepare for the human interview.
That means, reviewing the job description and researching the company website and their mission statement to understand the kind of qualities they value, what they’re looking for in a candidate, what the job entails, what their business goals/objectives are, what their challenges are……. You know – the usual stuff.
Basically, you need to uncover and assess critical information that you can use to tailor your answers. Some of the golden nuggets that you unearth might be be worth weaving into your responses to show the human that you have done your homework, since the AI system won’t necessarily know what you’re talking about (unless that information was programmed into it).
Because this is an AI interview and the system is using algorithms to analyze how well your answers address the questions, you should identify the important keywords and make sure to include them.
Keywords are things like the target job title, your supporting qualifications, as well as the desired solutions and business outcomes that the employer is seeking.
You can find the keywords in the job description, the company website, and even the Linkedin business page.
Don’t let your guard down
Just because you’re NOT talking to the actual human doesn’t mean that it’s not an important meeting.
It can be tempting to not put as much effort into this kind of interview or not take it seriously but in actual fact, there is a human at the other end who will be scrutinizing your answers.
If you want to get called back for the next meeting, you need to give the AI interview the same (or more) amount of care and attention as the human interview.
When my subscriber told me about her interview experience, my first reaction was that this is a ridiculous way to interview someone!
Being someone who actually values human interaction and has built a business around it (go figure!), I still have reservations about the whole AI thing, but I agree (but very reluctantly) that are some advantages.
You can do the interview in the comfort of your own home when you have the time. That way, you can avoid the time and cost of transportation, taking time off your current job or sneaking out to the parking lot to do the meeting.
It also allows the recruiters and hiring managers to review the answers on their own time when they’re not rushed.
It reduces biases
Unlike humans who are subject to unconscious biases, the computer doesn’t care about your sex, age, ethnicity or anything else that is often used to weed people in or out of the process.
Allegedly, many companies have reported that their hires have become much more “diverse”.
It saves time
Because the process makes it easier to interview more candidates within a shorter time period, the company will be able to hire more, great candidates before the competition grabs them, assuming the competition isn’t using AI hiring technology.
As this AI interviewing system becomes more commonplace, more candidates will have the ability to interview with more companies in a shorter time period which should help them land the job faster – at least theoretically.
It’s kinda creepy that your facial expressions would be uber-scrutinized to determine your emotions and how “fit” you are for the job.
While humans do react to facial expressions, they don’t do it to the micro-degree that the computer would which could put a lot of people at a severe disadvantage.
For instance, what if you have a facial disfigurement, scarring, or a prominent tattoo? The human might not have a problem with it, but the computer might read it as a negative thing.
What if you had a fight with your spouse and your face looks a little more stressed than usual? The human might not pick up on it, but the computer could analyze it and reject you for not being “positive” or “happy” enough.
It misses the context
The thing is, in an interview where there’s a human, you would have the opportunity to give them a heads up that “I just had root canal surgery, so forgive me if I don’t smile a lot”
“I narrowly missed getting into a serious accident on my way here, so I’m a little rattled and amazed I got here in one piece”
“Wow, this allergy season is killer. My head’s going to explode and I can’t believe how puffy my face is”.
It lacks the exchange of energy
The lack of the human contact and interaction can put the candidate in an awkward situation.
There’s no way to “read” the interviewer and assess how well they’re answering the question.
There’s also no opportunity to get further clarification about the question or ask if the interviewer would like the candidate to further elaborate on their answer.
I can see where an AI-driven interviewing process can be beneficial if the company has a large amount of hiring to do.
Maybe it will actually move the process along faster, which is good news for the candidate. It could also offer more convenience for both parties.
However, the fact that the system is reading every human emotion might cause many candidates to blow the interview.
Maybe they didn’t display enough enthusiasm for the job or appeared to be misleading when the actual problem was that they had a blinding headache that affected their facial expressions, body language, speech, and their answers.
Also, if you’re not comfortable with technology, have internet/computer connectivity issues, or just hate being videotaped, this kind of interview could put you at a disadvantage.
Just go for it!
If you are required to go thorough an AI interview, my advice is to just get over whatever negative feelings you have about it and just do it. You probably won’t have a choice, anyways.
Even if you are presented with the option to do the traditional interview, I would advise that you go with the AI interview. The employer’s offer could be a “test” to see how comfortable you are with technology, how flexible/adaptable you are, or even how willing you are to get a bit uncomfortable.
Prepare and practice
The best way to increase your success rate is to prepare as much as you can.
Practice answering a bunch of interview questions in front of your computer and record yourself doing this. This will help you get more used to talking to your computer screen and not an actual human.
Next, play back your responses and see where you might be able to make improvements to your speech and facial expressions.
I guess at the end of the day, the more prepared you are and the better you are at “acting”, the more likely you will pass the AI interview.
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I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.
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