Not an Ordinary Candidate Experience

Tengai is an interview robot and recruitment tool that creates a more fair and exciting candidate experience. The social AI-robot doesn’t care about age, looks, gender or ethnicity. Neither will she judge candidates by their tone of voice or dialect. In addition, the HR-tech tool gives job seekers a virtual feeling of real human interaction. This makes them engage emotionally and socially, which is also proven to lead to more honest answers.

Until now, AI-robots have existed as robocalls, video interviews, avatars, and virtual agents. Cool for sure. But what they all lack is the immersive user experience that Tengai offers job seekers. The important difference here is that Tengai is both a physical and social robot, designed with a diversity and inclusion software powered by 15 years of unbiased recruitment.

During a job interview, Tengai asks all candidates the same questions in the exact same way and order. This makes the interview experience fair for all job seekers. During the 15–20 minute interview, Tengai constantly gives ‘human’ feedback. That includes nodding, smiling, leaning her head or saying “mhm”. The purpose is to encourage the candidate to give elaborate answers. And if the answer is too vague, Tengai might ask the candidate to give more concrete examples.

“The only thing that matters is what the candidate answers and not how they answer.”

All About User Experience

Candidate User Experience is crucial when it comes to the recruitment process. And it is now possible to change interfaces in order to create different kinds of user experiences.

For example, it’s very different using your mobile phone compared to a VR-headsets with earphones and goggles. The same goes for robots. What we believe is that using a chatbot/online-form to recruit someone is actually a very bad interface.

Sounds interesting?

How Candidates Experience the Robot Interview

We have divided the interview with Tengai into three different phases. First comes the welcome phase, then the job interview, and finally the thank you phase. The first and closing phases are designed to increase engagement and build trust with the applicant. The actual interview screens for soft skills and personality traits. The full robot interview takes about 15 to 18 minutes.

The Welcome Phase

  • Job seekers receive information over email on how the robot interview will be structured and how they can prepare.
  • On the day of the interview, before the interview starts, candidates get some undisturbed time to prepare by reading about the different competencies the job requires.
  • Job seekers can also use this time to decide how to best express their experiences through specific examples from work or study-related situations.

The Job Interview

  • During the interview, Tengai is placed on top of a table directly across from the candidate she interviews.
  • In the welcome introduction, Tengai briefly talks about the job at hand and the interview process. The purpose is to clarify what competencies the employer is looking for, so the candidate can focus on sharing desired qualities and experiences.
  • Tengai then – in a dialogue format – starts the interview.

The Thank You Phase

  • When the interview is over, Tengai wraps up the meeting and explains how to contact a recruiter if needed. Tengai also informs the candidate about the next steps in the recruitment process.
  • All applicants receive a thank you email with their individual interview transcript and the quality score-card recruiters use to evaluate competencies. Tengai thinks it’s important to share the transcripts with applicants since it can be a learning experience and can help them do better in future interviews.

Enhanced Interview Experience

of candidates said they could give a better/ more honest answer to the robot than to a human recruiter

of job seekers stated they would like to be interviewed by a robot again

Why a Physical Robot? The Value of a Human Interface

The core foundation of a social robot is that it is social. In other words, it allows the user to engage socially and emotionally with it, as if they were talking to a human sitting next to them. When people engage at that level and connect emotionally, they feel safer and can express themselves better and more honest.

The social AI-robot creates an unique experience for candidates. This was established by hundreds of test candidates in the trial interviews. Some participants were skeptical before entering the interview. However, the feedback showed an overwhelmingly positive user experience. Tengai’s human-looking face was perceived as familiar, creating a simulation to the human mind which made the job seeker feel secure.

And it is Tengai’s physical structure that makes two important social building blocks possible ; co-presence and proximity.

1. Co-presence

Co-presence is the effect of sharing the same experience with someone else due to them being in the same physical space. Throughout human evolution, humans have always been co-present with each other. Up until very recently, when the telephone, the radio, TV, and the internet was invented. In other words, a lot of evolution has been fitted to humans interacting in the physical space. This is extremely important for survival, building trust, and emotional connection. Because when we have someone co-present with us in the same space, we believe that they share the same experience as us.

This is also similar to what happens when interacting with Tengai. And it explains why the experience becomes powerful and trustworthy. Tengai has eyes, and a head, which means that the robot can actively show that she is aware of the room, and the user.  Tengai can also maintain eye contact with the human and smile. Which creates a sense of shared experience and connection that would be extremely difficult to replicate in a Skype call.

2. Proximity

Proximity is the study of physical distance and formation. The distance we have with another human when sitting in the same room decides a lot about how the interactions will be. Sitting 1 meter from someone is very different from sitting 2 or 5 meters. Proximity in sociology is a very big field of study of how people interact in the physical space. It also includes how they form relations and engage emotionally and socially depending on the physical setup.

In the context of recruiting, sitting 1–1.5 meters away from a candidate will give a sense of trust and confidence. Something that is probably very difficult to achieve with a Skype call, or by sitting 3–4 meters away. Humans have a very high sensibility to physical distance. This means that being too close is only for very trusted people, and being too far is only for enemies. And so on. Having a robot sit with you in the room means that we are applying similar principles to human cognition as that of when people interact with each other.