The 101 on Automated Interviews
On average, nearly 52 candidates apply to open job postings. This slew of applications received can inundate any organization and make the process of scheduling phone or in-person interviews that much more difficult. As the process of interviewing becomes more and more automated and efficient, a plethora of systems have cropped up to assist.
These systems can range from the applicant tracking system to the automated interview systems. As this is a relatively new concept, we thought we’d give the rundown and the 101 on automated interviews. An automated interview is exactly as it sounds, it is a system or software which employers use to conduct an initial phone screen with potential candidates.
While the concept of an automated interview is relatively new, there has been a lot of debate on the ethics surrounding their implementation. Automated interviews look to remove the human interviewer from the equation, essentially creating an interview environment where the employer can dictate the conversation and flow.
On the other side of the debate, we hear the benefits extolled by an automated interview process. Such a system allows candidates to choose a time that works for them to conduct an on-call interview, allowing them to do so in the comfort of their home and even late at night. Similarly, automated interviews allow for employers to reach out to more candidates for an over the phone interview as it won’t take away from an employee’s time to conduct one.
How the Interview Process Flows?
Typically, in the interview process, a candidate will submit their application via an online portal indicating their interest in the position. This portal will accept the application, resume, and other supporting documents. If it is using an applicant tracking system, it may scan the contents of the application and documents to confirm certain keywords and skills are present.
From there, the candidate’s application will be sent to the recruiter or a member from the human resources team. This member will review the application, and if there is interest, will send through to the hiring manager. The hiring manager will review the application and will confirm with the recruiter whether or not there is interest.
If the hiring manager expresses interest in the candidate’s application, then typically the recruiter or a member of the human resources team will conduct an initial phone interview. This interview is meant to ensure the applicant has sufficient knowledge of the role and has the needed skills.
Assuming the phone interview went well, the recruiter will recommend moving forward to an in-person interview with the hiring manager. The hiring manager will then move through the interview process with the applicant and make a final determination on whether or not to extend an offer.
How the Automated Interview Works
As compared to the above process, which is a more traditional interview process, the automated interview will take the place of the phone interview. In the case of an automated interview, a candidate whose application passed the initial screen will be invited to attend an automated interview. This invitation will be sent to the candidates email which the employer has on their file.
Once the candidate receives the invitation, they will have a deadline to complete. Completing the automated interview is as simple as clicking into the invitation and entering your phone number. The system will call you, at which point the interview begins.
Questions Asked in an Automated Interview
Whereas a traditional phone interview consists of a back-and-forth between the interviewer and the candidate, automated interviews do not. From a technical perspective, automated systems are simply incapable of asking follow-up questions to a candidate’s answer.
Typically, automated interviews will consist of a list of common interview questions. These questions will consist of your work history, your educational history, and whether or not you have experience in certain skills. Automated interviews will also ask candidates to explain or discuss certain scenarios that may be common for the role.
For example, if you are applying to a retail position, the automated system may ask you to, “discuss a time you had to deal with a difficult or irate customer. How did you handle that situation and what did you do to ease the customers concerns?”
When answering the questions in an automated interview, it is highly recommended to utilize the STAR method. As we’ve previously discussed, the STAR method is a formula to answer behaviorally based questions.
The STAR method looks to provide an answer by providing the situation you found yourself in. From there, you will discuss the task or responsibility you had within the situation. You’ll then discuss the actions you took to resolve the situation. You should finish the answer by discussing the end result and how your actions directly assisted to achieving the resolution.
Benefits of the Automated Interview and System
While the use of an automated system is relatively new, there are a number of benefits which have been immediately seen. Firstly, an automated system allows candidates more flexibility to conduct and complete the interview. As the call can be completed at any time, candidates can choose to schedule and conduct the interview at a time that works best for them.
In addition, the use of an automated interview helps employers to free up their employees’ times. No longer do recruiters have to worry about the back-and-forth in scheduling and conducting an interview. Lastly, the automated interview system allows interviewers to interview more candidates, essentially widening the applicant pool.
Disadvantages of the Automated Interview and System
Conversely, the disadvantages of the automated interview are that it removes the human aspect from the interview process. No longer will interviewees be able to speak with a human on the other line. From an employer perspective, the automated system is incapable of asking follow-up questions.
Additionally, the automated interview may be poor branding for an employer. Candidates may be turned-off from the system and opt to not participate. Utilization of an automated interview system is also relatively new, and some candidates may find it difficult to use.
Lastly, the automated interview system takes away a candidate’s choice. Interviews are two-way streets, where both the employer and the candidate are assessing a potential working relationship. By removing the human element, candidates may feel isolated from the employer.
Thing to Know
As the automated interview becomes more and more popular, it is best to learn how to prepare for one. Just as you prepare for any other interview, you should too for an automated one. It is best to practice speaking on the phone to a family member or a trusted friend. Ensure that your voice is enunciated and clear.
In addition, be aware that although the interview is being conducted by an automated system, it will be reviewed by a member on the human resources or hiring team. Don’t joke, speak ill, or fool around while on the phone as it will significantly reduce your chances of being offered the position.
The 101 on automated interviews is that it is simply too early to call whether or not they will be a significant player in the interviewing process. Although we have found that more and more employers are beginning to utilize their services, we are also seeing a backlash and pushback against their implementation.
Automated interviews provide employers and candidates with benefits they most likely would not have had in a traditional interview process. However, by removing the human aspect, employers risk alienating candidates and lowering overall interest.
If you are looking to begin implementation of an automated interview system, you can check-out the following companies who are popular in the space.