AI: Artificial Interviewer

We continue to hear from our participants about variations in how screening interviews are evolving. This article is excerpted from the June 2015 edition of “Talent Management Magazine”, page 48 (

~ David
AI:Artificial Interviewer
By: Kate Everson
Siri, Apple’s personal assistant for its smartphones and tablets, is able to answer user questions like what time the latest movie is playing. But what if the same artificial intelligence technology could conduct interviews?
For New York City-based Cathedral Consulting Group, artificial intelligence was the exact interviewer it needed. After the market lag in 2008 and 2009, business began to pick up for the firm. This created the need to not only hire a lot of people but also to hire the same kind of people in waves.
“We had had some less-than-fun experiences on a couple hires,” said Liz Gonzalez-Christenson, senior associate at the firm. “It was taking so much time to find the right candidate and hire the right candidate.”
In 2014, Cathedral switched from the traditional process – posting a job ad, collecting resumes, interviewing candidates and hiring someone – to Acclaim, a platform developed by the Human Resource Management Center Inc., a talent acquisition firm.
The program invited candidates to interact over the phone or online with its artificial intelligence-driven interviewer, which interlaces an assessment of the interviewee’s experience, knowledge and personality with videos explaining the job and the company.
From the candidates’ answers, the computer determines if they are the right fit for a position or organization.
Gonzalez-Christenson said her team took the assessment to benchmark where they fell so they could better match candidates with the organization.
If candidates fit well with what the organization is looking for, the artificial interviewer continues and eventually refers candidates to the human hirer at Cathedral Consulting.
If the candidate isn’t the right fit, the system ends the interview, which gives closure to the candidate.
Ron Selewach, founder and CEO of HRMC who developed Acclaim in 1993, said that unlike the traditional method of collecting candidates and screening them out through interviews, the program filters them in first, saving people time.
The inspiration for the system came from when Selewach was in human resources and had to take home boxes of resumes.
“I knew in my heart that I was passing over people who could be successful but didn’t have the right information in their resumes,” he said. “Everyone talks about if I could just get the interview, they’d see I’m the right person.”
Gonzalez-Christenson said the first Acclaim-vetted candidates and hires were the exact technical and cultural fit for the organization.
“When they showed up to training, everyone remarked how well they fit our culture and were eager to learn,” she said. “The difference between this class and the class before it was night and day. The CEO and COO to IT and HR – everybody saw just a vast difference.
– Kate Everson is an Associate Editor at Talent Management Magazine


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