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Duke students tackle interviews involving artificial intelligence

For some job applicants, traditional face-to-face interviews are becoming more like face-to-camera interviews. 

Duke students searching for jobs today are becoming increasingly familiar with the HireVue interview—an interview service that substitutes artificial intelligence for the traditional in-person conversation. Duke faculty and advisers are working to help prepare students for this new challenge in the application process. 

Using HireVue’s AI technology, computers are being used to evaluate job candidates based on a number of data points obtained from an interview video, according to HireVue’s website. Picking up thousands of data points from each interview, a computer can assess a candidate’s employability based on factors like the content of answers, intonation and body language. 

This new form of interview can be a nerve-racking experience for many students, most of whom are more familiar with traditional in-person interviews. 

“I had more anxiety because it felt very unnatural talking into a camera,” said first-year Jun Heng Lor, who has gone through a HireVue interview.

Emma Rasiel, teaching director at the Duke Financial Economics Center, explained that communicating ourselves to a camera is a departure from what many students are used to. She’s been helping students prepare for recorded interviews for financial institutions.

“We grow up very familiar with the concept of talking to somebody across a table,” she said. “We don’t grow up communicating our corporate persona to a camera.” 

Senior Destini Clark, who went through the banking recruiting process, said that her preparation for banks’ HireVue interviews often consisted of writing down responses and reciting her answers.

An increasing number of companies—currently more than 700—are using HireVue’s products. In response, Career Center counselors are working with students to prepare them for the non-traditional hiring process. 

Students can learn about recorded interviews in individual advising sessions as well as group workshops, explained Meredith McCook, assistant director of undergraduate counseling and programs at the Career Center. 

“We are constantly reinventing how we are doing interview prep,” she said.

The Career Center and Department of Economics have published online guides on how to prepare for recorded interviews.

In addition to the heavy emphasis placed on practice, the Career Center advises students to dress professionally for the interviews and leave 30 minutes to set up a clean interview environment without distractions. 

McCook also highlighted the importance of doing research on the firm prior to the interview. To address the AI evaluation of candidates, Career Center counselors have been working with students on managing non-verbal behavior, specifically on eye contact and fidgeting.

McCook also stressed the varying interview experiences among different companies and industries with different needs. Although some companies use HireVue’s AI to narrow down extremely large candidate pools, others simply use the product for the recorded video without AI assessment. Companies can also make custom evaluations of candidates through HireVue rather than using their pre-built assessments. 

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