As someone with 20 years experience in graduate recruitment and careers work I can honestly never remember a time when there has been so much change in the tools that recruiters are using to select candidates.  The days of a single, face to face interview are almost behind us as more and more recruiters look to use sophisticated technology-driven methods, with associated pros and cons for candidates.

A recent graduate recruitment survey showed that 53% of members now use video interviews to screen candidates, up from just 6% five years ago. (AGR 2017). It looks like they’re here to stay, so understanding how they work and preparing for them is vital for success in the highly competitive graduate recruitment marketplace.

Here one of our career consultants, Claire, who also has considerable experience as a graduate recruiter and coach, shares her insights into the changing world of the video interview.

Why are employers using video interviews?
Using a VI as a first-round screener for graduate entry positions saves companies time and money. Many more people can be initially assessed much more quickly, allowing the company to progress with the stronger candidates more quickly. Also, by removing humans from the selection process it helps to eliminate human bias from the selection decision. This type of interview is meant to focus more on potential, than competency interviews, which look at previous experience as a predictor of success.

What are the main types of video interview?
There are different types of video interviews, some are live through Skype and FaceTime, and others are recorded one-way processes, where you are given pre-recorded questions and have a limited amount of time to record your answers. Once you start the interview, you cannot rewind or check your answers. Answers are then viewed and evaluated by assessors at a later time. Assessors tend to review batches of recorded interviews at the same time, which has obvious cost-saving implications. Providers of this kind of video interview include Sonru, LaunchPad, HireVue and SparkHire. Leading clients include Royal Mail, Rolls Royce, Cargill, PepsiCo, DHL, Schroders, Virgin Media, AXA, Microsoft, GSK and Lloyds Bank.

How is artificial intelligence used in screening?
One video interview provider, HireVue, has recently introduced artificial intelligence to assess video interviews through their new product, HireVue Insights. This product uses AI to analyse word choice, tone, body language and facial movements of interviewees. According to HireVue, responses in video interviews are full of data. The content of the verbal response, intonation, and nonverbal communication are just a few of the 25,000 data points collected. These data points are analysed by HireVue’s proprietary machine learning algorithms to accurately predict a potential employee’s skills, fit and future job performance. HireVue clients include Unilever, IBM, Vodafone, Goldman Sachs, J P Morgan and Morgan Stanley.  HireVue’s predictive analytics have learned from responses of applicants who have taken digital interviews previously. Companies have also provided sample interviews of top performing employees to help create normative comparison groups. The AI identifies successful traits and then looks for them in candidates.

So what can I do to prepare for this type of video interview?
In many ways you should prepare for this interview in the same way as you would for other video interviews. However, in particular you should think of your choice of language and breadth of vocabulary. How often you pause and how much eye contact you make. Think of your tone and pace – sound enthusiastic and smile when appropriate. Why not look at videos of successful employees on company graduate websites and see how they speak and behave. Can you replicate some of this in your interview?

What other things can I do to be as prepared as possible?

  • Record yourself first on your phone where you plan to be interviewed, or use skype to see what background/lighting is best for you.
  • Rehearse to get your timings right. Video interviews typically give you a limited time to think of your answer (maybe 20 seconds), then a minute or so to provide your answer. There is usually a timer on the screen counting down how much time you have left to answer. Try and find out much time you will have to give your answer, and then record yourself practising answers on your phone. See how long you take and rehearse getting the timings accurate. This will make the timer less of a distraction.
  • Use free practice tests. A great preparation tip is to download and use some of the free practice tests available online.
  • Make eye contact. Be aware of where your camera is and look at it as much as you would do to a person in a real interview. It is tempting to put notes next to your laptop, but many people then spend a lot of time glancing at them rather than trying to maintain eye contact with the camera.”

There are obvious limitations with these technologies but it looks as if the trend is here to stay.  We expect that more and more companies will start to use this technology in their recruitment processes, so it’s important that you are aware of the type of video interview you’ll be having and prepare accordingly. Don’t forget you can talk to a careers consultant if you have a video or any other type of interview coming up. Book your appointment or practice interview on CareerHub.

Best of luck!