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Swedish job candidates to be grilled by robotic interviewer

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Swedish job candidates to be grilled by robotic interviewer
The robot, Tengai, was developed by Furhat Robotics at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in partnership with recruitment firm TNG. Photo: Naina Helén Jåma/TT
13:18 CEST+02:00
Upplands-Bro has become the first municipality in Sweden to use robots for recruitment.

The purpose of the robots, which were developed by Furhat Robotics at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in partnership with recruitment firm TNG, is to ensure applicants face the same interview procedure without the interviewer relying on gut feeling, TT reports.

The council in Upplands-Bro has already worked for some time on the development of anonymized application and CV-free recruitment.

“It is becoming very popular for organisations to be able to say they have a discrimination-free recruitment process. We want to take this idea as far as possible,” said Havva Ilhan, deputy head of staff at the municipality.

The robot, Tengai, will be used as the Upplands-Bro administration selects a new digital coordinator.

“All we want to know is what skills the candidate has. We are not interested in hobbies, family relationships, age or anything else that is immaterial and can create a preconceived image of the person when we choose who will go forward in the recruitment process,” Ilhan said.

The municipality is so-far undecided as to whether to use the robot to fill future vacancies.

The idea is that Tengai will enable a human recruiter to be absent at the beginning of the process, without completely replacing that person, according to Ilhan.

Stefan Fölster, head of thinktank Reform Institute and author of the book Robotrevolutionen: Sverige i den nya maskinåldern (Robot Revolution: Sweden in the New Age of Machines) praised the use of robots in experiments to reduce discrimination, but said it was not certain they would take over recruitment in the long run.

“This is most useful for large companies which receive tens of thousands of applications that they have to sort through. But let’s say you are a business with five employees – then I think it’s also important to hire someone who is fun to be with,” Fölster said.

READ ALSO: Don't worry, robots aren't coming to take our jobs: Swedish report

 
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