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How to ace a job interview with a robot recruiter


The use of artificial intelligence in job interviews is on the rise, which may sound like a daunting prospect, but experts say there are some ways to ace your first encounter with a robot recruiter. 

Some 70% of the more than 1,500 human resource and recruitment professionals surveyed by LinkedIn in July believed virtual recruiting would become the new standard in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

And while for many firms this could simply mean employers continue conducting interviews via Zoom, the emergence of more AI tools offering to make the process more efficient suggests the demand for robot recruiters may be here to stay.  

So, if you are faced by a robot recruiter in your next interview, experts recommend keeping these tips in mind. 

Body language

For AI hiring tools that analyze body language, Andres Lares, managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute, said that it can initially seem "scary" to interviewees as it's hard to predict exactly what an algorithm picks up on. However, he added that there are common positive body language tips that candidates can use to make a good impression.

He recommended "simple things" like smiling, leaning forward slightly and "lots of eye contact," as well as generally showing more "open mannerisms." 

How interviewees phrase their answers is also key, Lares said, when language is being analyzed. "The 'how you say it' is particularly important, perhaps actually more important than when you're with a real person," he said.

For instance, Lares said AI could interpret the use of phrases like "I think" as more tentative.

"Generally what we have found is a lot of the algorithms are looking for confidence," he explained.

Lares suggested candidates script out what they might want to say for certain answers and roleplay reading it out, so they feel more confident when saying it again in the actual interview, which can help get rid of that tentative phrasing. He recommended weaving in key phrases used in the job description, just as applicants would on their resume.

Taking notes

Kevin Parker, CEO of video interviewing software platform HireVue, told CNBC that job applicants would be well advised to consider taking notes in between answers if, like HireVue, the software allows interviewees to take pauses.

And just like in a face-to-face interview, Parker suggested interviewees use the "STAR" (situation, task, action and result) technique to structure answers for situational questions.

HireVue provides on-demand video interviewing, where an employer can pre-record questions and then send them to job applicants, who record their responses. It also has an algorithm that transcribes and analyzes the answers of candidates to help filter applicants prior to being seen by a recruiter, though Parker stressed that this is only used in one-fifth of its interviews, for those with high volumes of applications.

'Honesty, values and personality'

Lares acknowledged that speaking to a screen in an interview, rather than a real person, could feel "awkward" as candidates can't see how their interviewer is reacting to their answers and there's no opportunity for small talk to get the conversation flowing.

To get rid of some of that initial discomfort, he suggested thinking of story from a past job and to practice re-telling it in front of a camera to get comfortable.

"Getting some of those kinks out early in an unrelated environment can be really helpful," Lares said.

Aida Fazylova is CEO of HR tech startup XOR, which uses AI to automate the earliest stages of hiring like applying, screening and getting scheduled for in-person meetings. 

"If you want to ace your screening interview with AI, I'd recommend a heavy dose of … honesty, values and personality," she said. 

If recording a video, she suggested adding a background that "gives a glimpse into who you are."