College recruiters and students trying to solve for AI gatekeepers

Getting around ATS resume readers.

Two years ago, we surveyed the recruiting landscape to see how many companies were using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes. The answer back then – a lot. 

Today, companies are using artificial intelligence even more to sift through job applications. Entry-level positions and internships, especially, are ripe for AI disruption as these represent the lowest-risk hires. Enterprises would rather put their human recruiters on more complex and harder-to-fulfill assignments.

However, this means that many people who are trying to land their first jobs or seasonal opportunities now have to impress algorithms, not people. College students and recruiters, in particular, are struggling to learn how to navigate this new world. According to UNC Charlotte’s assistant director for employer relations, Matthew French, “It’s kind of the wild, wild west right now of interviewing.”

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Why Companies Are Using AI Assessments

It makes sense why companies would turn to AI to screen applicants. Entry-level openings can attract hundreds of submissions, many of which come from low-quality candidates. Computers can dig through the clutter and identify worthy interviewees with tremendous efficiency.

Additionally, AI can now do much more than search for keywords in digital resumes. Companies like Salt Lake City-based HireVue have developed technology that can assess individuals based on video interviews. For those who don’t have a lot of work history, video assessments provide an alternative way of predicting future success. 

Many employers believe that video interviews offer a fair opportunity for candidates to represent themselves outside of their resumes. Companies can consistently assess far more potential hires than they could otherwise with human recruiters. 

HireVue Leading the AI Assessment Charge

Kevin Parker, the CEO of HireVue, reports that his company can evaluate abilities and predict future success with just a 25-minute video interview. Founded in 2014, HireVue now works with nearly 800 companies and interviews one million people every three months. 

HireVue’s algorithms assess candidates on several levels. The AI engine considers factors, such as word usage, facial expressions, and pronoun tenses, and makes predictions around specific attributes. 

HireVue enables companies to identify those with qualities deemed necessary for a particular role. The platform will generate reports that show employers how interviewees scored on certain metrics, such as empathy or willingness to learn. Parker encourages companies to share this information with interviewers so that they get valuable feedback on their performance as evaluated by AI. 

The Challenge for College Counselors

Although platforms like HireVue increase resume throughput for employers, they are making things more complicated for career counselors. College advisers now have to prepare their students for a new type of interview that feels very unnatural for many. 

The assistant director at Duke’s career center, Meredith McCook, encourages her students to speak to their laptop cameras, maintaining eye contact and pretending as if they are engaging with an actual human. Others, like UNC Charlotte’s Matthew French, are pushing for more visibility around which companies use AI assessments. He aims to better equip his students with the interview skills they need.

Some remain skeptical that AI can effectively discern who will be successful in a given role, or that machines are entirely fair. Regardless, AI screenings are a reality that many will have to overcome to get their next job offer.


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