This Unnerving Russian Robot Could Decide Whether Or Not You Get The Job You Want


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


S'up, Vera. Robot Vera

It’s likely plenty of you have gone for job interviews at some point in your presumably nascent lives, but comparatively few of you have probably conducted the interviews yourself. For some companies, prepping and conducting interviews is a weirdly exciting time – but for others, it’s merely time-consuming, to which one Russian startup has an answer: Vera.

She’s not a person, though, but a virtual construct that, as spotted by the Washington Post, interviews around 1,500 job candidates per day, sends follow up emails, and – of course – works for free. She’s literally a robot, which comes from the Czech meaning “forced labor” or “slave”.


Robot Vera, powered by bespoke artificial intelligence (AI) software, is able to converse in a fairly human way to any potential job-seekers; her software means she gets better at conversing over time, which makes you wonder how the very first interviewees felt when presented with this slightly unnerving creation.

That’s right: this isn’t a mere prototype. Despite the fact that the company was founded only back in 2017, it’s already being used by several hundred Russian companies who wish to simplify their job hunt. That means that the single system is conducting around 50,000 interviews per day, mostly for blue-collar job mass recruitment drives. The Russian IKEA outlets have even joined in.

Seemingly programmable with each employer’s needs, Vera – according to the company’s website – picks suitable resumes, calls the candidates to ask a few questions, then holds a video interview. If the person on the other end isn’t sure exactly what they’re talking to, Vera announces her arrival by describing herself as a robot.

Ah, the future. Robot Vera

The strangest part of the process is that Vera can apparently respond to people’s questions, but it only gets it right 82 percent of the time, which may lead to some bemusing interactions.


Sure, you’ve got points for efficiency here, and you may be able to use this to connect with job-seekers that may otherwise slip through the net. Conversely, we suspect that for job-seekers hoping to interact with the company they’re potentially excited to work for, being met with Vera may be quite literally dehumanizing.

In any case, this isn’t the first time complex software like this has been used in job interviews. As noted by the Guardian, even if you’re not having a conversation with an AI, otherwise silent tech products can be used to look for incredibly small verbal and non-verbal cues during otherwise human interviews, which may reveal things about a candidate that the employers miss.

In all these cases, the use of AI is meant to augment and speed up the industry, just like any other. That’s fine, of course – as long as it doesn’t replace human interaction in this sense altogether in the name of efficiency.


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