The Machine Will Interview You Now

Recently, a colleague of mine told me how she was required to fill out an online job application and then was told to expect a call for an interview.  What she got was an interview by a machine.  She was told to give a response and then hit # when done.  No person to interview, no follow up questions, no engagement at all, nothing.  About the time I think I am hearing everything, I hear this one.  As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, I read about hiring and employee retention all the time and have never heard this one before.

Hiring for fit is one of the primary ways that an organization can reduce turnover as part of their employee retention strategies.  I have to make the assumption that a real person listens to the responses and makes a value judgement on the person’s qualification and fit for the job.  Even if that is the case, I would have serious doubts about the process.  How can you tell if the person has fit by asking just some rote questions?  To be successful, you need to listen intently and ask follow-up questions, probe into answers and get to know the person.  That is what fit is all about.  Taking a recording and playing it back certainly eliminates those nuances of interviewing that are essential.

Fit is such an important part of employee retention and success on the job that leaving all these elements out of the process reduces the likelihood they will pick the right person.  From this employee retention trainer’s perspective, you also make the organization look like it is impersonal, cold and not terribly concerned with the people side of the relationship.  This sends a negative message right from the start.  Assuming the person makes it through the hiring process, you have embedded this bizarre impersonal experience into the person’s head.  So, what is the new hire thinking?  They are thinking that the organization is impersonal and simply concerned with filling the spot.

From the employee retention strategies perspective, you have already got the new employee wondering about how the organization handles other things.  Then add in experiences that are handled in a depersonalized way and you are setting up a recipe for employee turnover.  The idea is to create a family so people feel a part of something special so they don’t want to leave.  Starting your entire process off by being interviewed by a robot is NOT the way to build family.  Perhaps this is designed to be a more efficient way to screen candidates but I find it hard to believe that it is a practice that is going to improve this organization’s employee retention.

Jeff Kortes

jeff@humanassetmgt.com

Jeff speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.