''We wanted to create something that functioned like Uber for job recruitment''

A Russian start-up created an AI-based recruiting robot

''We wanted to create something that functioned like Uber for job recruitment'' Photo: Max Pixel

If you are looking for a job, be prepared that your first interview can be conducted by a robot-recruiter. Robot Vera was developed by a Russian start-up to save time of human recruiters. The robot is able to interview up to 1,500 candidates in a single workday filtering through those who aren't available or interested in the job.

At the moment, several hundred Russian companies are using the artificially intelligent software technology known as Robot Vera to simplify the ongoing hunt for new hires, says The Washington Post. Vera is able to conduct up to 1,500 job interviews per day. The technology uses machine learning allowing to refine the robot's conversational skills with more practice.

''We wanted to create something that functioned like Uber for job recruitment, but instead of calling a car, a company would be able to call a pool of people looking for a job,'' said one of Vera's creators Alexey Kostarev, who co-founded his start-up with several partners in 2017. ''Right now, we have 200 companies using Robot Vera, which means the software is conducting about 50,000 interviews a day.''

Companies need only to provide the robot with a job description and interview questions. Vera reviews CVs posted at websites like CareerBuilder, Avito and Superjob and matches them with job openings. In case of successful match, Vera calls the candidate. The employer can choose whether the robot will speak Russian or English and sound like a man or a woman. When a candidate answers the phone, he hears ''Hi, my name is Vera, and I am a robot — are you still looking for a job?'' If the candidate is still interested, he is interviewed over the phone or by video interview.

Interviews usually last about eight minutes. Photo: Sign Video

According to Kostarev, Vera is often able not only to ask questions but also to answer them. The software is currently able to respond 82% of questions accurately, and this figure is expected to reach 85% in the next few months. After the interview, the information on promising candidates is passed to human recruiters for a further decision.

Last autumn, IKEA Retail Russia used the software for a pilot programme in Moscow. According to the company's spokesperson Daniela Rogosic, every year IKEA receives thousands of CVs. ''The initial selection is very extensive work requiring significant time resources from our HR specialists. This was what drove the idea to try the new approach and use Robot Vera,'' said Rogosic. Recruiters must make 100 phone calls to get 20 eligible candidates, confirms Kostarev adding that a large portion of the CVs posted to job sites belong to people who are no longer looking for employment. Vera is intended to save recruiters' time.

Of course, the software isn't an universal solution. It is effective in case of mass recruitment for blue-collar jobs, such as sales clerks and construction workers. However, the company's co-founder doesn't see any opportunities for the robot to hire executive personnel. ''Humans can do it much better. What I do see is that recruiters will begin managing AI more and more and using it as a tool to do their job more efficiently.''

By Anna Litvina