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Artificial Intelligence Technology in the Interviewing Process: Impartial or Impersonal?

In recent years, companies of all sizes have increasingly turned to A.I. tools as part of their interviewing process. These technologies come in the form of chatbots and A.I. assessed video interviews. One of the biggest advantages of such technology is the ability to quickly screen large numbers of applicants.  

Paradox is a company that offers to simplify recruiting. Using Olivia, a conversational A.I. assistant, the  company asserts it is “saving the world’s best talent acquisition teams countless hours every day” and  providing “world-class candidate experiences by automating all kinds of recruiting tasks through smart,  simple conversations.” 

I recently had the opportunity to interview with Olivia. I found the process extremely streamlined when compared to the more traditional first-steps in the interviewing process. Instead of going to the careers page on a company’s website, finding the right job, and filling out the pages of work history,  skills, and other questions, Olivia did all the work. I was able to simply drag and drop my resume, and Olivia found all the available jobs I qualified for. The A.I. then asked a series of questions and instantly responded to my answers with statements that didn’t feel as generic as I would assume. I truly felt as though I was being interviewed by a real person and not a robot. Olivia displayed emotions such as excitement and understanding, commenting on specific topics within my answers, asking me to elaborate, or saying things like, “That’s a great response! We love hearing from outgoing candidates.” Also, Olivia provided more information than real hiring managers I had spoken to during my job search. She posted links to industry and company specific articles and, at the end, laid out an accurate timeline as to the next steps, explaining who would be reaching out for my interview and when that would be.  

To provide some context, I was applying for an entry-level role that sees hundreds of applicants. I know the function of Olivia is to qualify prospective candidates, providing hiring managers a more meaningful experience while filtering out any candidates who would not be a good fit, thus saving them time and energy. But many people feel that having to go through an A.I. software conveys that the company doesn’t care as much about their personal qualities. Supporters of these new interviewing tools will argue that they provide an impartial review of one’s experience and aptitude for a specific role,  eliminating personal bias that could be present when meeting with a real representative of the company.  

So, can A.I. technology’s involvement in an interview process be considered impersonal? Sure, there is no replacement for meeting face-to-face or speaking with a real person via Zoom or a phone call. But,  like any new technology, A.I. interviewing tools have been created to solve a specific problem. When a company simply doesn’t have the resources to interview hundreds of candidates (especially considering the vast majority of these candidates don’t have the right experience or qualifications), A.I. screened video recordings. Chatbots can be valuable tools in assisting hiring managers’ efforts to streamline their candidate selection process by filtering applicants based on a predetermined set of criteria.

In reality, if you are applying online, your resume and job applications are already being screened by A.I. to generate a list of top applicants and a list of non-eligible candidates. A.I. technology as an interviewing tool actually conveys that a company does care enough to provide you some form of interaction. Moving forward, I believe we will see an increase in the use of A.I. assisted interviews for colleges, entry-level roles, and other systems which receive large numbers of applicants. Regardless of how you feel about chatting with an A.I. persona, chances are you will have to interact with this next generation of gatekeepers in the coming years.

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