There are significant changes afoot for those applying for jobs. With increasing automation emerging in so many sectors, digitalisation is now changing recruitment practices in both the jobs market and at universities. Perhaps not surprisingly, this is a trend that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. There was a 67% reported increase in the use of video interviews in 2020-21, and a 2019 survey found that 40% of US companies used chatbots to lead screening and assess candidates. Increasing numbers of employers use hiring platforms to automate the hiring process.

Gradually, the video interviews that became so much a part of our lives during Covid have been replaced by the use of Asynchronous Video Interviews (AVIs). These are recorded by candidates but reviewed by the interviewer at a later stage. Interviewers and applicants do not meet. AI technologies are increasingly being used to make recommendations and selections, interpreting aspects of candidate performance such as facial expressions, gaze, volume, tone, speed of speaking, and the use of vocabulary/key words in response to questions. In some cases, the AVI ‘bot’ is the sole arbiter of whether candidates progress to the next stage of the recruitment process. This means that the use of AVIs can be quite decisive in the fortunes of young jobseekers.

Used wisely, AVIs can reduce bias and compensate for human-led processes that might be considered unfair.

There are potential benefits: AVIs can be seen as a way to reduce the demands of shortlisting large numbers of applicants because AI can reduce the workload involved. Used wisely, AVIs can also reduce bias and compensate for human-led processes that might be considered unfair.

However, some candidates have reported dissatisfaction that the assessment criteria were opaque and also registered their worry that the algorithms used were hidden from view. Others have expressed concerns that platforms may not adequately accommodate cultural and linguistic diversity, for example. And there can also be a lack of feedback built into the process. The most significant difference is that, unlike a conventional interview, there is no conversation to prompt responses: without practice AVIs can seem quite alien and make candidates feel uncomfortable. 

For this reason, we need to make sure we have understood the nature of any online interview that we are asked to attend and in particular find out about the role that AI plays in it. Jobseekers should practise asynchronous video interviews so that they understand how it will look and feel when they come to attempt the real thing. To help our pupils feel more comfortable in preparing for an AI-led interview, we have invested in, a platform that allows candidates to experience asynchronous interviews and review their performance. Pupils who are applying for positions that use AVIs in the selection process can also seek guidance from the Career Education department.

Employability has many components to it, but at its heart it is about putting oneself in a position to choose and then secure a career in which one will be happy and successful. In career education we have to be aware of recruitment practices and our candidates must know what to expect and how to behave.