The digital interview

Posted 15.05.14 by prhcareers

Just when you thought you had the face-to-face interview technique perfected, a new breed of interview has arrived: the digital interview.  The concept may be unfamiliar, and even seem a little daunting, but ten years ago, even telephone interviews were fairly rare, so we’d like to spend a bit of time talking you through how to make the best of the experience should you come across it.

First, some background. HireVue is the online platform that Penguin Random House uses as a first stage tool to interview prospective candidates. We don’t use it for every role, but managers are using it more and more regularly in recruitment. From our perspective, it’s a way to potentially shortlist more people, and enable candidates to support their written application by expanding on their experience and skillsets. For candidates, there’s a benefit in that it can be done in the comfort of their own home, outside of office hours, and particularly for those who live outside of London, it’s a saved train fare.

The most common way we use our platform is a non-live environment where candidates can log on and record their answers through webcam on a computer or other device such as a tablet or even smartphone (so you can pretty much take the interview anywhere you like!). There is also a live version of the platform which is set up in the same way to a Skype call, but we don’t use this feature very often.

You will see the questions appear on screen, with time to prepare (and will have a non-recorded practice question to have a go at before you start the interview) and then you answer them by speaking into your webcam. You should prepare for the experience in the same way that you’d prepare for a face-to-face interview, so do think back to relevant examples of your experience as well as thinking about what interests you about the role and company. We also recommend you feel the part by dressing smartly but comfortably (have a look at our guide to this here) and make sure you seat yourself somewhere comfortable, quiet and free of distractions. It will help you feel more relaxed and allow you to focus on the task at hand.

Here’s what to expect from the process:

  1. Either there will be a link in the job advert to take you directly to the interview, or if you have been successful in making it on to a shortlist, you will be emailed one after you have applied for a role
  2. Once you click the link, it takes you through to the HireVue site. Here, you will be guided to your interview
  3. As mentioned above, you will have a practice question to get you used to the format, but once you start the real interview, you won’t be able to go back and re-record your answers
  4. Once you start the interview, you will be given the question, some time to prepare your answer (usually around 30 seconds) and then a time limit to answer (usually around 3 minutes). Don’t feel you have to use up all this time – you can skip to the next question once you are finished
  5. We will then assess your interview and will be in contact to let you know how we would like to proceed – the stage after that would be a face-to-face interview.

And it’s as simple as that! We can appreciate it may be a little different not having an interviewer to talk back to you, but we hope that, should you go through the process, you’ll find it a positive and straightforward experience.

We hope you have found this introduction useful – if you have any questions about the process, we would love to hear from you – so please do leave us a comment below and we would be more than happy to help.