Your Next Job Interview May Be With a Robot—Whether You Realize It Or Not

Artificial hand coming out of a computer screen to shake a human hand

When Emily applied for her dream job, she expected to ace her interview. She knew the company inside and out and had prepared to explain why she would be perfect for the role. When she received an invitation to a video platform that would record her responses to a series of questions, she was slightly thrown—she was applying for a people-facing role and had hoped to be able to build rapport with the hiring manager. Still, she hoped that she could still show her personality, even in pre-recorded clips.

What Emily didn’t realize until after the interview was that the third-party company that hosted the video software used facial analysis technology to screen candidates. Her interview would be assessed by an algorithm that used people’s facial expressions, intonation and word choice to evaluate whether Emily was right for the role.

The use of artificial intelligence has become increasingly widespread in recruitment over the last few years. Candidates are often asked to complete video interviews or online tests without any awareness that an algorithm will be the first assessor of their application. Major companies such as Hilton and Unilever have used AI interview software, and an estimated 83 percent of US companies use some form of AI in their HR processes.

“HR decision-making has always been based on the prior experience of recruiters and their intuition about a candidate,” says Prasanna Tambe, an Associate Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. “Technology has made it easier than ever to apply for jobs, so recruiters have increasingly large stacks of applicants to evaluate, which takes time. Tools that can help recruiters sort through even larger numbers of applicants and make well-informed decisions are very attractive.”