Forget in-person interviews: Companies are turning to phone calls to hire, and sometimes there isn't even a real person on the line

Shutterstock/joklingheroThese automated interviews are meant to streamline the hiring process.

Desperate employers in a tight job market are trying out a new kind of job interview: Automated phone calls in which a candidate answers a series of pre-recorded questions. What that means is that on these interviews, candidates effectively talk to themselves.

More and more companies, from healthcare and insurance companies to retailers, restaurants, and law firms, are implementing this type of automated interview, the Wall Street Journal reported. But it may not be ideal for candidates.

Jeremy Maffei told the Journal that his first automated interview for a digital marketing job in Florida caught him off guard.

“I blanked out,” he told the Journal. When asked to answer a common job interview question about his greatest success and biggest failure, he couldn’t figure out whether his answers “resonated,” adding that it was “highly impersonal.”

Recruiters told the Journal that this tactic is meant to lock in prospective employees as quickly as possible amid a nationwide labour shortage. The US unemployment rate is at 3.7% and there are more job openings than unemployed people.


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It’s not the first unusual strategy employers have started using to attract talent in a tight job market.

Some companies are offering people jobs after a single phone interview, Business Insider previously reported, a practice that’s mainly being seen with seasonal jobs at retail companies such as Macy’s and Bath & Body Works.But employees have also reported it happening for roles including teachers, engineers, and IT professionals.

And as Business Insider’s Rachel Premack previously reported, companies across the country are swapping out job title keywords like “associate” with ones like “evangelist,” “rock star,” and “ninja” in order to appeal to younger employees.

Have you ever had an experience with an automated phone interview? Email the reporter at [email protected]

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