Interview Tips for Job Seekers in a World of Changing Technology
New technology is changing the way we search, apply, and interview for jobs. It can be intimidating, but let’s take a closer look at some of these changes so you’ll feel ready for your next interview.
We know many job interviews are now done virtually, but this might not be the phone or videoconference call you’ve come to expect. There are also interviews done through chat, interviews with recorded video questions and/or answers, and even interviews with AI (Artificial Intelligence).
It seems like a lot, right? Don’t worry—you’ll soon see there are key ways to prepare for a virtual interview in any format.
Find out the format
The first step is to confirm the interview format and details. It could be a live video call with a person, in an online version of the more traditional in-person interview. There are phone interviews without the video, and there are text-based chats. Find out what software/platform they’ll be using (Zoom, Skype, Teams, etc.). And don’t forget to check the time zone for the call—is it 8 a.m. where you are, or where the interviewer is?
Maybe this isn’t even a live interview: you could get written questions or a pre-recorded video, and submit your written or video responses. You might find you’re interacting with AI in a live video or chat format, or in the assessment of your recorded responses.
Plan, prepare, and practice
You can plan ahead for any kind of interview you might encounter. Do a test videoconference interview with someone you know, and record it to review for yourself later. Try the videoconference format with the interviewer’s video off, so you’re facing a blank screen. Record yourself in video without an interviewer. Practicing these skills will have you feeling more confident in any interview situation, and into the workplace.
Prepare concise written responses about yourself and your experience. Think of this as a “bullet notes” version of your resume, briefly summarizing your relevant skills and achievements. Shorter sentences are more engaging in a text chat, phone call, and on video, so practice sharing this information out loud in a clear, confident voice, and at a moderate pace. You’ll want to avoid long notes or a script, or you’ll sound rehearsed and won’t be able to maintain eye contact (more on this later).
Whether your interview is phone, video, chat or in writing, keywords are…key. Incorporate keywords from the job description into your prepared notes. Just make sure you understand what they mean and how to use them in a sentence! These are especially important for interactions with AI, which evaluates candidates based on the words used, as well as nonverbal cues in a video format.
Nonverbal cues count
With a virtual interview, you’ll want to consider a few other things to make a good impression. You’ll need a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted: turn off call-waiting (a phone interview), notifications, and alarms.
Ideally, you’ll be facing natural light or have lighting in front of you, since lighting from behind, above, or the side can make it harder to see you. Your device should be on a stable surface at a height and distance that shows your face and shoulders. The background should be neutral and professional. Virtual backgrounds are sometimes necessary, but should be avoided if possible, since they can be distracting.
Dress professionally, the way you would for an in-person interview, even if they can’t see your whole outfit. This helps project confidence, and avoids any unexpected and embarrassing situations. It’s best to avoid clothing with busy patterns. Practice sitting in an engaged and active way, with good, comfortable posture—you don’t want to appear stiff or uncomfortable, but avoid slouching, leaning, or resting your elbows.
So let’s talk about eye contact. This is just as important in virtual settings (except of course with text-based interviews), but can be extra challenging through the camera. In a video call, you’ll naturally look at the person you see on the screen—but remember, they want to see your eyes! Practice looking directly into the camera, sometimes glancing away so you aren’t staring too intently. Record a test interview to see how this works. It helps to have a photo of a familiar face next to your camera for more natural eye contact and engagement.
Acting natural with artificial intelligence
For a lot of what we’ve discussed, you might have imagined yourself in a videoconference format with another person. So how does this work with the increasingly-popular use of AI software?
If you have an interview, your written application has already passed the test with what is likely AI software reviewing your resume for specific keywords and experience. AI might then be used for further screening, in the form of assessments or conversational chatbots, before direct engagement with the (human) interviewer.
Preparing for a written interview with a text-based chatbot is similar to preparing for a live chat with a human. An AI chatbot is guiding you through a series of prepared questions or tasks and reviewing your responses. Take the time to carefully read the question and your answer before typing into the chat. Have pre-written short notes ready for easy copy/paste/rewrite where relevant: information about the company’s values and the job description, answers to common interview questions, and questions to ask about the role.
You’ll want to use concise sentences and relevant keywords from the job description, and review your notes for spelling and grammar ahead of time. Emojis and popular abbreviations should rarely (if ever) be used—this isn’t the place to LOL or wink, even if you’re trying to appear more lively and engaged.
Recording for accurate assessment
There’s also the possibility of a video interview, with AI assessment technology analyzing your recorded responses based on verbal and nonverbal cues. You receive questions on the interview platform and record your video response within the set amount of time (you might even be able to record a few times before submitting your final response).
Prepare like you would for a live video interview: test your technology (audio/video); wear full professional attire; ensure effective lighting and an appropriate background; have pre-written short notes about your experience and responses to common questions; and thoroughly research the company’s values and job expectations.
Your tone of voice, posture, eye contact (with the camera) and positive facial expressions are still important, since AI will be looking for these visual cues. Speak clearly, not too quickly or slowly, and keep your answers as concise as possible.
Most importantly—don’t forget those keywords! The AI will have programmed guidelines to evaluate your responses. You can even search online for demo versions of AI video interviews to practice this unfamiliar form of interview.
Ready, set, interview!
There will always be some variation to these interview formats, and new AI technologies will likely enhance the existing interview process. Only now you’re able to build on these same core principles to prepare for an interview in any format.
Sources for more information:
“15 Tips for Acing an Online Job Interview” https://online.jwu.edu/blog/15-tips-acing-online-job-interview
“Top Tips For Virtual Interviews in 2023,” Interview Joy (February 2023), https://interviewjoy.com/top-tips-for-virtual-interviews-in-2023/
“How to Ace Your Phone or Online Interview,” https://alis.alberta.ca/look-for-work/interviews-and-offers/how-to-ace-your-phone-or-online-interview/
“Talent Pool Resume Webinar – Ace the Interview” (virtual Interview content begins at 17:30:00) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLE7Qu0OXHA
“Mastering Your AI Interview: 10 Tips for Success” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mastering-your-ai-interview-10-tips-success-talentfoot/
“Your Next Job Interview Might Be with AI. Here’s How to Ace It” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ai-job-interview-tips-to-prepare-artificial-intelligence/
“AI Interviews: What They Are and How They Work” https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/ai-interviews-what-they-are-and-how-they-work/