Your Next Interview Might be With a Robot

Job-seekers may soon have to accept the fact that interviews are becoming more impersonal where they don’t talk to another human being.

The demand for online hiring services increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains high. Job-seekers, including professionals, may soon have to accept the fact that interviews are becoming more impersonal where they don’t talk to another human being.

Job-seekers get interviewed online by artificial intelligence systems. These systems claim to save employers' money while avoiding biases that can occur in human recruiters, and expand the range of potential candidates. AI system is also used now to assess candidate skills by analyzing what they say. However, experts are questioning whether these AI machines can accurately and fairly judge a person’s character traits and emotional signals.

Dana Anthony, who was interviewing for a job in Target, shared her story after she got rejected. She claimed that she had no idea why she was rejected, especially that she had no sense at all of how the interview was going because her interviewer was a computer. “I interview better in person because I’m able to develop a connection with the person,” Anthony said.

When a computer eliminates some candidates and elevates others without explanation, it’s hard to know if it’s making fair assessments or to find a justification. For instance, Anthony couldn’t help wondering if her identity as a Black woman affected the decision.

Since many people were bothered by the idea of the uncertainty of this new method of interviewing, many CEOs of big companies are trying to reassure people that they are setting specific regulations for this system. For instance, Kevin Parker, the CEO of  HireVue, a hiring company in the United States, says the company has worked hard to ensure its technology won’t discriminate based on factors such as race, gender or regional accents. Its systems, which translate speech to text and sift for clues about team orientation, adaptability, dependability and other job skills, can outperform human interviewers, he said. “What we’re trying to replace is people’s gut instinct,” he said.

Still, the uncertainty of this method bothers the majority of people. It bothers them while being interviewed since they can’t take a hint of what impression they’re creating. Not only that, but also not knowing the reason behind why they got rejected, if they were rejected, also seems frustrating to some and unfair to others. The least a rejected job-seeker wants is constructed criticism. Yet, due to this interview method, the only feedback rejected interviewees receive is “We’re unable to provide specific feedback regarding your candidacy,” as Target’s rejection email stated.