Many factors contribute to the huge number of applicants many companies see when they post a position for a new hire: Internet job boards have expanded the reach of such postings relative to job fairs and newspaper ads; companies are able to recruit more broadly given the increased viability of remote work arrangements—particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic; and an economic downturn has left millions of Americans out of work.
Companies have coped with large numbers of applicants for years using computer programs and algorithms to help sift through standardized applications. But that first funnel can only do so much. Eventually, interviews need to be conducted with real people asking the questions and evaluating candidates. Or do they?
Some companies have been experimenting with automated interviews, with a computer asking questions on one end and a human answering on the other.
“It may not feel remotely natural to sit in front of a computer screen and talk about yourself to an artificial prompt—but that’s exactly what many people could find themselves doing at their next job interview,” says Peter Rubinstein in an article for BBC Worklife.
“Since Covid-19 struck, hiring managers have had to think creatively about how to streamline their interview processes. With traditional face-to-face meetings on hold, the solution for some has come in the form of asynchronous video interviews, or AVIs, in which applicants film themselves answering a predetermined set of questions, with no human interviewer present,” Rubinstein adds.
Conducting vs. Assessing Interviews
Conducting the interview is not necessarily the same as assessing the interview. Rubinstein writes that while some automated interview processes leverage artificial intelligence to assess candidates, others are essentially a recording that is later evaluated by a human hiring manager.
Automated interviews are relatively new to everyone. Both applicants and hiring managers will face somewhat of a learning curve when it comes to adapting to the new technology.
Hiring managers arguably have the advantage in that the typical hiring manager likely sees more applicants than applicants see interviewers and the hiring manager is presumably using the same process with each candidate, whereas candidates’ experience will necessarily vary with each company they interview with.
Just as applicants have had to learn how to put their best foot forward to make it through the automated résumé scanning gatekeeper, they will also need to find ways to do so with automated interviewers, should the technology truly take off.