How To Ace Your Interview With AI

You'll Have To Prepare Differently. Here's How

Jun 05, 2019
Management
Marketing

SMITH BRAIN TRUST  Think a human is reviewing your video interview? Think again. If you’re job-interviewing with a large company, chances are you’ll have to interact with artificial intelligence (AI) before ever interviewing with a human. So, what’s the best way to win over your AI interviewer and land the job of your dreams?

Yajin Wang, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, has a few tips. Wang spent the early part of her career as a broadcast journalist. She shares how being good on camera can help when a set of algorithms are watching your every move.

How to know you’re interviewing with AI

If you are invited to a pre-recorded, video interview through a platform, such as HireVue, pay attention. This is likely a robot interview. AI, or algorithm-based interviews, are used by many large employers. These interviews allow companies such as Hilton, Under Armor, BASF, UnitedHealth Group, and the U.S. Postal Service to interview large numbers of potential candidates more efficiently than they otherwise could. Instead of scheduling phone screens with 10 potential candidates, for example, AI-enabled hiring software can quickly scan interviews with hundreds of applicants.

Prepare for the interview differently

When interviewing with a robot, you need to prepare differently, says Wang. “You won’t have feedback when you talk to a camera, so you’ll have to consider what your audience values.” That means considering what AI is looking for.

AI scans content; it isn’t able to infer what you might be implying. So be direct. Robots compare you against existing success stories; they don’t look for out-of-the-box candidates. Keep this in mind, so you can highlight your uniqueness while operating within the confines of AI interviewing.

Hiring software also listens for things like vocal tone and keywords that match the company’s job description. It watches facial expressions such as smiling. Remember that AI places an increased emphasis on how you say things – not just what you say. The software will compare your performance with the performance patterns of past job applicants who are viewed as desirable employees. It will use the inputs it gathers to rank you against the company’s ideal candidate profile.

Remember to smile, nod and use keywords

Ace an AI interview by incorporating keywords and phrases that explain what you can contribute, echoing the exact language of the job posting. Use gestures, smile and nod frequently. It can feel strange to do this without a human responding on the other end. But practice makes perfect. Take advantage of the rehearsal questions most AI hiring platforms provide prior to the interview. Or, practice by recording yourself. Play the video back to see where you can improve, says Wang. You may notice that you repeat a phrase a lot, or that the horizontal movement of your eyes gives away that you’re reading notes off-screen – that could be detrimental if your interview makes it past the AI to a human reviewer.

Don’t forget the basics

Don’t forget to follow basic video interview protocol, such as researching the company in advance, choosing a professional background and wearing interview-appropriate clothing. “The better you know your subject matter and what you want to say,” says Wang, “the more likely you will be to make a good impression.”

Make a human connection

Human referrals are still the best way to advance your career prospects. AI or not, don’t overlook this important step. Alert the company to the existence of your candidacy – and your pre-recorded video interview – by making a human-to-human connection.

Correction: An earlier version of this article inaccurately listed Spark Hire as a hiring platform that uses artificial intelligence.

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About the Expert(s)

Professor Wang received her Ph.D. in Marketing from the Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota in 2015. Her research focuses on luxury brands and conspicuous consumption, and social/ interpersonal influence on consumer's behavior. Her research has been published in Journal of Consumer Research and Psychological Science, and has been covered in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, BBC News, FOX News, and CNN. She teaches consumer behavior in the undergraduate program.