The job interview is the most significant part of the hiring and selection process. Become familiar with typical interview questions and formats. Being genuine and knowing yourself are increasingly important in job interviews because employers use predictive analytics to evaluate performance, teamwork, and communication competencies. These are becoming nearly as significant as skills and knowledge learned in the classroom.

Practice Questions

  • LinkedIn - Use the practice function called Interview Prep, located within the Jobs tab under “More Resources”.
  • StandOut - Interview questions pertaining to specific occupations. Email the career center to request an invite to this resource.

Succeeding at Video Interviews

Even before social distancing pushed us online, corporations began embracing the ease of video interviews for job candidates. As this practice becomes the new normal, now is the time to prepare for your imminent video interview.

Prepare Your Space

Long before the interview time, make sure you have prepared the ideal setting for your video interivew:

  • No Interruptions: Identify a quiet location in which you will remain uninterrupted by children, pets, or co-workers. The backdrop should be neutral without distraction or clutter. Be careful not to sit in front of a window if there is no equivalent light source in front of you. Otherwise, your face will appear shadowed.
  • Device: Using either a phone or a laptop is fine. What matters is that you are not holding the device; that it is on a steady surface. You might need a tripod. Using earbuds is alright as long as they don’t pick up ambient noise. The camera should be at eye-level so you are not looking downward.
  • Lighting: Use excellent lighting to ensure you are not too dim on camera. To be sure, find a light ring for approximately $30-$40. A less expensive substitute is to place a desk lamp behind your camera device, pointing down. Then, place a white sheet of paper or cloth on the table or keyboard in front of you. This will help to even out the light.
  • Attire: Select appropriate professional attire that shows well under your lighting and looks good with your background. Avoid outfits with linear designs like herringbone or extreme stripes because they can appear to vibrate. Use the NDMYou Suit Closet to find an appropriate business suit.
  • Framing: Flip on your camera and adjust what's visible in-frame behind you to project a highly professional image.

Two Types of Video Interviews

  • Two-way with a live, human interviewer(s).
  • One-way (asynchronous) interview. These are super-efficient recruiting tools, shortening the time-to-hire (a recruiter term) by replacing the traditional phone screen. It is often combined with artificial intelligence to create even more efficiencies and to improve diversity hiring and employee selection for performance factors.

Two-Way vs. One-Way Video Interviews

Two-Way Interviews

Purpose

This interview style simply eliminates the travel to get to an interview. It also provides a visual for a phone screen.

Candidate Orientation

There are no significant differences to the dynamics of a face-to-face interview.

Preparation

Prepare in the same way you would for a traditional interview. Research is needed to know:

  • The interviewer’s background
  • The company’s story
  • Questions that you, as a candidate, will ask at the end of the interview.
  • Behavior-based questions. Practice telling stories that will be fitting as a response to them

Background

Project a highly professional image. The background can be interesting but not distracting.

Software Platforms

  • Set up professional profiles on Skype, Zoom, and GoTo Meeting.
  • Choose a professional looking profile photo as utilized on your LinkedIn profile.

Practice with a Partner

Two days before the interview, practice with a video partner:

  • Confirm they had no trouble finding your profile; all equipment is functioning; they agree that your background and lighting looks professional; your internet speed is adequate to ensure responsive delivery of your video stream on both ends; your attire is appropriate.
  • Practice looking at the camera versus at yourself. Skype, for example, allows you to reduce the size of the incoming video image, and then slide it up to rest just below your video camera. This allows you to better maintain eye contact if you find staring at the camera to feel awkward.
  • Practice answering questions as naturally as you would in a face-to-face interview, making sure that you aren't fixated watching yourself on camera.

Final Checks

One Hour Prior:

  • Log on to your computer and troubleshoot equipment failures, software updates. or connectivity issues.
  • Remind others in the house that you will soon be interviewing. Ask your roommates to avoid using the wi-fi for data intensive needs.
  • Prioritize questions you intend to ask
  • Take another quick glance at the company website as well as the LinkedIn profile of the person(s) interviewing you
  • Flip on lights, double check what's behind you.
  • Put away pets.
  • Slip on your professional attire.
  • Silence all phones, alarms, and if you are at home place a note on your front door.
  • Place your resume and any notes on your stories and preferred metaphors nearby.

Five Minutes Prior

  • Log on to your account so that you are visible to the other party. The time beforehand depends on the service. Webex, for instance, seems to take longer to connect.
  • Keep your (silenced) phone within ‘eye’-shot in case the person interviewing you texts or calls with a change.
  • Take these remaining moments to relax, paying attention to your breath. You've got this.

Starting the Interview

  • Answer the video call immediately, utilizing your video camera and un-muted microphone unless instructed differently ahead of time.
  • Smile confidently greeting your interviewer warmly with enthusiasm, projecting a polished, professional, high-energy image.
  • Sneak a very quick glance at yourself to make sure you are still framed up alright, then check in with your interviewer, asking, "Can you see and hear me alright? Are there any adjustments you would like me to make?"
  • Let the interviewer take the lead, and always remember that typically interviewers typically have a list of questions to cover with all their candidates. You can only be properly evaluated if enough time is allotted for all questions. Therefore, don't waste time telling them about all the technological obstacles you overcame to make this interview happen. Just smile and get on with the interview. You'll get credit for being prepared.

During the Interview

  • Just like in a face-to-face interview, do not fidget, look away, or have your focus diverted elsewhere (only relevant in two-way interviews). Pause briefly after each question before you respond so that you don’t talk over the interviewer. Nod at the interviewer to show you’ve heard the question.
  • If something happens and you do not receive your video call on time, give it just a few minutes and then reach out to your recruiter letting them know that you were prepared, but perhaps something on the other side has gone wrong. Convey politeness and understanding. Let them jump in and orchestrate a solution. If you are dealing directly with the interviewer and have contact information, reach out to them. The same holds true if the video abruptly ends.
  • If during your video interview, the image or audio quality goes down enough to warrant pointing it out, simply say something like, "I'm noticing on my end that the video is lagging. Are you seeing that too? Should we start again?" If they respond yes, be sure to clarify, "You're calling me back, correct?" and then wait for their call. Be patient; as you never know if there's an equipment failure on their end or an unexpected software update caused the problem. If the wait goes on too long, check your texts and email to see if they've reached out on a different platform. If not, consider checking in to let them know you're standing by.

Wrapping Up the Interview

  • As with a face-to-face interview, convey your interest in the job, asking if there are any hesitations on their behalf which you can address, because you would appreciate moving forward in the interview process. After addressing any concerns, ask for their expected timeline for making a decision. Finally, wrap up by thanking them for their time.
  • When the call has ended, be sure to log out of the video software before breaking out of your professional demeanor.
One-Way Interviews

Purpose

The purpose of this interview style is efficiency. A job candidate can complete it when it is convenient. If it is reviewed by a human audience, they can also review it when they prefer.

In AI-based interviews, an algorithm measures personality traits that are matched to a customized candidate profile for each role. These systems gather data on word choice, facial action, and intonality. Typically, the data on word choice is 80% of the input used by the algorithm. HR Departments are professionalizing their function with this technology and reclaiming a central role by digitizing performance factors for each job and improving diversity hiring by removing bias in the hiring managers.

Candidate Orientation

This interview requires a performance whether AI-based or not. (The employer doesn’t always indicate who the audience is.) AI is used to differentiate candidates and requires data inputs to distinguish personality traits.

Preparation

The preparation required is different than a typical interview. The task at hand with a one-way interview is to make meaning in order to influence the invisible audience whether human or AI.

  • Tell stories for behavior-based questions.
  • Use rhetorical devices like metaphors and archetypes
  • Tell bits about your interests

This preparation can also be used in a two-way interview, but there is a higher need in one-way interviews because the candidate is a performer and not responding to the interviewer’s lead.

  • Don’t memorize or over-practice your stories. There is research evidence that indicates a decay in input occurs from over-practicing.
  • Be succinct, specific, and symbolic in your responses.

Background

AI is sometimes not able to distinguish background objects from the main object (the job candidate). Sit against a blank wall to avoid any issues.

Software Platforms

There is nothing to set up. Some of the platforms use an app; Some are browser-based. You will receive instructions when selected.

Final Checks

Pick a time when the house is quiet and the wi-fi is not being used.

  • Flip on lights, double check what's behind you.
  • Put away pets.
  • Slip on your professional attire.
  • Silence all phones, alarms, and if you are at home place a note on your front door.
  • Place your resume and any notes on your stories and preferred metaphors nearby.

Conducting the Interview

Act naturally. You’re performing for an unseen audience. You can use eye contact if you wish but do whatever is natural. Be yourself completely. It’s alright to fidget, look away, and divert your focus. It doesn’t matter. The AI algorithm wants authenticity.

Follow Up for Both Interview Types

While your thoughts are fresh, after an interview, put them down in your notes and get to work on your thank you note(s). Remember, thank you notes are a sample of your business writing, so always run them through grammar check software to ensure you are putting your best foot forward.

If you do not have contact information for those interviewing you, reach out to your recruiter asking them to forward your thanks.