Here's everything you need to know about a HireVue interview to beat the algorithm and move on to the next step.

Technology is changing the way we do everything, including applying and interviewing for jobs. More and more companies nowadays utilize applicant tracking systems (ATS), which automatically sort, scan, and rank resumes before they are reviewed by the hiring manager.

But what does that mean for the interview process? Well, recruiting agencies and companies have started deploying on-demand video interviewing software that uses artificial intelligence and ranking algorithms to analyze and score job candidates based on their video responses to a few initial questions. One of these kinds of software is known as HireVue. 

With the interview process evolving, you need to make sure your interviewing skills are keeping up. If you have a HireVue interview in the near future — or just want to stay on top of the latest hiring trends — here's everything you need to know.

What is HireVue? How does it work?

When you hear someone say video interview, you probably think of a Skype interview. However, HireVue is quite different.

For starters, you're not actually interviewing with a real human. Instead, HireVue sends you a series of interview questions you'll answer via video on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You'll have 30 seconds to prepare, then a set time of 90 seconds to three minutes (depending on the question) to record and submit your answer

HireVue then transcribes your answers and issues you a score, which is used to rank you among the other applicants. Now, don't be fooled — HireVue scores more than the words you say. It also analyzes your facial expressions, eye contact and movements, voice inflection, and a number of other data points from the video.

With this tech advancement, companies are using Hirevue to replace initial phone screens and even first-round live interviews. HireVue seems to be a popular hiring tool with big banks and accounting firms, including J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Deloitte. The HireVue website even states Urban Outfitters, Singapore Airlines, and Intel as clients, among hundreds of other companies.

However, not everyone is on board with this new hiring tool. Some argue the technology is superficial and deceptive — that it's not giving qualified candidates a chance if, for example, they speak with little inflection. However, proponents argue HireVue strips gender, age, race, and other biases from the interviewing process.

Either way, the technology is catching on, and even colleges have started offering students resources to help them prepare for their impending HireVue interviews.

What to expect in a HireVue interview

If you've been asked to do a HireVue video interview, you might be feeling a bit nervous. That's natural since this is a new way of interviewing and you haven't had many (if any) chances to practice. Luckily, knowing what you can expect will help

Here's what'll happen: The company you're interviewing with will send you the information you need to get started. You can choose to do your interview on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, as long as your device has a camera, a microphone, and an internet connection. Once you're in the system, you'll fire a setup page, which tells you more about the process and includes a video tutorial.

HireVue also gives you the opportunity to answer practice questions. This part is set up just like a real interview, so you can feel more comfortable with the process — and you have unlimited chances to practice before you move on to the actual interview. However, once you start the actual interview, you won't have a second chance to record your answers. 

Common HireVue interview questions to practice

With more traditional interviews, you'd probably practice with a friend or family member. But for HireVue interviews, consider opening up your phone's camera, putting it in selfie video mode, and hitting the record button.

Now, HireVue uses a structured interviewing style, which means it issues the same set of questions to each candidate in the same order. These questions run the gamut, but the HireVue team published a list of its top five most common interview questions. These include:

  • Tell me a little about yourself.

  • What are your long-term career plans?

  • What made you leave your previous job?

  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.

  • Why do you want to work here?

As you'll see, these are the same common interview questions you'd see in face-to-face live interviews.

If you want to dive a bit deeper, Duke University's economics department surveyed its juniors and seniors to see what questions they were asked during their HireVue interviews. Many of these questions landed in the behavioral interview category, asking about working on a team, making decisions, and facing challenges. Use the STAR method to help you think through answers to these types of questions beforehand.

6 tips to help you prepare for your HireVue interview

The best way to keep your cool during a HireVue interview is to adequately prepare. Yes, you've already practiced answering some of the most common questions, but here are a few tips you'll want to use ahead of your interview:

1. Analyze yourself by recording yourself in selfie mode answering the common questions, noting:

  • Your eye contact with the camera. Instead of staring at yourself on the screen, focus on looking directly into the camera. If you have to, place a sticky note over the part of the screen reflecting your face.

  • Your voice's inflection. You'll want to find a happy medium between sounding overly enthusiastic and deadpan.

  • Your facial expressions. HireVue can score you negatively if you smile too much or come off as overly friendly. This also applies to frowning and looking down.

  • Your verbal tics, such as “uhm” or “like.”

The key is to act natural and confident — not overly rehearsed or fake. It's all about balance.

2. Research the company, the position, and the industry, just like you would for a traditional interview. Familiarize yourself with its products and/or services, and read up on its history and recent news. Follow this pre-interview checklist to ensure you hit all the main points.

3. Dress professionally, just like you would for an in-person interview.

4. Scout out your location. While you're practicing, scout out a location for your video interview. Make sure the background is relatively plain and that the lighting is good. You don't want to be backlit, nor do you want any weird shadows cast over your face.

5. Test your technology. Make sure you have a strong and reliable internet connection, and download the HireVue app if you're using your phone. If you're using your laptop, install the latest version of Adobe Flash before starting. Don't forget to have your charger available, too!

6. Take advantage of the practice questions HireVue offers right before the real interview. These are set up just like the real questions, so you can feel more comfortable with the steps you need to take to record, stop, and submit your answers.

A final word of advice for your HireVue interview

Sure, HireVue might be a newer, less familiar interviewing tool — which can make the whole thing feel a bit scary — but if you adequately prepare for your interview and know what to expect, you will do well. The key is to continue to familiarize yourself with the technology and build your confidence by practicing. The more comfortable you feel, the better you'll score.

Good luck!

Whether you're preparing for a text, video, phone, or in-person interview, get all the practice you need with our professional interview coaches.

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