The Telegraph reports that as a nervous university student keen to make a good impression, you would be forgiven for wanting to comb your hair, polish your shoes and maybe even clean your teeth before a job interview.
But this kind of preparation could soon become a thing of the past, as prestigious city graduate schemes – including Goldman Sachs and Unilever – are increasingly using robots to conduct interviews.
Rather than sitting in front of an interviewer, students are asked to set up a webcam on their computer or phone. Questions pop up on the screen, and they are asked to make a video recording of their answers.
Thousands of videos are then scanned by powerful algorithms that can pick up what kinds of words or phrases you are using, how concisely you present your arguments, and how confident you sound. Computer programmes using artificial intelligence (AI) can also detect “micro-expressions”, which could be how much you blink, smile or frown.
Derek Walker, who used to run the graduate recruitment at Merrill Lynch and Barclays bank, said that most big firms have been using automated online tests for the past decade.
“They might have an actor or a graphic asking questions, or a pre-recorded voice, but they are not there listening to you. You have no ability to build a rapport with a machine and this can really throw people.”
The technology is popular with firms as it allows them to see a wider pool of applicants than they would normally recruit from, Mr Walker said.
Joshua Pauk, a 21-year-old graduate from Bristol University, said that when he applied for graduate schemes in the banking sector, he was asked to record webcam interviews for around ten different companies.He said: “They ask very traditional interview questions, like why do you want to work here, and what are your strengths and weaknesses. You’re just talking into a blank screen, it’s really unnerving.”
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