When VireUp’s founders Efe and Arda first talked with me about the technology, I was super sceptical. I actually wondered why on earth these two (one with a Harvard MBA and a glittering blue-chip career, the other a programming genius with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence) would give it all up to develop a robot that does video interviews!
These were my original reservations:
1. What's new? Video interviewing tools have been around for ages.
But VireUp is different. With standard video-interviewing tools, candidates record and upload answers and then human beings (with varying levels of training) are required to review and make judgements. With VireUp, candidates record and upload their answers and VireUp AI assesses the answers against multiple behavioural, technical and job specific criteria. The client is presented with a ranked report of how the candidates performed. No human being required to spend time reviewing the videos and every candidate assessed against the same criteria.
2. How can I trust the AI? It might run away with itself! You can’t have a robot making decisions on which candidates to progress with! It might get it wrong!
Don't be scared! This is EXPLAINABLE AI. You always know why the AI has ranked the candidate as it has. VireUp shows how the candidate’s transcript relate to the criteria being assessed.
3. What's it like for the candidates? It must feel weird?
For candidates this feels like a bog-standard video interview. They get to do a practice question, they are given a question, get time to prepare and then record their response. There are usually four or five questions per session. Video interviews are pretty standard these days.
4. Surely candidates could cheat or google stuff?
VireUp has clever mechanisms to check if user answers/input is coming from elsewhere. Yikes!
5. The interview questions must be really basic.
With VireUp the client recruiter has the freedom to choose the wording of the question and the evaluation criteria, just as they would with a normal interview.
6. I don't work to stock interview questions, I interview against my clients' competencies using their questions.
VireUp has some great stock questions, but can also load in your company's interview questions and prompts. It then assesses against a huge number of possible indicators. A human could never assess against that many indicators in an interview, even one like me with 30 years' experience (!).
7. What if I want to drill into the results?
The results are presented in a matrix. With scores against different answers and the candidates ranked. It's possible to re-order the questions or eliminate or change the weighting really easily. Nifty, eh?
8. Where do the results go?
All the results are stored and can be used against future requirements. Clients can compare last year's cohort against this years'. Powerful, eh?
9. What about feedback?
With VireUp everyone gets interviewed and EVERYONE gets feedback. This is no flabby "you didn't make the grade" feedback. The feedback provides candidates with insight into how they performed and how they can improve. Amazing!
10. I guess you can only use this for entry level roles like grads or interns?
The quality of the questions and the capability of VireUp means that it is a credible solution for mid-level roles. I tested it against my specialism - procurement. VireUp's questions are just as strong as mine. Mind-blowing, eh?
11. How on earth can AI discern between different types of accents and voices?
VireUp is non-biased. It doesn't make a judgement on how people talk or accents. VireUp is so clever it has worked out that people can pronounce the same word in a million different ways. If VireUp is in any doubt as to word a candidate has said, it highlights this for the VireUp team to review and verify. Then of course, because this is AI, VireUp remembers this pronunciation for the future!!
12. What if the candidate says something very good or something concerning that is not relevant to the question?
Just like the best interviewers, VireUp notices good evidence and danger signs. The report comes back with a green flag for something good and red flag for something concerning. The client can review to understand why VireUp has given the flags and then chose to include or exclude it.
13. Eliminates bias? That is a big claim!
It is. But it does! The analysis is carried out by VireUp and based purely on the response content - nothing else! Clients receive the report matrix and get to review the ranking without seeing candidates faces, hearing their voices, knowing their names or judging their CV. After the client has decided on a shortlist, the names, CV’s and video clips can be revealed. ZERO BIAS!
14. All sounds a bit "arm's length"? When does the candidate get to engage with client company? How much control do clients get?
At the beginning of the engagement, VireUp consultants agree the technical, behavioural and job specific criteria to be assessed with the client. The candidate applies for the role just as they always would, via an advert or client career site. They can either click on a link that will take them straight to VireUp or the client may choose to send a "thank you for applying, please click on this link" email. Then VireUp takes over. A couple of days after the application deadline, the report matrix is delivered and the client, who can then make a decision on the shortlist.
15. Surely this will eliminate the role of a talent acquisition manager?
No. Actually VireUp helps talent acquisition to do their job more effectively. So rather than spend days chasing up line managers to review CV's, or persuading colleagues to review hours of video interviews, the talent manager can review the objective rankings with their stakeholders and drive diversity. The talent acquisition manager is then in a position to progress with the optimal shortlist, ensuring candidate engagement is maximised.
So those were my main reservations.
What are yours?