Interviews are rarely fun for both sides of the table. For candidates, there is pressure to perform, the balancing act between doing and saying the right thing and being themselves enough to give the recruiter or team leader a real sense of what they will bring to the team. And for recruiters and managers, it means taking time out from their other responsibilities, matching resumes with actual candidates and getting a feel for who fits in which role—if anyone. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used in recruiting for some time, typically as a first-stage filter on potentially hundreds of CVs — though it has had a very checkered history, which has included the imposition of some sort of “digital bigotry” or “digital misogyny’.’ But both AI and virtual reality could play an increasing role in ensuring your business gets the staff it needs in a hiring process that has a chance to level the playing field and dispel some ingrained prejudices.
An uncomfortable truth
What ingrained prejudices?
We’re sorry to tell you this white people, but you are inherently more racist than you think. Don’t take our word for it, though—research by Katherine DeCelles and colleagues at Harvard Business School proved that ethnic minority candidates nearly passed twice so many interviews if they just “know” their names. And that was before they walked through the door.
There is also a built-in misogyny in the hiring process — not to mention the data showing that men typically apply to jobs for which they only meet 60% of the job requirements, while women typically only apply to jobs they feel comfortable with have that they do 100% fit the role profile, there is an unfortunate likelihood that recruiting managers (male, at least) will unknowingly tend to hire a man who presents himself as a man when one of a range of equally qualified candidates is available of opposite sexes and genders.
All of this in an unfortunate holdover of the nature of western society, which is essentially a pyramid of trapdoors, with rich, white, cis, male presenting, straight, able-bodied, conventionally attractive people at the top and everyone who is different to some extent from this combination moving down the pyramid, a trapdoor for each point of difference. The more we learn, the more trapdoors we uncover, including one for people with neurodivergence and one for (particularly) women having children (which reinforces the societal misogyny behind the notion that women “should” be under “normal” circumstances .the primary caregivers in a family and therefore may not be able to fully concentrate on their work).
Even though we may not be intentionally Bias against anyone in the world, much of our Western paradigm of making decisions about people has been shaped by this pyramid, resulting in an ongoing bias towards candidates from ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities or neurodivergence and others who have at least one trapdoor against them.
The misogynist AI
As said, AI was originally intended to be a way to remove this learned bigotry – machines don’t have emotions, after all, and so shouldn’t be able to learn derogatory impressions from one group or another. Unfortunately, the neutrality of AI depends on two things – the mindset and understanding of its programmers and the data set from which it begins its learning process.
That was a combination that has legendaryly failed it in the past. In particular, no less a company than Amazon, which used AI to select candidates for high-level hires, discovered that the algorithm negatively selected qualified women because, significantly, they didn’t match the people previously hired to similar positions in one important respect — they weren’t men.
After trying unsuccessfully to fix the algorithm for some time, Amazon disbanded the team working on the AI recruitment algorithm and turned back to human judgment.
The virtual reality difference
But a combination of AI and virtual reality could turn the tide. Certainly there are currently tendencies in the direction of virtual reality interviews education Model where candidates can test themselves in, for example, a virtual reality interview scenario (with avatars whose names can be chosen randomly and avatars that allow the candidate to present themselves as they wish).
Companies like UK-based Bodyswaps are already developing these interview training modules in virtual reality, which allows candidates with an AI component as an interviewer to hone their interviewing skills and potentially overcoming any inherent societal biases on the part of human interviewers.
The purpose of these virtual reality interview practice modules is not only to build a candidate’s confidence but also to provide useful feedback on what they did wrong and what they did right so that they can improve their performance in the next interview. In a way, the use of AI and virtual reality can gamify the application process, allowing candidates to keep trying until the virtual interviewer is ready to offer them the job.
While every company and team is necessarily different, this type of hands-on, real-time interview practice module can improve a candidate’s chances of landing a role where they could significantly excel.
Real-time interviews in virtual reality?
However, beyond interview preparation, there are companies that are developing and using virtual reality and AI in combination to provide a full live interview experience.
From big players like Microsoft (via its mixed reality offering HoloLens) to independent SMBs offering virtual reality interviewing software to corporations and recruiters, demand for virtual reality interviewing technology is growing across all industries.
Not only can it reassure candidates relatively, but it can as well original Remove some of the inherent societal biases from the process, because when an AI interviews an avatar, even the algorithm isn’t based so much on previous people in the role as on the job role and what the candidate actually says in the interview, detached from that ethnic and gender prejudices.
Additionally, companies are finding that the sometimes stilted responses of an in-person video interview are greatly eased by the use of AI interviewing in virtual reality.
Between reducing prejudice, boosting candidates’ confidence and providing a more natural, intuitive response for more ideal candidates, virtual reality interviews are becoming a technological solution that can help overcome the ever-growing staff shortages, among which in particular are the Technology industry suffers.