Will a Robot conduct your next job interview?

Hiring professionals are constantly finding innovative ways to interview, with reducing bias and saving time and money all in mind. Personality and psychometric testing, blind auditions, webcam interviews and nameless CVs are on the rise, and now we are looking at the newest robotic recruiter ‘Matlda’.

Matlda is the size of ruler, and is programmed to conduct 25 minute interviews, recording and analysing the interviewee’s responses, monitoring facial expressions and comparing them to other successful employees within the hiring company.

She knows more than those she interviews and uses a bank of 76 questions to assess a candidate’s skills and professional expertise.

A robot is not impacted by outside factors such as stress, hunger, fatigue, and lacks the ability to discriminate, making this ground-breaking idea a very appealing alternative for a busy recruiter or hiring manager.

Artificial intelligence could help eliminate pre-existing prejudice within employment processes and boost transparency with the removal of unconscious human bias – things such as gender, race, clothing, education, and accent.

However, if the system is using a metric for decision making, who came up with that metric, and what is it based on? “Bias can creep in very easily with learning systems, and depends entirely on the data they’ve been trained on”, says Professor Noel Sharkey at Sheffield University.

Ideally this technique saves a company time and money, as a professional manager has more flexibility to focus on important roles within the business, yet a robot currently cannot make a final judgement.

Considering that a member of staff would have to extract and analyse details from the conversation that was held, they may as well have carried out the interview themselves.

Matlda has the ability to base decisions free of whim or prejudice, and gives each candidate a fair trial, not making her mind up before all candidates are interviewed.

Interviews however are a two-way process, and this way the robot is the only one with a chance to make an informed decision and ask questions – meaning you risk completely neglecting the candidates’ needs during the process.

The pressure of an interview may be lessened by the use of robots, some candidates will feel more confident in front of a robot and be more open and honest, yet some will miss the personal touch of an interview, and prefer communicating with a real human.

The rigid system could make it difficult to judge whether a candidate will be a good culture fit, as there is no opportunity to build a relationship.

The concept is certainly an interesting one, but maybe not realistic yet unless artificial intelligence improves further so that the robot can make a well-informed decision.

Ultimately it is all dependant on the type of job, company, candidate (it could appeal to the tech savvy millennial more than someone considering a mid-life career change).

If the factors match, perhaps it could be used for a first interview for example, but for the following interviews, the candidate could be met by a human professional.

Recruitment is not the first or last industry that robots have been put to work across. From manufacturing cars, taking care of the elderly, and helping out with housework and homework – so it’s not surprising that this idea has become an attractive pursuit.

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