“Video responses to set questions, online games that measure a person’s traits and skills: The future of interviews is coming to a wider variety of professions in the pandemic.” J. Weed, The New York Times, Nov. 27, 2020
Excerpt: Job Interviews Without Interviewers, Products of the Pandemic, By Julie Weed, Nov. 27, 2020
“So much of our work lives has moved online during the pandemic: group meetings, chats with the boss — even interviewing for a new job. The pandemic has also led companies to conduct ‘interviews’ without an interviewer. Job applicants are being asked to video record answers to set questions about their experience, skills and personal qualities, rather than speaking with a recruiter by phone or video chat. So-called case questions that pose a business problem and would typically lead into a 30-minute conversation with a hiring manager may now require solely written responses. Online tests in the form of games aim to measure job-seekers’ cognitive and personal traits.
The new systems are used most often for high turnover hourly jobs like fast-food worker, phone representative or warehouse employee, said Madeline Laurano, founder of Aptitude Research, a firm based in Boston that studies business hiring practices. But the systems are beginning to be used more often for professional jobs, too, especially in the financial, consulting, technology and health industries, she said.
Recruiters who use the systems no longer have to spend large parts of their days in the back and forth of scheduling interviews — the software handles that.
The company can evaluate more applicants by reviewing more videos, written responses and game results, less encumbered by interviewers’ schedule restrictions.
Hiring bias, too, can be reduced using the new technology, since each applicant is asked the same questions in the same way, making performances easier to compare objectively… The pandemic has accelerated the use of this technology. In February… 58 percent of businesses were using or considering using digital hiring systems, including ones with the ability for applicants to schedule their own appointments online and participate in video interviews, either with a recruiter or recorded.”
In Response to the Attack on Our Capitol By Cowards:
“My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week’s attack on the Capitol.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger~ January 6, 2021
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming
Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about the topic. Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Now there are online games that can measure a person’s traits.
- In the past, applicants spoke with a recruiter by phone.
- So-called case questions that pose a business problem would typically lead into a 30-minute conversation.
- Online tests in the form of games aim to measure job-seekers’ cognitive and personal traits.
- The new systems are used most often for high turnover hourly jobs.
- The company can evaluate more applicants by reviewing more videos.
- Hiring bias, too, can be reduced using the new technology.
- Some of the new systems can answer questions about benefits using chatbots.
- There are tools that can be used to test the programming acumen of software engineers.
- Technical snafus still happen.
Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions
Directions: The following sentences are from the news article. For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.
Some Prepositions: at, as, across, around, about, by, during, for, from, in, into, of, on, to, over, off, through, up, with, since,
- So much ___our work lives has moved online ____the pandemic.
- Job applicants are being asked ___video record answers ___set questions ___their experience.
- Recruiters who use the systems no longer have ___spend large parts ___their days ___the back and forth___scheduling interviews.
- Some ___the new systems can contact references, answer questions___ benefits using chatbots, and send along training modules ___newly hired employees.
Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- “The new systems are used most often for high turnover hourly jobs like fast-food worker, phone representative or warehouse employee.”
- “The face-to-face interviews don’t really work that well because there is unconscious bias, and some people may not know how to do an interview well.”
- “Sixty percent of the nearly five million interviews conducted so far this year using his company’s video recording software were completed after work hours.”
- “It feels weird… With a person, she can receive cues on how things are going, like encouraging nods or requests for details.”
- “They reduce bias in hiring because they evaluate personal qualities that applicants can possess without attending elite colleges or fitting into a preconceived image of what a ‘good’ candidate looks like.”
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- What is the purpose of online tests in the form of games?
- Which professional jobs are starting to use the new technology?
- Why are recruiters no longer required to conduct job interviews?
- How does a company evaluate applicants with this new process?
- How is hiring bias reduced with the new technology?
- When using video recorded interviews, what can an applicant do if they do not like the manner in which they answered a question?
- According to the article what a some of the problems that might occur with the new technology?
- According to Ms. Tobón which part of the recorded interview takes more practice? Why?
- What are some of the ways companies can reduce the stress on applicants making videos?
- After reading this article which do you prefer, online or in-person interviews? Explain why.
- What new information have you learned from this article?
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.