I know this will probably sound weird to many people (especially when everyone is on the “everything will be remote” wave now), but the post-COVID-19 losers are going to be chatbots and tools promising video pre-employment assessment with AI.
Current chatbots will lose because the future belongs to voice chatbots. Doing an interview through a text-based chatbot is just a different way of asking people to fill out a form. It’s not progress or an improvement of the candidate experience. It is just a way to kill the candidate experience. I did a test of 15+ chatbot interviews, and in every single chat, I asked for the company to contact me. I got zero responses. To me, it seemed like nobody was reading those answers, or recruiters were checking only those applications that were completed. Nobody was checking the incomplete applications, and that’s quite scary. Candidate selection is automated, and if that AI can’t read a typo correctly or doesn’t understand your answer correctly, your application will be rejected, and you will be removed as a candidate from the hiring process. That’s quite sad. On the other hand, maybe text-based chatbots really are amazing solutions, but companies can’t implement them properly, so it’s not that interactive experience. You are still just filling out a form.
Then there are all those video AI platforms and video personality evaluation tools, which I consider a trojan horses for companies. In 2018, Best Buy and CVS Caremark Corporation reached an agreement with EEOC to stop using personality tests as their automated hiring processes. Those tests were designed to predict how workers would perform, but EEOC and Best Buy’s tests between 2003 and 2010 showed that they discriminated against applicants based on race and national origin.
All those AI platforms and video personality evaluations don’t share their algorithms, so they’re currently just black boxes, and customers don’t know how exactly those tools work. Everything is hidden behind the buzzwords: “AI,” “machine learning,” etc. Using these tools will not magically end employment discrimination. In fact, they could make it worse. That’s why I wouldn’t invest a dime in those companies and tools. I think that within five years, those tools will be banned or heavily regulated, and the companies using those tools will face lawsuits. We cannot rely on automated AI hiring platforms without adequate safeguards to prevent unlawful employment discrimination.
Imagine people suing companies that use those AI video personality evaluation tools. EEOC holds companies accountable for the hiring decisions and tools they use in their processes, so companies using those tools need to realize that they are liable for biases caused by the tools. It will be interesting to see how those companies will defend themselves if they don’t have any idea how the tools’ algorithms work and select candidates.
The winners will be tools focusing on productivity, learning, and team collaboration. The world will not be fully remote, as everyone is saying now. Instead, the world will be flexible. Companies will build more flexible offices—let’s call them hubs—where employees can go for a meeting with the team. People will still be using offices, but they will have more flexibility about when they want to work from home or anywhere else. Companies will also invest more in online learning and LMS tools because they will realize how important skilled employees are in a situation like the COVID quarantines.