The Experis Digital Room for Manpower: Job Interview Preparation 2.0

The job interview of the future is (almost) already here! Welcome to the Digital Room, a digital interview preparation solution developed by Manpower through Experis, its division targeting executives. Presented for the first time during VivaTech 2017, the solution was further developed and fine-tuned to be presented during the Davos World Economic Forum in January of 2018 in the form of the avatar Zara. She will soon be ready for deployment. Raoul Mattei, Director General at Experis France, joins us for some follow-up on this ambitious project carried out by Experis in collaboration with Living Actor.

The project: developing a digital recruiter

The idea was born in January of 2017 during preparations for the Viva Technology convention (nicknamed “VivaTech”) organized each year by Publicis, focusing on innovation and startups. As the event’s HR partner, Manpower Group wanted to present an innovation of its own.
Prior to the show, the Experis Innovation and Digital Transformation team met for an intensive brainstorming session. They very quickly came up with the idea of working on a digital recruiter. The goal: to develop a tool making it possible to conduct interviews and successfully carry out conversations with job candidates.
The team was leaning toward the idea of a hologram—a technology that was in vogue during the presidential campaign—before finally agreeing on a chatbot-type avatar. Within two months, the beta version was in place and the tool was ready for demonstration (consisting of a recruitment interview and a personality test) in front of VivaTech participants.
Raoul Mattei reflects on the experience: “The feedback was very positive. After the demonstration, we were invited to perform another test during the Microsoft Experience conference in October. We all agreed that we needed to further develop our recruitment solution.” The goal: to create an avatar that could be personalized based on the needs identified upstream by recruiters. “To successfully complete this project, we needed a high-quality partner with excellent flexibility and availability.” Thus was born the partnership between Experis and Living Actor.

Chatbot technology to support digital recruitment

The relationship between Experis and Living Actor was forged during the summer of 2017 with our sights set on Microsoft Experience. The deadline was very tight—barely three months—and the mission was very important:

  • To create an avatarthat was able to speak the way we wanted it to speak and say what we wanted it to say.
  • To have a chatbot that was responsive and available in such a way that one could “use its services at any time, at any volume and without any technical constraints.

In other words, exactly the kind of criteria that Living Actor technology could meet pertinently and efficiently. As Raoul observes, “With their help and flexibility, we developed our avatar very quickly.
The team then presented the Digital Room project to the Manpower Global Director. Very interested, he asked if we could push the development of the digital recruitment solution even further, looking ahead to the Davos World Economic Forum in January of 2018. “This was when we presented Zara, our chatbot driven by artificial intelligence”, Raoul states proudly.
The Digital Room and the Chatbot Zara

See also: Is artificial intelligence indispensable for your chatbot?

The avatar Zara, the sensation of the Davos Forum

An avatar must have a face, a body… in short, a physical appearance that can eventually become the incarnation of the interviewer! In order to represent the specific recruitment nature of Manpower, Experis chose a woman dressed in a business suit as their first avatar.
An advantage of this avatar is that it can be modified as needed, for example, in the context of large-scale deployment. “The presentation at Davos was a bona fide success for the group. Zara attracted crowds, companies and journalists, alike. Now, we want to proceed to the next step: offering this service to Manpower’s clients.

Zara, the chatbot: interview 2.0

But how does Zara work? Raoul gives us a few details:

  • First, the candidate goes through a preliminary interview with Zara. “Our chatbot can manage a large volume of applicants with no risk of making a subjective selection. This is accomplished in a mass prequalification phase made possible through artificial intelligence.” All of the classic tests are included: multiple-choice questionnaires and personality tests, three to five open questions specific to the position, etc.
  • Next, the interview video is analyzed using AI. “With the aid of the building blocks of artificial intelligence that have been integrated into her program, Zara can analyze the candidate’s personality, vocabulary, logic, level of engagement and even behavior, based on facial expressions. We use solutions stemming from machine learning, as well as analytical tools that were developed internally at Experis.” This data is added to the results of the interview and the tests.
  • Last, a report is transmitted to the recruiter. This also includes recommendations. “If the candidate successfully completed the preliminary interview, Zara details the next phases of recruitment.

The human element isn’t left out of the equation. The Digital Room team centralizes the data, manages the chatbot’s development and ensures that it’s properly configured. In the event that Zara gets stuck, the recruiter takes over and completes the interview.
Thus, each client has the ability to configure the avatar like a Chatbot Manager, according to the company’s needs. Prequalification, quizzes, orientation and guidance, preliminary filtering, macro-evaluation, supplemental information on the candidates provided to the recruiter, etc. The only thing Zara doesn’t do is provide the complete final evaluation of the applicants.

Zara, the recruitment facilitator

The objective of the Zara chatbot is to facilitate the work of recruiters by presorting candidates and even “training” them to perform better during subsequent interviews. The digital recruitment solution makes a lot of sense when used by companies with considerable needs.
The technology is an invaluable aid, as it permits analyzing a large quantity of information in record time. “It’s the promise of ferreting out the best candidates very quickly and with the utmost objectivity,” Raoul remarks. “And the chatbot also helps give the company an innovative image!” Everything it takes to make Zara a differentiation tool…

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More than a simple high-tech project, the Digital Room is an innovative concept. One more revolution in a burgeoning field. Experis has yet to conduct testing under real-world conditions with real-life candidates. But feedback so far has been very positive 98 percent of the time. This might lead to rapid deployment among Manpower’s clients. To be continued…

Source image: ManpowerGroup