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LinkedIn Now Has an AI to Help With Your Interview Game

Illustration for article titled LinkedIn Now Has an AI to Help With Your Interview Game
Photo: Martin Bureau (Getty Images)

As a record number of Americans grapple with unemployment in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, LinkedIn’s rolled out some AI-powered tools to help job seekers prepare for the nightmare fuel that is the interviewing process.

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Nailing an interview takes practice, no matter if you’re sweating it out in person or via a live video feed, as many businesses have switched to these days as a result of the outbreak. As such, LinkedIn’s unveiled AI-powered instant feedback to popular interview questions as the newest addition to its interview prep tools, which the company originally launched last year. Here’s how it works: You record your answers to the standard interviewing fare (you know, questions about your greatest weaknesses and strengths, your five-year plan, etc.), to receive an artificially generated assessment based on “pacing, how many times filler words are used, and sensitive phrases to avoid,” according to LinkedIn.

This new feature’s still being rolled out globally, and you can check it out “immediately after you apply for jobs on the LinkedIn jobs home page,” per the company. And since machine learning can only go so far, you can also request personal feedback on your practice answers from your 1st-degree connections as well.

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“In light of the coronavirus, companies that continued to hire quickly moved interviews to virtual,” LinkedIn’s head of talent solutions and careers Blake Barnes told Gizmodo via email. “With this shift, we wanted to make it easier for job seekers to prepare for a virtual interview and stand out with hirers.”

With that in mind, the company’s also adding “virtual introductions” to better facilitate the hiring process in a digital environment. Hiring managers can request a short introduction from prospective candidates, who can then provide a video or written response. Since none of it is live, this tool lets job seekers tailor their first impression with potential employers—though it’s no substitute for the real deal, Barnes clarified.

“We want to give candidates a chance to demonstrate their soft skills and show why they’re a good fit for the role in a way that’s more personal than a resume,” he said. “It’s not a replacement for a two-way interview, rather it’s intended to help inform decisions of who to bring in for interviews and evaluate candidates beyond work experience and education.”

It does beg the question, though, whether such digital introductions could develop their own unspoken faux pas like the kinds that employers have come to look out for with in-person interviews. For example, I could see opting for a written response instead of a video one developing into a red flag for some hiring managers if they begin to read too far into it. To that end, Barnes emphasized that it’s important that hirers remain “objective and open-minded,” and that they “evaluate candidates based on how well they answer the question at hand, whether it’s video or written.”

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Gizmodo weekend editor. Freelance games reporter. Full-time disaster bi.

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DISCUSSION

arcanumv
Arcanum Five

Hiring managers are already among the most vile people on the planet. They’re definitely going to abuse this tool as soon as they can. All they do is look for red flags. Choose a video interview? You’re probably uncomfortable with real face-to-face interaction. Choose a written question? You’re probably not good a face-to-face communication. Choose an in-person interview? You’re probably afraid of technology. It’s a profession that’s fully committed to making sure every answer is wrong.

After all, these are the same idiots that have decided that if you’re at a company too long, you’re not ambitious enough, but if you leave too soon, you’re a job hopper.

Did you write a good cover letter? Sorry, this HR wonk only reads résumés and only if they pass her keyword scanner. Do you have a solid résumé and work history? Too bad, this HR wonk only reads cover letters and she has a very, very specific formula for those.*

How about an employment gap? Ouch, that’s fatal. You’re probably lazy. No gaps in employment? There’s probably something wrong or dishonest about that. No clear record of promotions? That’s probably your fault and definitely not the fact your current employer has very few upward mobility possibilities and that’s why you want to leave. Multiple positions in the same company? Hm, you probably keep getting moved from department to department because there’s something wrong with you.

* This is not made up. A major local employer has a secret cover letter formula.