For some college graduates, landing a first job means making a good impression on a chatbot.

What’s new: University guidance counselors around the U.S. are preparing students for interviews with AI-powered screening algorithms, according to CNN.

How it works: Companies like Yobs and HireVue filter candidates for hundreds of corporate customers. Applicants submit videos of themselves answering pre-determined questions. The software then rates their language skills as well as non-verbal elements like tone, pitch, and emotional tenor. HireVue also evaluates body language and facial expressions.

  • Acing an interview with an algorithm requires updating age-old social skills, like making eye contact with a laptop camera and making sure the computer’s speakers hear your upbeat, confident tone of voice.
  • Software company Big Interview is developing an AI-scoring system to help prepare students for interviews with bots. Yobs offers a similar service.

Yes, but: Training job hunters to look at the camera and project confidence is a good idea whether they’re talking to a bot or a human being. But critics question whether current AI is capable of reliably matching verbal or body language with traits that make for a good hire. Princeton University computer science professor Arvind Narayanan called AI applicant-screening programs “elaborate random number generators” in a talk last year.

Why it matters: Millions of college graduates enter the global job market every year. Good AI could help hiring managers pluck the most qualified candidates from a deluge of resumes. Bad AI could knock many great applicants out of the running.

We’re thinking: AI screening systems still need to prove themselves effective and reasonably bias-free. Meanwhile, we welcome tools that can improve, at scale, job opportunities for deserving individuals who otherwise might not hear from a recruiter.

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