- Chatbots are increasingly conducting job interviews for companies that implement them.
- It is unclear whether chatbots fulfill their intended purposes of making the hiring process quicker and more efficient.
- Instead, evidence suggests that quite the opposite is happening: chatbots are making the hiring process slower and more frustrating.
Interviews are between a candidate and a hiring manager or HR executive. Discussions with higher management typically follow these interviews if all goes well.
Even with the shift to interviews being done online more exclusively than in person, the interview process is highly likely to stay this way for the most part indefinitely.
Chatbots and their purpose
However, chatbots are increasingly conducting job interviews for companies that implement them. These chatbots use algorithms to have text chats with candidates for a job to interview them for the position.
Implementing chatbots for the interview process is to speed up the hiring process by streamlining questions and answers algorithmically.
Sometimes these chatbots reach out to clients through email or social media, and other times they are the interviewers to which candidates must speak after applying for a job.
Another purpose of chatbots is to narrow down the applicant pool in a more efficient way than can be done manually. In doing so, they use advanced natural language algorithms to interpret and categorize applicant responses based on the fit rank.
Do chatbots work?
It is unclear whether chatbots fulfill their intended purposes of making the hiring process quicker and more efficient. Instead, evidence suggests that quite the opposite is happening: chatbots are making the hiring process slower and more frustrating.
Specifically, chatbots have proven to be a nuisance to job applicants. According to career expert Carolyn Kleiman of Resumebuilder.com, there is something almost inherently annoying about chatting with a chatbot:
“I can see possible benefits as a way to engage or potential source candidates, and perhaps assist with first-round screening interview questions that are rather basic, although the types of questions and answers I think that would make sense for a chatbot are likely mirroring the ones used in the application, particularly the “knockout questions,” such as how many years of experience in marketing do you have? Do you have an advanced degree? But, on the other hand, the questions are likely ones that are not overly complicated and require simple short answers. Have you ever interacted with a chatbot for customer service and found it frustrating? I sure have, and can’t imagine if that exchange was a job interview that it would have worked out well.”
This suggests that a chatbot is next to useless for the aspects of a job interview that require the interviewer and interviewee to get into greater detail about the role and the applicant’s ability to fulfill that role.
Instead, chatbots are somewhat helpful in extracting basic information. However, the sort of information mentioned by Kleiman is included in a resume and a filled-out job application, making the chatbot somewhat redundant.
Moreover, this redundancy is not a pleasant experience for applicants. Most chatbots are poorly designed for user-experience purposes because our understanding of language and its artificial intelligent counterparts are severely limited.
This is to the extent that phone chatbots like Siri and Google’s AI are measured with IQ. For example, Siri has half the IQ of Google’s chatbot AI, but neither would be able to conduct a job interview that feels remotely near speaking to a natural person.
When communicating with a chatbot, it is likely a step or two below what it feels like to speak with Siri, which is often frustrating and riddled with misinterpretations. How good can these algorithms be at narrowing the applicant pool?
Chatbots are no more efficient in narrowing the applicant pool than the initial application and resume submission over the internet because they cannot ask questions beyond the information given through a filled-out application and resume.
Luckily, it is only in the minority of cases where artificial intelligence chatbots govern the hiring process. Instead, artificial intelligence is primarily used in the initial narrowing of applicant pools are automated tracking systems ATS for resume keywords.
Once an applicant has been called in for an interview these days, it will most likely be over video chat with a person, not with a chatbot. Chatbots will become increasingly more common over the next few years but will still be the exception to this rule.
For that situation to change, computer scientists and linguists would have to grasp coding for human-like language capacities better. However, since that is incredibly unlikely, we should not count on the domination of chatbots in interviews anytime soon.