Tengai is the world’s first job interview robot that is being tested in Sweden. Will it do a better job than humans?
The job interview robot who won’t judge you is called Tengai, it measures 16 inches tall and weighs 77 lbs sitting at eye level on top of a table directly across from the candidate. It was created by Furhat Robotics, an artificial intelligence (AI) and social robotics company that resulted from a research project at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
The company has been developing a human-like computer interface that mimics the way humans speak and their subtle facial expressions for the last four years. And for about two years now they’ve been working with one of Sweden’s largest recruitment firms, TNG.
Their desire is to offer the world the first robot able to carry out unbiased job interviews. One might think that the robots are programmed by humans anyway, that they learn from human behavior and are biased, but the creators made sure the robot learned from different recruiters so as to not pick up the specific behavior of one recruiter. They wish to remove unconscious biases from the interview process and assure it does not make judgments based on skin color, ethnicity, accent or gender.
Basically, after the interview, recruiters or managers are given the text transcripts to help them decide which candidates should move to the next stage of the process. Elin Öberg Mårtenzon, chief innovation officer at TNG says:
“It typically takes about seven seconds for someone to make a first impression and about five to 15 minutes for a recruiter to make a decision. We want to challenge that.”
Next there will be a few months of trial, then Tengai will start interviewing candidates later in May. For now the robot speaks only Swedish but the developers are working on an English-language version that is expected to be ready by 2020. Plus, the final goal is for the robots to be sophisticated enough to not need for a human to review the interview transcripts, and decide for themselves whether a candidate can move to the next stage of recruitment.
How would you feel about being interviewed by a robot?