I haven’t interviewed for a job in a long time, so I was surprised to learn recently that many larger companies use interview software to conduct initial screenings for job candidates.
The candidate sits in front of their computer and activates the link. The program generates the first question, gives the candidate 30 seconds to think about their answer, then turns on the webcam to record the response. Apparently you can pause as long as you like between questions.
The people I talked to who had experienced this felt strongly that it did not show them at their best. The 30 second wait (which wouldn’t have existed if they were talking to a person) made them more nervous. The ability to pause between questions simply disrupted the flow. And most of all, the lack of nonverbal feedback was unnerving. Talking to a camera instead of a person is hard!
This made me wonder immediately who had designed this software, and what problem they were trying to solve. If I had to guess, they are trying to make sure they can see as many qualified candidates as possible in early rounds of interviewing, and not have to have personnel conduct those interviews.
But someone has to watch them, right? Does that take a lot less time than just, you know, holding the interview? What is the cost of losing good candidates who don’t show up well in this completely artificial process? And what is the impact when this interview style turns candidates off of the company? As one of the people I spoke to said, “This process was obviously for them, not for me.”
Some tasks can easily be automated. But I’m not sure this is one of them.