Automating job interviews: Experiences and implications for job seekers

8 June 2022

1:00pm-2:00pm

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Summary

Computer algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) have increasingly been used in a range of organisations to support or, even entirely, automate Human Resources (HR) processes including job interviews. Online interviews vary in their degree of automation; they can rely on AI to schedule, track, conduct and sometimes even assess interviews with job applicants. The virtualisation and automation which characterises Asynchronous Video Interviews (AVIs) is supposed to strengthen transparency and objectivity into the decision-making process (Langer et al., 2019). Whilst the validity and reliability of algorithms to interpret interviews  (Hickman, et a. 2021), and how the information is provided to candidates  (Langer et al., 2019; 2021) has been questioned, little is known about how job seekers experience these technologies. In particular, as AVIs seem to be used especially to screen young job applicants for graduate hiring (O’Connor, 2021) our concern rests with the experiences of this population as they first experience the job market. No previous research has explored directly young job seekers own experience of this technology: how this affects their behaviour during interviews as well as their perceptions of their self and of work post-interview. In this paper in progress we draw upon in-depth semi-structured interviews with graduates who have experienced AVIs and upon documentary analysis. Our study reveals that young job seekers, do not fully understand and glorify the technology, subjecting themselves to a de-personalising experience. Interviewees become bot-like in order to serve or please the algorithm. They tell us accounts of fixed gazes, rigid posture, forced smiles and monotone voice. Our study offers insights for employers, hiring platforms and policy makers concerning the ethics behind this digital transformation.

Bios

Zahira Jaser, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the University of Sussex Business School, and the Deputy Director of the MBA. Her work focus on how managers negotiate different relationships across the organization, and how AI mediates relationships between managers and employees. She is an impact academic, her research has been featured in the Financial Times, The Guardian, BBC World, the Harvard Business Review and the MIT Sloan Management Review. For updates follow Zahira on LinkedIn, Twitter, or here.

Dimitra Petrakaki is Professor of Technology and Organization, the Deputy Head of the Department of Management at the University of Sussex Business School and co-Investigator of the ESRC-funded Digital Futures at Work Research Centre. Her work focuses on the implications of the introduction of digital technology for the organization of work. She is the associated editor of the Information Systems Journal and editorial board member of New Technology, Work & Employment.

Further reading

Where automated job interviews fall short, Harvard Business Review (2022)