As a nervous university student keen to make a good impression, you would be forgiven for wanting to comb your hair, polish your shoes and maybe even clean your teeth before a job interview.
But this kind of preparation could soon become a thing of the past, as prestigious city graduate schemes – including Goldman Sachs and Unilever – are increasingly using robots to conduct interviews.
Rather than sitting in front of an interviewer, students are asked to set up a webcam on their computer or phone. Questions pop up on the screen, and they are asked to make a video recording of their answers.
Thousands of videos are then scanned by powerful algorithms that can pick up what kinds of words or phrases you are using, how concisely you present your arguments, and how confident you sound. Computer programmes using artificial intelligence (AI) can also detect “micro-expressions”, which could be how much you blink, smile or frown.
The AI interviews are typically used at an early stage of the application process, in order to whittle down tens of thousands of applicants to a smaller pool that can move on to assessment days and finally, in-person interviews.
Derek Walker, who used to run the graduate recruitment at Merrill Lynch and Barclays bank, said that most big firms have been using automated online tests for the past decade.