They’re not new by any means, but a lot of people still balk at the thought of a HireVue interview. The reputation of the digital interviews precedes them. There’s no human being, just an impersonal screen backed by an AI which will decide whether you make it through to the next stage.
eFinancialCareers sat down with Tom Cornell, a senior organizational psychology consultant for HireVue, to see what candidates can expect from this unique type of interview.
Are they going to use AI on my face?
The first thing you need to know is that a HireVue interview is probably not what you expect it to be. The infamous facial tic analysis, for example, no longer happens, and it hasn’t for some years.
What is analyzed? “Language,” Cornell says, “the words the candidates use. Nothing from the video,” nor even “intonation of voice, or gaps in speech. None of that is being scored.”
Less than 30% of the interviews they operate involve any analysis, which is done by AI, and a final decision is made by a human anyway. “It’s mostly used as a prioritization tool,” Cornell says – it’ll essentially put your CV or interview at the top of the pile for the recruiter to check.
If you do have an interview involving that sort of analysis, you will be informed of it – they’re called “interview assessments”, Cornell says. You’ll also be told if a person or a program is assessing you.
You can also choose when you do the interview – with a window to complete in, meaning you won’t have awful sleep and train delays to look forward to on the day you take the test (unless of course you choose to).
Some organizations, but not all, even let you try the test again if you mess up an answer – Cornell says HireVue advise “one or two attempts to rerecord.” You’ll also probably get around a minute to collect your thoughts so you can answer properly.
What sort of questions do they ask, then?
So, what sort of interviews do HireVue generally run, then? There are two types, Cornell says: motivational or “fit” questions – “introduce yourself, why this role, why us?” – and relatively standard competency questions such as “tell us about a time you did x” or “imagine you’re asked to do y”, although the latter is advised against by HireVue as neurodiverse applicants struggle with the format.
Cornell also advises you to prepare beyond just generic competency answers – you have to tailor your answers for the company and role you’re applying for. “One role might have problem-solving and relationship building. Another one might have questions on team orientation and their willingness to learn,” he says.
“The key thing is the same as in any other interview – preparation… You can tell when someone hasn’t prepared and put some time into being ready for that interview.” Cornell points out that a strong focus on answering the question – as well as answering it with a thought to what the hiring organization wants – is key.
How does HireVue decide whether you get hired? What happens next?
HireVue interviews tend to be at the start of an application process, Tom says, though not always. “Different organisations might use [HireVue] slightly differently.”
HireVue take what you’ve said and analyses it in comparison to the sort of profile that companies want for that particular role and essentially prioritises it for the company in question to look at.
So you don’t really “fail” an interview in the sense that your application is discarded, but more along the lines that it’s put at the bottom of a big, big, pile. “So,” Cornell says, banks see it a candidate list as: “of these 100 people, who should I start with? Rather than who was the first to apply.” This explains why some candidates complain they haven’t heard back months after their Hirevue interview took place.
You should expect to hear back from firms about as quickly as you’d hear back from them anyway. If you performed well in your HireVue interview, they’ll want to get back to you. Whether they contact all applicants at the same time or not depends on the organization.
Do I have a chance?
The number of “approvals” by HireVue for the next stage of interviews also varies. Cornell puts the number between 60% and 75%, although he stresses that it depends on both the role applied for and the stage within the interview process.
Whether you get feedback on your interview or not is up to the organisation, although HireVue does recommend strongly to all the organisations it works with to provide feedback for applicants.
So, to sum it up: prepare your competency question answers, do background research on where you’re applying, and no need to stress.
Pretty much the same as any other interview, then.
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