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Automated Video Interview Tips for Success

by THEA kelley | March 26, 2021

Also known as one-way, asynchronous or AI interviews, automated video interviews are increasingly popular with employers as a cost-effective way to screen candidates. The following automated video interview tips will make you a winner.

The first step is to get familiar with the process, so let’s review how it works.

What is an automated video interview?

It’s an interview where you record your answers rather than talking with a live interviewer. The platforms vary, but typically it goes like this:

  1. First, you log into the application and are given instructions.
  2. You may need to download software.
  3. You’ll then be given the opportunity to do a test run.
  4. When you start the actual interview, you’ll see a question on your screen and you’ll have a limited time to answer it, for example one minute.
  5. When you’ve answered all the questions, you’ll click a button to submit the interview.

Sounds simple, but there are definitely some best practices to follow.

Automated Video Interview Tips:

Read the instructions carefully. I know this sounds obvious, but when you’re nervous it’s easy to start rushing and overlook something.

Take full advantage of the test run / practice session, even if you think you don’t need it. This is a great time to make sure your camera and microphone are working properly, among other things.

After recording your test answer, play it back and identify what worked well and what didn’t. Adjust the volume if necessary, troubleshoot any background noise, and make sure the lighting is as pleasant and flattering as possible.

Pay attention to your body language. Did you look at the camera (to give an impression of eye contact), sit up straight and lean slightly forward (to convey respect and interest), smile now and then? If not, practice again until everything looks good.

Having technical difficulties? Use the “help” feature.

(Hint: If you’ve read my post, “How to Ace a Video Interview,” you’ll have a lot less to worry about during this test run. You’ll understand how to optimize your lighting, attire, cameras, eye contact and microphones.)

Check for a “re-do” option. Before you start the actual interview, notice whether you’re allowed to re-do an answer if you don’t like how it turned out.

Be aware of time limits. When you finally start the interview, you’ll see a question on your screen and you’ll have a limited time to answer it, for example one minute.

What happens to your recorded answers?

Your answers will later be reviewed by human resources staff, or possibly by AI software that can assess your words and facial expressions.

How automated video interviews are more challenging:

For many people, the fact that there’s no live interviewer is the hardest part, for two reasons. First, there’s nobody to ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question. Second, it can be hard to convey interest and enthusiasm through your body language when you’re “talking to a machine.”

It may help to remember that, in a sense, you are actually talking to a person; they just aren’t there yet. Imagine them listening, nodding in approval because they need someone like you.

Is there an advantage for the job seeker?

Certainly. Like any remote interview, it can save you a lot of time and travel. Scheduling is much easier, which is great for job seekers who are employed and/or have children. You’ll also have more time to think about each question before answering it. And being able to delete and re-do an answer is very helpful, as long as you don’t burn yourself out being too perfectionistic.

What are some typical automated video interview questions?

The same as you would expect in any screening interview. For example:

  • Will you please tell us a little about yourself?
  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job? / Why did you leave your most recent job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Tell me about one of your best accomplishments.
  • Tell me about a major mistake you made and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a difficult situation you handled.
  • Tell me how you handled a conflict with a co-worker.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • If selected, how soon could you start?
  • What questions do you have about this role or our company?

Other questions will be specific to the role–e.g., How many direct reports have you managed? or, Do you know Python?–and your background, e.g., Why did you recently change careers?

Can I do an automated video interview on my cell phone?

You may be able to use your phone, although a laptop or desktop computer may make a better impression.

What else do I need to know about how to prepare for an automated video interview?

As with any interview, you’ll have a stronger chance if you research the company and the interviewer, understand what makes you stand out from other candidates, prepare answers to the most common questions and prepare stories that demonstrate your strengths. Also, I recommend you read my two-part post, “12 Tips for a Winning Interview.”

Follow these automated video interview tips and you’ll have an advantage over your competition, many of whom will try to “wing it.” Good luck!

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