Imagine a recruiter that treats all candidates the same, always ask the same questions and doesn’t care about appearance, gender or age. Well, you don’t have to imagine because she already exists! Introducing Tengai Unbiased, the social AI-robot who is programmed to conduct objective job interviews. Tengai is unique and a very effective recruitment tool because she can establish a “human” connection with candidates during her job interview. In comparison to the virtual interview robot, Tengai’s physical presence and social behavior make co-presence, proximity and behavioral realism possible, which are crucial to enhancing the candidate experience.
The immersive experience Tengai creates during an interview is one of the things that make the interview robot unique. Some have questioned if Tengai would be as effective as a virtual agent but the fact is, being a physical embodied social robot is crucial to the immersive candidate experience.
How Tengai Engages Candidates
Tengai engages the candidate during her blind interviews which leads to the enhanced user experience. The robot shows nonverbal “signs” of being aware of the job seeker like nodding appropriately, which creates a feeling of intimacy. The combination of her social behavior and her physical presence makes her relatable to candidates. The job seeker, therefore, gives more interactive responses when Tengai is perceived as “human-like”, which leads to enhanced user experience.
Physical robots are perceived more positively and believable, according to a metastudy that compared co-present robots, telepresence robots, avatars, and virtual agents. The hundreds of trial-interviews with Tengai came to the same conclusion. The majority of participants even said that they were able to express themselves better and more honest during the robot interview.
Physical Interview Robot with a Human Interface
Tengai’s physical presence in combination with her social behavior creates a social presence, or the feeling of being there with a “real” person, which is a crucial component of interactions. Furhat Robotics are specialists in social robots and are responsible for the foundation of Tengai’s human interface. Co-founder and CEO Samer Al Moubayed describes how the user experience is more engaging when it is immersive:
“When trying to describe a social robot’s user-experience, I usually use the analogy of Virtual Reality. What makes VR different from other “screens”, is that it is immersive. You can see the same thing when you look at your phone. But when you experienc it with a full field of view, it becomes exponentially more engaging.”
This makes the user “suspend their disbelief” and treat it as reality. A similar argument can be used for robots compared to seeing the same thing on a computer screen, talking to it on the phone, or chatting with it using text.
3 Ways Tengai Enhances the Interview Experience
Tengai is a tool for recruiters and hiring managers to objectively measure and assess soft-skills and personality traits. But to be effective the robot needs to create a realistic and comfortable job interview for the applicant. It’s almost impossible to create a social presence without a physical body. And without a social presence, the user experience will be negatively affected.
So what exactly makes a social presence possible for an AI-robot? There are three key reasons why a social robot needs a human interface and a physical presence in the same room with a human:
Co-presence is the effect of sharing the same experience with someone because you share the same physical space. Throughout human evolution, humans have always been co-present with each other. Being co-present in the same physical space as the candidate is key to how Tengai’s positively affect candidate experience. Because co-presence makes us believe that we share or have a very similar experience. So Tengai’s ability to actively show the job seeker that she is aware of the room is what creates co-presence. Tengai can look at the candidate in the eyes and blink naturally. These are signals humans give to confirm each other, which creates that sense of a shared experience.
2. Physical Proximity
Physical proximity is the study of physical distance and formation. The distance we have to another human when sitting in the same room will affect how the interactions will be. Sitting one meter away from someone is very different from sitting five meters away. Proximity in the context of sociology explores how people interact in the physical space. It is also how humans form relations and engage emotionally and socially. Physical distance is an important factor for humans. We only let people we trust stand close to us and prefer our enemies on an arms distance. Because Tengai sits in the room as the candidate we can apply very similar principles to human cognition and interaction.
3. Behavioral Realism
Behavioral realism definition is the complete absence, or presence, of nonverbal behavior. In Tengai’s case, the focus is on how consistent the nonverbal behavior is with actual humans (e.g., eye contact). Studies show that behavioral realism is a powerful predictor of perceived social presence. The more realistic an object’s representation is, the more realistic views the user gets. Because Tengai can smile, nod, and behaves in the way an actual person would behave, she creates a higher level of social presence. Tengai’s natural behavior creates a higher level of intimacy and connectedness since candidates experience her as “human-like”.