HR Robot offers opportunities for applicants and companies

To put people into a position where they feel comfortable and can perform their best. That is what IhrPersonalberater Hans UIrich Gruber and his team are working for. He believes that the digital future offers great opportunities for the HR sector.

Australian engineers recently developed a „job robot “at La Trobe University. The robot answers to the cute name of Matilda and is supposed to lead job interviews. Instead of a friendly HR employee applicants might be facing a robot during their job interviews, that is also capable of taking personnel decisions. A horror scenario? Personal consultant and recruiting specialist Hans Ulrich Gruber from Kulmbach believes that to some applicants it could present a great opportunity. Provided that the robot is used with tact and sensitivity.

The applicant enters the room. She is dressed elegantly in business attire and seems to be sightly nervous. After all the interview is for a good position in a renowned company. While she enters the room, she smiles instinctively, even though this would not have been necessary. Because there isn´t an HR employee sitting the on the other side of the table, but a 30-centimetre-tall robot. It welcomes the applicant in a standardised manner and asks 76 questions, always with the same friendly tone of voice. It doesn´t provide direct feedback to the given answers. The applicant won´t hear how well the company receives her prior jobs, qualifications or the wish to work for said company.

This scenario might be unusual for most people at first. But in the near future job interviews could be done in a similar way. At least is they are if the interviews are led by the personnel robot Matilda. Matilda was developed by a team of Australian engineers from the La Trobe University Melbourne,  led by Professor Rajiv Khosla, director of the research centre for computer, communication and social innovation, in cooperation with NEC corporation and the University of Kyoto in Japan.

Professor Rajiv Khosla pleads for the automatic job interview in the Financial Times: “When you are doing face to face interviews and you have 10 candidates, if you liked candidate number four, by the time candidate number seven arrives the decision is already made unless they are something exceptional. Matilda gives candidates a fair go.”

How much the preference for one candidate is really depending on your mood that day, was just recently discovered by researchers of the Israeli Ben-Gurion-University.  The blood sugar of the decision maker actually has an evident influence on the assessment of candidates. Your chances of getting hired are worse right before lunch break compared to after lunch. Another obvious advantage is that discrimination based on skin colour, gender or appearance won´t occur when working with personnel robots.

Hans Ulrich Gruber explains how realistic and reasonable the use of robots in Franconian corporations and family owned businesses is: “I believe that personnel robots are principally a good idea if numerous job interviews have to be conducted.  The use of robots can make the selection process more efficient and objective especially in technical industries, where the professional competence of a candidate is of particular importance. However, the recruiting expert suggests that top jobs and management positions should still be filled based on the decision of experienced and qualified managers.

“In the end, there should be a basic sympathy between the manager and candidate. After all a company is run by people who achieve better results if the working atmosphere is good” says Personnel consultant Hans Ulrich Gruber. He primarily places skilled workers and executives in mid-sized companies and corporations and says that “for him, next to professional qualifications the person takes centre stage. Before I arrange a meeting with applicant and employer I try to make sure that both fit together.” That way he saves valuable time and avoids frustration.