Did you know that many interviews, especially those in the private sector, are being conducted by robots (officially, artificial intelligence or AI)? If you haven’t been interviewed by AI yet, it is likely that you will be in the not-too-distant future. The pandemic and remote working has only sped up the inevitable.

Why is AI being used to conduct interviews?
• It’s cheaper for companies and organizations than interviewing candidates in person.
• It allows candidates to pick the time for the interview without being confined to traditional work hours.
• It facilitates skills testing and evaluation (online assessments, etc.)
• It saves time for both organizations and applicants.
• It allows recruiters to better sort through hundreds (or even thousands) of applicants.

What are some of the challenges with AI interviews?
• AI is programmed by people and people can inadvertently program their biases into AI.
• It removes the “human factor” from interviews—this can be both good and bad.
• It is hard for applicants to interact and make a connection with a screen.
• AI is still developing and there is no common industry standard. Some systems are better / easier to use / less biased than others.
• It does not predict “fit” or those who might be late bloomers.

How to prepare for an AI interview
• Identify key words from the posting; you’ll need to use them throughout the interview. The interviewing “scoring” is likely “listening” for those key words.
• Make sure you’re comfortable with technology and you’re using an updated browser; check your background, find a room with good lighting (preferably natural light but don’t put it behind you), have a good camera, and a good microphone.
• Practice talking out loud to the camera; don’t forget to smile and nod your head—even though no one is there.
• Dress appropriately.
• Record yourself and play it back beforehand; listen to your tone, speed of speaking, and clarity.
• Remember that the AI is not only assessing your answers but also your body language. Most AI is looking for confident (but not arrogant) answers. Try not say things like, “I think,” “perhaps,” etc., as that kind of language may undercut your message.
• Some AI systems allow you to play back your answers and provide an opportunity to rerecord as needed—but don’t count on this.
• Don’t forget to frame your answers in CCAR or STAR.
• And, if it all possible, use a desktop or a laptop for these interviews, rather than your phone.

If you are comfortable with technology, understand the key words of the job posting, and prepare your stories, you’ll ace the interview!

Is Your Boss Hurting Your Career?

Great Interview Questions for Both Hiring Managers and Candidates

How Long Should It Take to Get a Federal Job?

Virtual Interviews – 10 Ideas to Ace Them!

Federal Career Series Bundle: Resume, Interviewing, Transition

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.