HuffPost: Enterprises implement robots for hiring. Interview with Arik Akverdian
Mar 29, 2019

Bringing robots to the recruitment process might just be the next big thing. Saeed Ashrif Ahmed, Blogger, Author, Speaker and Small business coach interviewed the founder of VCV Arik Akverdian about how robots can replace actual HRs in hiring new staff members.

First of all, do you think robots can recruit people?

I do not only think so; I know that for sure. Every day a robot recruiter can interview thousands of candidates for large companies. If you asked me a couple of years ago, it would sound a bit crazy that technology could carry out job interviews – this kind of work seems to have too much of a human factor in it.

But now, with all the AI movement, Alexa from Amazon, Google home and other innovations, it is way easier to imagine how it works. I have been in the recruitment field since 2003, and I know from my own experience how hard it is to pick the best candidates and to interview all of them.

All of this work is time consuming, especially if you think that before getting to an actual interview, you should contact each applicant personally and pick the most convenient day both for him and for his future manager. And now the moment has arrived when robots are replacing that kind of work. This program does not just save time but also learns and improves with every screened CV and conducted the interview.

And the best thing is that all this knowledge stays in the company, as robots do not quite as human recruiters do, as well as they do not ask for a salary raise. Well, at least not yet!

What is the reaction of people being interviewed by robots?

It depends! Some candidates, especially the younger generation, love digital instruments and are curious to try something new. But others still feel sceptical about being recruited by robots or simply find it hard to use. Once again, we are at the very beginning of an everyday human-robot interaction. People are just starting to talk to Alexa at home or to communicate with robots in their Teslas. That is quickly becoming a daily reality. Same thing with robots carrying out interviews: candidates will get used to talking to them.

We can already see that in the past 2 years, the number of interviews recorded through robotic companies has increased by three times, the conversion has grown by 30%, many younger candidates already claimed it to be entertaining to speak with bots. These interactions will let the technology learn to maintain a naturally flowing dialogue just like the one with an actual HR.

Why do you think robots can recruit better than the recruiters themselves?

Besides constant learning and gaining knowledge, machines work way faster than human recruiters. While HR specialists need 5 hours to conduct 50 phone interviews, robots do it in just 63 minutes. They do not get tired or sick, they do not need a coffee break and will surely not accuse you of discrimination or sexual harassment. It is more predictable and efficient. We can just face the facts: for instance one of our clients, the largest bank in Eastern Europe has achieved 21% conversion rate only in 3 weeks vs 19% when done by human recruiters.

What if robots make a mistake?

In comparison to people robots definitely, make fewer mistakes. The traditional or we could say now "the old-school" system of hiring has a higher rate of errors. It is a human factor, we all know there is one, but it still leads to massive costs for the company. The goal of robotic technology is to minimize the mistakes and to provide the maximum data on candidates so that a human recruiter could make a final hiring decision. Robotic programs are gender and ethnicity neutral which means that it will interview all the applicants at the same level. Soon technology will instantly provide info on candidates' professional achievements and networking abilities.

It will also be able to predict how likely a certain applicant matches the company top performers level. It is important to remember that robots are responsible only for the initial screening and providing the maximum quality info. However at the end of the day the main task is to the human recruiter to analyse all the information and to pick the worthiest candidate for a final job offer.

Do you think it is going to be a big market?

The market is massive. According to a recent BCG study, the HR's main function is recruitment, with the highest impact on two critical success measures in business — the revenue growth and profit margins. Enterprises in the US annually spend $250 billions of dollars on recruitment sector. Technology can help to spend this money smarter. Millions of people get hired and laid off every day. Robots will increase the efficiency of these processes. And companies already understand this immense value because of the demand for robot recruiters increases.

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