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Interview Prep Tips

HireVue Tip #4: Camera Angle

Introduction

A very important part of your HireVue interview is how you present yourself to the viewer – be it a human viewer looking at your recorded answers or HireVue’s AI.

An oft neglected part of this is your camera angle.

Just think of how people usually talk to each other face to face – at eye level right?

However, when sitting at a desk, our laptop cameras as usually below our eye level, so we angle the cameras upwards so that our face can be seen.  The result is that you’ll give HireVue a nice view of your nostrils! That doesn’t help anybody, so lets look into ways to fix this issue and get you that dream job.

After you go through the steps below, try a platform like Voomer to get AI-powered feedback on how you are doing with your camera angle and several other important aspects of your video interview.

Step 1

If using a laptop with an integrated webcam, raise the laptop to eye level by elevating it with books.

Make sure the camera lens is perpendicular to your eyes, you’ll probably have to angle the screen (where most laptop cameras are embedded) a little towards you to get a good angle.

Laptop raised on pile of books
You can use books to raise your camera to eye level

Step 2

If using a cell phone, you also want it at your eye level.

The major difference here is that cell phones don’t really stand up without any independent support, so what you need to do it place it on some sort of cradle.

There are several different ways you can hack together a cell phone stand out of household materials.  You can also just buy one if it makes your life easier.

Using a cell phone stand guarantees your phone will stay put in the correct angle after you’ve raised it to your eye level.

Step 3

Make sure the objects you’ve used to prop up your laptop or cell phone are sturdy!

I’ve seen countless videos where cameras are set on top of flimsy objects and will shake and vibrate as the applicant is recording their videos.  

Viewing a video that is shaky is just as bad as viewing one that has a bad camera angle.  Both usually go hand in hand, so keep an eye out for this issue!

Conclusion and one last tip

Having your camera raised up to your eye level and tilting it forward to be perpendicular to your face is an essential step in your HireVue preparation.  You’ll effectively simulate a conversation at eye level, which will ease the connection you’re trying to build with the person viewing your video.  In the case that the HireVue AI is analyzing your video, this will make it easier for it to analyze your facial expressions and improve your chances at getting that dream job.

Use a platform like Voomer that also uses AI-powered technology to check if your camera angle and stability are good to go for your interview.  On top of that, you’ll get access to hundreds of HireVue style questions, broken down by company and role.  

Start practicing on Voomer for free today!


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Interview Prep Tips

HireVue Tip #3: Audio Quality

Introduction

Good audio quality is absolutely key for a successful HireVue interview.  

You might have the best answers, great delivery and an amazing smile, but if all the person viewing your HireVue answers (or HireVue’s AI reviewing your answers!) can hear is a tinny sounding voice under the whir of your laptop fan, the neighbor’s dogs and echoes – you’re in trouble!

Set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants the moment the first word comes out of your mouth with great audio quality!

Follow the 3 simple steps below and later on find out how good your audio quality is on Voomer, where you can get AI-powered feedback before you do your HireVue interview.  

Step 1

The easiest thing to do is to make sure your microphone is close to your mouth.  

If using a laptop, simply scoot forward or pull the laptop towards you.  If you are using a microphone tethered to your headphones, make sure they are turned towards your mouth – I’ve “heard” several people that submitted videos with their microphones close to their mouths but turned away!  They didn’t sound very good at all!

Avoid that simple mistake and you’ll be better off than most applicants right from the get-go.

Step 2

Consider investing in a stand alone microphone.  

If you follow podcasts or watch Youtube or Twitch you might think that a decent microphone costs hundreds of dollars.  While some do, a $10 lapel microphone will probably be better than your onboard laptop microphone!

Using a stand alone microphone almost guarantees you’ll eliminate some distracting sounds like your laptop fan whirring – and yes, we can hear that!

So consider investing a bit in a microphon – your voice will come across loud and clear!

Step 3

This step is surprisingly simple – but many don’t even think about doing this. Record yourself on your computer (with your external microphone!) BEFORE you fire up your HireVue interview.

This will make it clear to you if you need adjust something in your set up.

Though keep in mind, the thing that might need adjustment can be the environment around you.  

Be aware of any background noise (traffic, dogs barking, etc).  Some people have done their HireVues from the bathroom simply because its was the quietest room in the house!

However, careful with recording in places that are surrounded by hard surfaces (like windows and tiles) since those reflect sound very well and can cause an echo.

Doing a dry run of your HireVue by recording yourself on your computer helps to ensure all of your audio prep is OK and your HireVue answers will come through loud and clear.

Conclusion & final tip

Ensuring your audio is coming across clear and crisply is as important as your answers on the HireVue.  

If you can’t be heard well, the person viewing your answers will be dismissed and HireVue’s AI won’t be able to run its analyses on you – pushing your application to the bottom of the pile.

A great way to check if your set up is working is to practice on Voomer.  You’ll get AI-powered feedback on how you sound and on top of that, you can practice on hundreds of HireVue style questions broken down by company and role.

Increase your chances of landing that dream job by prepping with Voomer!

If you want to see all of the above steps put in practice in video, check out this link on YouTube.


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Interview Prep Tips

HireVue Tip #2: Eye contact

Introduction

Pull up your most recent group selfie.  Notice how most of the people seem to be looking slightly away from the camera.

That’s what happens when you aren’t aware of where the camera actually is and just focus on the image or video being shown back to you!

On a HireVue interview, maintaining a decent amount of eye contact is key to your success – regardless if your video is being assessed by HireVue’s AI or by a human reviewer.

Follow the steps below to ensure you make as much eye contact as possible.  You can also use a platform like Voomer that provides AI-powered feedback on your eye contact when answering questions.

Step 1

Understand where camera is, and look at it!

The first part of that sentence might seem obvious, but you need to REALLY understand where the “selfie cam” on your phone or webcam on your laptop is.

With the camera app open in selfie mode, run your fingers around the bezel of the phone or laptop until you see a finger pop into the screen.  That’s when you’ve found the camera!

Now you have to practice looking at the camera while you deliver your HireVue answers.  That is easier said than done, so take a look at the next two steps.

Step 2

HireVue has a toggle in their recording interface that allows you to switch the video of yourself on or off.

We highly recommend toggling the video off.  Don’t worry, HireVue still has access to your camera and will record your answers just fine.

Turning your video off allows you to do two things.  It focuses your attention on looking at the camera, not at your video.  That will increase the time you look at the camera and therefore the perceived eye contact.

The second thing this does is it avoid you freaking out about pet peeves of yours that honestly don’t matter one bit to the interviewer.  You might be extremely self conscious about something on your face – a bad haircut you just got, a double chin, whatever.  But the truth is that Hirevue’s AI review or the human reviewer just don’t care.

So toggle that camera off and focus on the questions and your answers!

Step 3

Recording your HireVue answers while looking at the camera is not something easy to do.

If you are unable to do that for the duration of all your answers, do the second best thing: Look at the camera when you are mentioning something particularly important on your answer.  

That way you highlight parts of your answer that really matter and drive engagement with the person (or AI!) viewing your answers.

Conclusion

Looking at the camera when doing your HireVue can be very challenging.  Follow the above steps to make sure you are able to look at the camera during most of your answer.

Use a platform like Voomer to get AI-powered feedback on your eye contact skills. You’ll also gain access to hundreds of common Hirevue questions broken down by company and role.

Practicing your HireVue on Voomer will build up your confidence so you can land that dream job!  


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Interview Prep Tips

HireVue Tip #1: Lighting

Introduction

Have you been ever been on a Zoom or FaceTime call and the other person was barely visible due to a lack of light or so backlit you could only see their outline?

Those issues are caused by bad lighting – and it can happen on your HireVue as well!

It doesn’t matter if the company you are applying to uses HireVue’s AI analysis system or only allows humans to review videos – bad lighting can destroy your chances of getting a job in both situations.

This is an extremely easy issue to fix, and it will set you apart from the other applicants before you even open your mouth to answer the first question.

Read on below to find out how, or use a platform like Voomer to get AI-powered feedback on your lighting set up.

Step 1

Make sure your face is well lit by placing lights behind your camera.

This makes sure your facial body language is picked up by HireVue’s AI or the human reviewer quickly – they don’t have to struggle to see whether or not you are smiling or grimacing.

Furthermore, having your face well lit demonstrates to the reviewers that you took the time to plan your HireVue interview in advance and are a serious candidate for the job.

Step 2

Remove or turn off any lights that are in front of the camera.

This prevents overexposing your background – that’s when your background is a very bright white.  Overexposed backgrounds can be very distracting, especially as your camera will usually try to automatically compensate for this and reduce the exposure of the entire frame – which brings the brightness of your face down.  

As we discussed in step 1, the most important issue on your HireVue lighting wise is to have your face well lit!  So a bright background negates that benefit.

Keep in mind that windows and mirror behind you (like in the middle picture below) also can cause your background to be over exposed.

Long story short – no lights behind you!

Step 3

Use as much natural light as possible.

Natural light looks great on anybody and helps to brighten up an environment almost uniformly.  So open up those curtains!

Just keep in mind step 2 above – if your windows are facing the camera, keep the curtains closed or – even better – angle the camera away from the window so you can still use natural light.

Conclusion and bonus tip

Thinking for just a minute about your HireVue lighting will put you ahead of everyone that didn’t think about their lighting set up before even answering the first question.  Believe me when I say that the vast majority of applicants submitting HireVue intervews don’t even realize that lighting is a key deciding factor in whether or not your HireVue interview will be sucessful.

Use a platform like Voomer to check if your lighting is up to scratch.  You’ll get AI-powered feedback on your lighting and recommendations on how to improve it.

On top of that, with Voomer you’ll get access to hundreds of questions asked in HireVue interviews broken down by company and role.  Start practicing for your HireVue interview on Voomer today!


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7 common HireVue questions

Introduction

HireVue interviews can be surprisingly stressful – you’re alone, awkwardly talking to a screen and you don’t get any feedback on your answers.  It’s a very strange experience.

Fortunately, HireVue uses questions that follow a pattern.  Most of the questions you’ll be asked are behavioral questions, and I wrote a blog post about them here.

In this post, the team at Voomer – experts at HireVue prep – break down 7 common HireVue questions.  We hope this helps you land your dream job!

Question 1: Tell me about yourself

This is a classic warm-up question, designed to break the ice.  

However, the person viewing your video also actually wants to hear about you in your own words!

The best way to answer this is to not read off your CV! Many people make that mistake, and if you don’t, you are already ahead of quite a few applicants.

Make sure your answer is an executive summary of yourself and your career.   It doesn’t have to go into details of each job or assignment you had or move in chronological order.  

As long as the interviewer can place your overall career, aspirations, and style quickly, you will have accomplished your goal for this question.

Question 2: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced?

This is the first question of many where we need to challenge the face value of the question.

What’s actually being asked here is “how well do you prioritize?”.

Tough challenges usually involve large, complex, interconnected problems that need to be broken down and solved one at a time – in a particular order!

Do you now see how the question is actually about prioritization?  So when answering, talk about precisely that.  Explain what tough problem you faced, break it down into its main parts, and walk through how you solved the first few steps!

Question 3: Tell me about a time you had to deliver disappointing news

This is another question where we need to take a second look at the question.

The actual question here is “are you proactive?”.

Think about it – what happens when you tell your boss that something bad happened?  Assuming you have or had a good boss, their reply is usually “well, how do we fix it?” or even “great, have you fixed it already?”.

That is the answer that your interviewer is looking for.

So when answering this question make sure to explain how you delivered the bad news but also explain how you were one step ahead and already thought up of a plan to turn things around.

Question 4: Tell me about a time you faced conflict in a team

This question asks about your people skills.  Essentially, how good are you at empathizing with people, identifying potential problems, and bringing them to a resolution.

A classic mistake here where answering this question jumps to something like “I just fired that person”.

While that may be true and necessary, jumping straight to that conclusion won’t get you far with your HireVue. Explain the process that you went through until you reached that point.

Question 5: Tell me about a time you had to explain something complex

This question tests your ability to summarize a complex issue into a simple but powerful message.

If you start answering this question and run out of time because you are still explaining a complex issue using complex language and imagery extensively – guess what!  You are doing it wrong!

Start the answer with the absolute toplines of the problem and how you were able to break the message down to make it easily digestible by your audience.

Question 6: Tell us something that is not on your CV

Applicants should be really happy when this question comes up since there are so many ways that this can be answered that benefit the applicant if they know what they are doing.

The point of this question is twofold.  First, give the candidate the opportunity to talk about something where they feel they have a particularly interesting strength but where none of the preceding questions seemed appropriate.

The second point is to tease out something about the applicant that makes them unique.  There are only so many applications you can go through before they all become a blur, so letting applicants add a little personal color to their HireVue helps to make them more memorable and therefore more likely to be hired.

Question 7: Why do you want this job?

Many people chafe at this question due to its perceived cynicism. While I won’t get into the merits of the question, I will tell you where to direct your energy!

If you can’t think on the spot of a good reason to want this job, think of things about the job, career, or company that appeal to you and would make you “a happy camper”.

This could be customer interaction, fast-paced days, the possibility of travel for work, etc.  

Conclusion and parting tips

These seemingly simple questions have many layers, and now you know how to peel them back!

HireVue interviews can be intimidating and stressful, especially when your dream job rides on acing it.  Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to practice for your HireVue on a tool like Voomer.  You can browse our question database with company-specific questions and practice for them in an environment that is extremely similar to Hirevue’s.  You can also get AI-powered feedback on your answers to help you land that dream job!


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HireVue questions answered: What is not on your CV?

Introduction

HireVue video interviews can sometimes throw a curveball question – but those are actually quite rare.  

Most questions in a HireVue interview follow a pretty predictable pattern and the vast amount of questions apply to a wide variety of industries, roles and seniority levels.  The same applies to similar platforms like Spark Hire or VidCruiter.

In this post, the team at Voomer – experts at HireVue prep – break down one of the most common HireVue interview questions: Tell me something about you that’s not on your CV.

The actual question being asked

Well they sure aren’t hoping you answer what your favorite color is.  What they are getting at with this question is that you might have an interesting story to tell – but it just doesn’t fit into the narrative on your CV or you didn’t have a question on the HireVue interview where it made sense to tell that story.

That’s what’s being asked – tell us something interesting about you that makes you unique.

You should be very happy if this wide open question pops up on your HireVue, as it is a golden opportunity for you to stand out from all the other applicants.

How to answer

The best way to answer this question is to combine two things – a strong competency or great example from your career with your personal life.

You don’t have to give them too much information about your personal life, just enough for the interviewers to quickly understand how unique you are and easily recall your answer when discussing with the hiring team later.

With this answer, you could use the C-A-R answer method – but it isn’t required, only if you are leaning heavily on a results based example from your career.

Example answer

Lets take a look at a short example to illustrate the above section.

During the onboarding program at ACME Corp., I found out that they offered employees some interesting online classes.  Programming caught my eye since I figured that it would help me the most at work.

I worked through the entire programming curriculum and got pretty proficient at it, with some people at work asking me for help with their programming bugs.

Though that is on my CV, the coolest thing I did with my programming knowledge was to automate the fish food dispenser for the aquarium I keep at home.  That way, my fish will be fed on time even when I’m out of the house!

Above we see a simple, straightforward example that follows the C-A-R method and definitively gave made this applicant stand out against the crowd of other applicants.

Common mistakes

I’ve seen this time and time again – some applicants will simply say “nothing” when asked this question.  

That is the worst possible answer.

It shows that you can’t think on your feet.  Everyone has something unique about themselves.  If you can’t quickly think of something unique, talk about one of your passions and how you integrate that into your life.  Chances are it will be something unique – at least to the interviewer!

Conclusion

This question is a great opportunity to score easy points – so take it!  Make sure you think of a strong example beforehand and practice on how to position it in a what that shines a light on how unique and interesting you are.

However, even with a great example memorized, many people stumble when doing their HireVue interviews.  That’s why it makes a lot of sense to practice on a tool like Voomer.  You’ll get asked questions that are extremely similar to your actual HireVue, broken down into company-specific categories.  You’ll also get AI-powered feedback on answers so you can land that dream job!


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HireVue questions answered: Tell me about a tough challenge you faced.

Introduction

Barely anyone enjoys taking a HireVue interview, but they are getting increasing popular with organizations and if you are here, it probably means you have one coming up!

Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to prepare for your upcoming HireVue.  The questions on HireVue interviews tend to follow a pattern – and that pattern applies to almost all industries, roles and seniority levels.  The same applies to other platforms like Spark Hire and VidCruiter.

In this post, the team at Voomer – experts at HireVue prep – break down one of the most common questions on HireVue interviews: Tell me about a tough challenge you faced.

The actual question being asked

As we’ve discussed in our other “common HireVue questions” blog posts, you should not take this question at face value.

Think about a tough challenge you’ve faced.  It was probably something you knew little about, or it was a large, daunting challenge that took time to solve.  What do all those have in common?  A need to break up the challenge into smaller parts and prioritize what you tackle first.

That’s what this question is asking about – your ability to break things down and prioritize.

How to answer “tell me about a tough challenge you faced”

  1. Learn the C-A-R method for answering questions.  That’s Context, Action, Result.  We have a great blog post that explains this method in detail here.
  2. Establish context, set the scene for the interviewer.  Briefly explain what the challenge was.  Try and pick an example for your answer that had multiple issues that were best dealt with in stages.
  3. Show what actions you took.  Explain to your interviewer how you broke up the challenge into smaller, more manageable parts. After that, explain how you decided what task to prioritize and how to tackled the most important tasks.
  4. Finally, explain the results you achieved with the preceding actions. While you could talk about the results of each individual task you mentioned above, the best answer here will discuss the overall results of that big, complex challenge you mentioned in point 2.

Example answer

The example answer below is a short and simple one – pay attention to the structure, not the content.  If you learn the structure, you can apply it to any example you use when answering this question.

My boss asked me to write an article about how to answer a HireVue question.  The problem was, I had no idea how to write one, much less post it on the internet!  

To get around this issue, I searched online for information on HireVue questions, which led me to a shortlist of video interview experts – who I reached out to.  I picked their brain for tips and wrote a great article.  After that, I looked for some videos on how to post an article online.  I found a great step-by-step one and managed to upload the article to the company website.

The article got a ton of views and ranked pretty well on Google.  Not only that, but we helped a lot of people with their HireVue video interviews!

See?  Follow the structure and you’ll have a solid answer.

Watch out

Many people freeze on this question, racking their brains looking for “the absolute toughest challenge” they’ve faced.  

Don’t sweat it – answering with a well thought out structure, keeping calm and staying confident is far more important than finding the perfect example.

Conclusion

Don’t freak out!  This HireVue question won’t be the toughest challenge you’ll ever face.  Just understand what they are really asking you about (how you prioritize) follow the C-A-R structure and you’ll do just fine.

Keep in mind that HireVue interviews can be surprisingly stressful, so consider preparing with a tool like Voomer.  You’ll gain access to company-specific questions, pratice in an environment almost identical to HireVue’s and get AI-powered feedback on your answers so you can land that dream job!


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HireVue questions answered: Tell me about a time you delivered disappointing news

Introduction

HireVue interviews can be intimidating and stressful.  

The good news is that HireVue interviews follow a very predictable pattern and a good amount of questions asked are common to a wide variety of industries, roles and seniority levels.  The same applies to other platforms like Spark Hire or VidCruiter.

In this post, the team at Voomer – experts at HireVue prep – break down one of the most common HireVue interview questions: Tell me about a time you delivered disappointing news.

The actual question being asked

HireVue doesn’t care about how well you are able to let someone down with bad news.  What they are really interested is in how proactive you are.

Think about it – after you tell your manager bad news, their first reaction should be “what do we do about this?”.  Thinking ahead to that point is what will make you stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

How to answer “tell me about a time you delivered disappointing news

  1. Learn the C-A-R method for answering questions.  That’s Context, Action, Result.  We have a great blog post that explains this method in detail here.
  2. Establish context, set the scene for the interviewer.  Briefly explain what bad news you had to deliver and skim over the reasons for that bad news cropping up in the first place.  This is important since that is the hook that will allow you to show your proactivity and initiative in the following steps.
  3. Show what actions you took.  Here I don’t mean just telling the bad news to your manager.  I mean taking a look at the root causes of the bad news and coming up with a plan to turn things around.  Presenting that plan along with the bad news is absolutely critical to demonstrate how proactive you are and how you take the initiative.
  4. Explain the results you achieved with the preceding actions.  If your proposed action plan was implemented and actually brought about hard results, by all means mention them!  

Watch out

The biggest pitfall applicants stumble into with this question is not talking about what they did after they delivered the bad news.  Anyone can deliver bad news, but a strong job applicant is one that thinks one step ahead and delivers solutions and next steps along with the bad news.

Conclusion

This apparently simple question leads many to a simple answer – but don’t be that person!  Look beyond the question and impress the interviewer with your initiative and proactiveness.  

To ensure you ace this question, besides thinking of good examples from your career, make sure you practice answering the question in an environment that is as similar as possible the one you’ll face on your HireVue.  

HireVue interviews can be surprisingly disconcerting, so it makes a lot of sense to prepare for them with a tool like Voomer.  You’ll get asked questions that are extremely similar to the ones you’ll face on your HireVue, broken down into company-specific question banks and you get AI-powered feedback on your performance so you can land that dream job!


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How to answer "introduce yourself" on HireVue

Introduction

While HireVue video interviews are an interesting innovation in the recruitment landscape, the questions asked are decidedly traditional.  

Getting asked to “introduce yourself” (or similarly, “tell me about yourself”) is one of many questions from traditional interviews that has made its way into on-demand interview platforms like HireVue, VidCruiter, and Spark Hire.  

This question is used as an icebreaker on interviews for all sorts of jobs and job levels.

After reading this article, make sure to check out Voomer – where you can practice for your HireVue interview and get AI-powered feedback on your answers.

How to answer the question

The first thing you should do is to resist the temptation to read off your resume or CV.  This is a classic mistake that even seasoned job applicants do.

If your video gets reviewed by a person, they will most likely have your CV in front of them, so listing off all the information already on your CV is pointless.

There are two objectives you want to accomplish when answering this question:

Objective one: Help the interviewer place you

Give the interviewer a “sound bite” of yourself and your career that helps them place you.

Understand that the interviewer might have tens – if not hundreds – of videos to process, so helping your interviewer do their job is an excellent way to get ahead of the competition.  The best way to do that is to summarize your career in a one liner.  

For example:

I’m a sell side M&A analyst that specializes in consumer durable goods. Right now I’m working on improving my programming skills to automate some of my work.  

With that statement, the interviewer has a near-instant and clear understanding of what the applicant is about, and can quickly decide if they are relevant or not to the vacancy at hand.

Objective two: Be memorable

Add something memorable about yourself – especially if your field is highly commoditized.  

For example:

I’m also using those programming skills to hack together an automated fish food dispenser for my aquarium!

As someone who’s worked with recruitment, believe me when I say it helps a lot to be memorable in your interviews.  At a consensus meeting, that second example above will help all involved to rapidly identify you (maybe even as “the fish guy!”). If everyone can remember who you are, you are more than halfway towards landing that job.

Make sure you practice your answers in an environment that is as similar to HireVue’s as possible.  Use a platform like Voomer to hone your answers and get AI-powered feedback on your answers.

The (sort of) exception

Sometimes, this question will be phrased in a slightly deceiving way: “Walk me through your resume”.

This question asks you directly for what is on your resume and therefore, you have to answer the question or else you’ll risk being dropped for not following instructions.


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However, before you dive into your resume, opening with an executive summary along the lines of what I described in the previous section will help your application tremendously.  So make sure you have that introductory soundbite ready!

Conclusion

This question can be deceiving in its simplicity.  Keep in mind that you want to tick off the two objectives I mentioned above to ensure that you are quickly placed by the interviewer among all the applicants and that you are a memorable candidate.

After coming up with some ideas of your own on how to answer this question, make sure you practice answering.  A HireVue interview can surprise you with the amount of stress they cause and you might miss the chance of landing that dream job.

Use a tool like Voomer to practice your HireVue in an environment that is as close as possible to the real thing.  You can also practice on our extensive company-specific question database and get AI feedback on your answers, so you land that dream job!