Artifical Intelligence (AI) is now being used to further refine the pre-recorded interview process. It’s not surprising, since the last decade or so, pre-recorded video interviews have become an efficient and established initial step for employers of larger organisations to eliminate unsuitable candidates relatively early on in the process. The advantages are obvious; pre-recorded video interviews allow employers to potentially screen many more applicants, permit flexibility in interview times for both the candidate and employer, and reduce both the cost and time taken for hiring new employees. It’s estimated that around half of employers now use pre-recorded videos as an initial screening process, and given its popularity. But as with most new technology, AI video interviews have provoked controversy, with some fearing that the practice can result in biased evaluation of applicants, and criticising the lack of transparency in the process.
What are AI Video Interviews?
In a traditional pre-recorded video interview, the applicant is sent a email link, so that they can complete the interview online from home. When they click on the link to start their interview, a series of questions pops up on their screen, with a time limit to answer the question whilst they are being recorded. On completing the final answer, the recording is sent back to the employer to view, to determine whether the applicant can be progressed to the next stage. AI adds another layer to the assessment process, seemingly using software that can analyse the candidate’s facial expression, tone and enthusiasm, body language and word choice. For example, an algorithm can be used to evaluate a candidate’s empathy or compassion, if these are skills that are particularly relevant to the advertised role, and can be specific enough to detect if the applicant is speaking in the first or third person, or using the past or present tense. However, many of the algorithms behind the technology remain confidential to the designers, and it’s not entirely clear which of, or how, these features are assessed.
How Effective Are AI Video Interviews?
HireVue, designers of AI video interview software, claim that they “follow leading psychological research showing the behaviours, skills, traits, thinking styles and competency that predict success at work”, and that it’s assessments are based on “100% validated science”. Their website states that advantages of incorporating AI into the video interview process include reduction of unconscious bias “by eliminating unreliable and inconsistent variables”, such as looks, resulting in a fairer evaluation of candidates and “more inclusive hiring outcomes”. They do this by evaluating how current employees answer video questions, then seeing how this correlates with answers given by applicants. Critics argue that some candidates may be at a disadvantage in certain industries; for example, in a sector dominated by white males, a woman of colour is likely to be unfairly assessed, and AI may be limiting the candidate pool. Furthermore, facial features and gestures which are recognised by AI can vary widely depending on cultural identities; and how does AI deal with applicants with disabilities? HireVue’s counterargument is that AI assessments are, in fact, increasing diversity because their algorithms do not recognise appearance, ethnicity, or age. Transparency and ethical concerns are another cause for concern. Although some American states have passed laws to make it a legal requirement for employers to give notice to applicants if AI is being used as part of the interview process, there remains little clarity about the legal requirements elsewhere, and little transparency about how the technology is being used.
How to Prepare For An AI Pre-Recorded Video Interview?
The good news is that, despite the somewhat ‘Big Brother’ connotations of this relatively new and controversial technology, the same rules continue to apply for applicants undertaking pre-recorded video interviews, whether AI is used or not. Importantly, check the set-up of your video screen; are you level with the screen so that you maintain good eye contact? Even though there won’t be anyone on the other side, this is important to enable you to build rapport with the interviewer. Can you see both your face and upper body, so that you can show enthusiasm through your body language? Do a trial run with a friend or family member over Zoom or Skype, and record yourself so that you can review these points and make sure that they’re optimal. Another way to build rapport is to smile regularly and appropriately throughout the interview – it helps to connect you with the interviewer and will make them warm to you. And think about your tone and level of enthusiasm, which should be consistent with your facial expressions. If you’re talking about something you enjoy, the pitch of your voice is likely to be higher, you’re likely to be speaking a little faster, and your body language will be more enthusiastic, including smiling and being engaged. AI is likely to pick up on all of these factors, and you can undoubtedly improve both your confidence and chances of success, by practicing and improving your video interview technique.