An increasing number of firms are using chatbots and AI-led video interviews to assess job candidates before a human recruiter can even meet them.
These interviews can massively expand the job candidate pool and are designed to ensure consistent hiring practices without any biases. However, the interviewees are not happy. For them, these interviews make them behave more like the faceless robots they’re trying to impress.
Zoom job interviews have become extremely common since the pandemic, with 86% of companies surveyed by Gartner saying they’ve used virtual technology in the hiring process.
Caron Mitchell was recently invited to an “asynchronous video interview” for a job as a senior account manager at a tech-training startup. The interview began with a brief, pre-recorded message from the company’s co-founder, explaining the firm’s mission. She had four questions to answer. 30 seconds were given to read the question and two minutes to answer each.
“The whole process was unnerving and demoralizing”, she tells said. “You’re at a tremendous disadvantage as a candidate when it’s a one-way street,” she said. “I’m used to reading people, and there was nothing there for me to read.” The interview went poorly, she said. “I was so focused on the clock, and making sure that I was answering the question, that I couldn’t just relax and be myself.” Without any surprise, after a week, she got to know she wasn’t selected.
She didn’t know if it was the AI that rejected her or the HR. This is how automated job interviews fall short, according to new research published in the Harvard Business Review. “Because many job-seekers did not understand the technology that was being used, their default was to perform in a rigid way — holding a fixed gaze, a fake smile, or unnatural posture; speaking with a monotonous voice; and holding their hands still” — in short, behaving like robots.
However, there is an upside too.
“Everything is moving to chat,” Kevin Parker, ex-CEO and now an adviser at HireVue, a leading video interview company, tells Axios. “Someone looking for a new job might scan a QR code on a hiring poster Saturday night, kicking off a chatbot conversation about their experience and an invitation to apply with a video interview on Sunday. You can complete the entire application process before work starts Monday morning — all while your interest is high.”