The Daily Tar Heel
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Internship season is well and truly upon us. If you’re a junior, like me, you’re likely knee-deep in applications and frequently experiencing anxiety-induced nightmares about missing deadlines. At this point, most of us could probably recite our resume word for word and write a cover letter in our sleep. 

Why the stress, you ask? Oh, it’s only our careers on the line. The dream is to snatch up an internship this summer and impress them so much that they offer you a job once you graduate. That way, instead of losing hair your senior year over scoring a job offer, you can actually, I don’t know, enjoy it before adulthood takes its full form.

Two weeks ago, I got my first email from a company requesting an interview with me after reviewing my application. When I read the email past the word "congratulations," I found instructions on how to complete a recorded interview. 

When I consulted my friends for advice on how to perform best in these types of interviews, I found out that not only had most of them completed similar interviews, but they also had been introduced to interviews using artificial intelligence. This was news to yours truly. 

Turns out, these AI interviewers could track how often you smile, when your eyes stray from the camera and your use of filler words. 

AI is everywhere now. It’s in our phones, our cars, our homes and even our classrooms with platforms such as ChatGPT. It’s at the forefront of most conversations surrounding innovation and I imagine companies are in a race to see who can utilize it best and fastest. And if we can trust it to steer our cars, then we can trust it to staff our workplaces, right?

Harvard Business Review estimates as many as 86% of all employers are now limiting or eliminating human involvement in the initial stages of the interview process and replacing the interviewer with artificial intelligence.

As an introvert, I was initially excited about this new interviewing approach, as I don’t always love meeting new people. However, this experience taught me that I would certainly rather talk to a real human when trying to make a case for myself. 

Explaining my portfolio and passions to my laptop camera felt weirdly dehumanizing. The only thing guaranteed to listen to my answers were the four walls of my house. 

With another person on the other side of a screen, you can read their body language and assess their verbal cues. You can get to know them, appeal to their interests, ask them questions and let your personality do some of the heavy lifting. It’s a chance for them to get to know you and for you to get to know the company. It’s an equalizer in many respects. 

Many companies have an extensive list of the requirements to apply to their internship or job. You need a resume, a cover letter, a transcript, a work sample and a recommendation letter. Most of us spend hours perfecting these items until we’re ready to pull the trigger and click “submit application,” now only to be met with a request for an AI interview.

It’s valid to be upset after putting your blood, sweat and tears into an application and then seeing that they can’t spare one person for a 30-minute interview. If you were in more of a position to be picky, this might completely turn you off from joining a company. 

If you get the impression you’re not worth the attention of a real human, you might want to take your talents elsewhere — while experience is important, so is knowing your worth and knowing when to advocate for yourself. 

If a company decides your first introduction to them should be with a robot, I think that can potentially be representative of its general workplace culture. Will you be a valued member of a team or just another pencil-pushing employee?

The AI interview process isn’t perfect either. The AI can misinterpret certain emotions or body language while also failing to consider disabilities or cultural differences. Furthermore, if a candidate were to get ghosted by a company following an AI interview, they may never learn where they went wrong without feedback. 

AI has possibly made the lives of HR employees everywhere easier by streamlining the resume screening process and sifting through hundreds of potentially incompatible candidates. Unfortunately, it can also create a lack of transparency that can lead to confusion and mistrust between a candidate and an employer. And while AI may be more efficient, it can’t replace the discretion and intuition of an interviewer when evaluating a candidate. 

I’m all for innovation, but I just imagined my job search to be a little more interactive and a little less…dystopian.

@dthopinion |

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