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Interview Prep Tips

Answer any HireVue question

Introduction

HireVue interviews might seem very intimidating at first and many job applicants desperately search around Google for “(company name) HireVue questions” in a futile attempt to find what’s going to be asked and then memorize answers.

Well, I’m here to tell you that is possibly the worst way to prep for a HireVue!

Questions on any companies HireVue are almost always going to follow a very predictable pattern.  Let’s find out how you can decode this pattern and answer any HireVue question.

After reading this article, if you want to practice answering HireVue questions, Voomer is a great free resource.

Step 1 – Research competencies

If you aren’t sure what competencies are, they are the skills and knowledge that you apply to certain situations.

For example, a classic competency many companies want in their hires is customer focus.  Another is thinking with data.  This website lists several competencies in case you want to look at more examples.

The best place to find out what competencies the company you are applying to is interested in, is to visit the organization’s website.  Almost all organizations have an “about us” section.  If you read between the lines you’ll find the competencies they care most about staring you right in the face.

So if a company talks a lot about how they work in a very volatile industry – a competency they will be looking for is adaptability.  If they talk a lot about people and teamwork, you’ll definitively be probed on competencies related to dealing with people – from leadership to training others.

Sometimes, an organization will be really helpful and just flat out mention on the website what are the competencies they are interested in.

To wrap up this first step – write down all the competencies you can identify in the organization you are applying to.

Step 2 – Prepare for behavioral questions

HireVue can’t read the resumes of every person that applies to a job at a given organization and ask personalized questions – they have to standardize.

The way they do that is by asking behavioral questions using the competencies you found out step 1 as a guide!

Even if you don’t know what behavioral questions are – I’m pretty sure you’ve answered a few at some point.  

For example, “tell me about a time you had to deal with an angry customer”.  Or “tell me about a time you had to train someone”.

The first question draws on the “customer service” competency and the second one draws on the “enabling others” competency.  See how step 1 was important?

So now we know what type of questions will be asked and the subject of those questions.

An important note about behavioral questions

Before we move onto step 3, notice something about those behavioral questions above: They all ask about your past behavior, require concrete examples and ask about what you did.  Not your supervisor, not your teammate, what you did.

So when shortlisting examples to use when HireVue asks you about a certain competency, make sure to think about concrete examples where you were the person driving the narrative – not someone else.

They don’t care about what your supervisor or teammate did – they are hiring you, not them!

Step 3 – Learn the CAR method

The CAR method is a great way to organize your thoughts when answering any HireVue Question.

“C” stands for “context”.  What was the situation you faced: Did a customer send you an angry email about a missed deliverable?  Did you have an underperforming teammate that affected your work?  

Layout that context in a couple of sentences so that HireVue’s AI or the person viewing your video understands the scene.

“A” stands for “action”.  What did you do to solve the issues you laid out in the previous point?  Did you go above and beyond to try and get the customer what they needed?  Did you layout a development plan for that underperforming customer?

Remember, talk about what you did – not anyone else.

“R” stands for “results”.  This is the logical conclusion to the two previous steps.  What happened to the context after you sprang to action?  Did the customer actually get what they needed?  Did your teammate improve?


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Remember that if you did not get a stellar result with your actions, you can always talk a bit about the lessons learned, and what you changed in your behavior after going through all that.  This is also very valuable on a HireVue!

Conclusion

If you walk through the 3 steps I outlined above, you’ll be able to confidently answer any HireVue question.  

If you want to practice answering those questions on a platform that simulates many aspects of the HireVue experience, you can start for free at Voomer, where you’ll get AI-powered feedback on your answers!

Get those reps in and get that dream job!  

Good luck with your interview!  If you have any other questions or comments, please reach me at [email protected]

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

How to prepare for a recorded video interview

Introduction

Recorded video interviews are quickly becoming the norm when assessing people for jobs and university programs whether that is through Kira, HireVue, or another platform. COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend so it is worthwhile learning how to get ready for a video interview in a way that you look great and minimize things that might distract or irritate your interviewer.

In this article we take a look at how you can either spend a lot of money getting ready for the interview or just hack something together with what you have laying around at home!

Camera angle

Your camera should be level with your face when interviewing on video.  You don’t want the camera too high or too low – its not like the interviewer is interested in getting a great look at your chin and neck!

Expensive solution: Adjustable tables for laptops or even standing desks are all the rage today since people are mostly working from home and need to improve ergonomics.  But the mechanisms on those tables or stands that adjust your computer will also adjust the height of the camera.

Free solution: Books, catalogs, boxes – you name it!  Anything that is flat and relatively solid that will hold you laptop or camera up is more than enough.  Just stack them up until the camera is slightly below your eye level when you are sitting comfortably and you are good to go!  

Lighting

This is an extraordinarily important issue that, sadly, most people don’t address properly.  The whole point of the video interview is to facilitate a better connection between you and the interviewer.  If your face is dimly lit, how will the interviewer be able to see your face and body language?  

Expensive solution: With the increasing popularity of streaming, there are several specialized lighting options available for video calls – from LED panels to ring lights and beyond.  For a truly professional set up, you’ll need three separate lights to be able to set up a three point lighting arrangement – though you’ll probably have to spend hundreds of dollars to achieve that.

Free solution: If you have a desk lamp or two – you are set!  What most people don’t realize is that what matters most is not the type of lighting you use but how you position those lamps.  Place them behind your camera pointing at you.  If the light is particularly intense, angle the light away from you so it bounces off something before reflecting onto your face.  

Place a light behind your camera.

Background

Interviewers are humans, and they will make snap judgements on you based on what is behind you.  Despite working from home (and maybe even from your bedroom or kitchen!) being widely accepted, your background can be distracting to the interviewer, therefore it is worthwhile putting some thought into it.

Expensive solution: A solution that would solve this problem is to buy a photography grade backdrop and stands to prop that up.  This would provide a studio look to your background but comes at a steep price and takes up a lot of room.    

Free solution: Just tidy up your background!  Admissions and hiring staff we’ve talked to have uniformly told us that going on an interview from home is perfectly acceptable – especially given COVID-19.  The caveat is that they expect it to be organized.  If you don’t want to give a stranger a view of your room, move so that the camera is pointing at a bare wall.

Eye contact

Eye contact is absolutely key in face to face interviews and it is as important in a video interview.  However, many people forget that your camera and your screen are in different locations – so while you look at your screen, you are no longer making eye contact with the interviewer.  You don’t need to look at the camera during the entire interview, but make sure to do so when mentioning something particularly important.

Expensive solution: There really isn’t a fancy solution to this problem!  Take a look at the solution below that solves the eye contact issue.

Free solution: If you don’t know where the camera on your computer is located, the first step is to find out where is the camera lens.  That can be easily accomplished by opening the camera app and running your fingers around the edge of your laptop’s screen until you can see your fingers.  After that, one of the most effective hacks we’ve seen is to simply stick an arrow pointing to the camera – or if you want to be less dramatic – eyes!

Audio quality – quiet, no echos, mic

Last but not least, audio quality.  If everything I’ve listed above is set up properly, but your audio quality is sub-par, the person interviewing you will still have a hard time engaging with your responses.  This is probably the easiest item on the list that you can fix, but most people overlook it.

Expensive solution: Dedicated external microphones will make you sound far better – sometimes even better than in real life!  Spending around $150 on a dedicated, external microphone from a well known brand will guarantee that you will sound great on calls for many years and therefore might we worth the investment.  

Free or inexpensive solution: The first step is to make sure everyone in the place you are recording is quiet!  Even low quality microphones can pic up the sounds of someone in the kitchen washing the dishes, or listening to music in the adjacent room.  The second step is buying a cheap microphone, a $15 or $20 lapel microphone will improve how you sound dramatically versus your camera’s or laptop’s integrated microphone.  Like I mention with the expensive solution above, that microphone can be used and re-used over many years, so it is definitively worth the investment.

interview tip move to a quiet location
We know it can be hard, but try do your interview somewhere quiet!

Conclusion

Your surroundings and the way you come across are as important as the content of your answers on a video interview.  Make sure to be aware of the different ways an interviewer may be assessing you and think of ways to present yourself in a manner that increases engagement with the interviewer as much as possible.

Voomer is an AI-powered interview platform built by AI researchers from the MIT Media lab that allows you to prep for your interview on your own time, as many times as you like.

Check out Voomer and start prepping for free today!