AI helps applicants hone their soft skills
As millions of workers look for new positions due to the coronavirus pandemic, artificial intelligence can help job candidates fine-tune their interview skills and stand out from the crowd.
HR tech and recruiting company, CareerArc, launched a new interview assessment tool that uses artificial intelligence to highlight candidates’ soft skills, like organization and creativity. The feature, released this week as part of CareerArc Outplacement, helps job seekers learn how to market those traits on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles — which makes it easier for employers to identify the best candidates for open positions, CareerArc executives say.
“The most important thing job seekers can do right now is to use this time to make themselves more marketable, and our coaches are on standby seven days a week to help do just that,” says Yair Riemer, president of career transition services at CareerArc. “With this new assessment, our career coaches can better counsel job seekers to emphasize their unique strengths, while building the confidence they need to find their next opportunity as quickly as possible.”
Since March, more than 22 million people in the United States have been left unemployed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job seekers are increasingly turning to placement services — Riemer says 99% of CareerArc’s clients are currently unemployed.
The CareerArc assessment starts with having a user record and upload three videos of themselves responding to common interview questions. The software uses psychometric technology, pioneered by experts at University of Southern California and Purdue University, to analyze facial expressions to determine a candidate’s soft skills. Riemer says the software can determine whether a candidate is organized, creative, a formal or informal speaker and whether they communicate assertively or are more laid back.
“Soft skills are harder to learn, and it’s important they align with the job description because they definitely impact job performance,” Riemer says. “Having candidates who are self-aware of how their traits fit the role means [employers] will find someone who can meaningfully contribute to the company.”
Once they have an assessment of their traits, CareerArc places users with one of their career coaches to help decipher the results. The coaches also help candidates use the results to tweak their online presence and application materials.
“Most people don’t know how to highlight or market soft skills; resumes typically focus on hard skills,” Riemer says. “But our coaches are able to pick out keywords that grab the attention of recruiters and employers to help our candidates get noticed. Candidates will also come away more confident, with the skills to talk about their personal strengths.”
Going forward, Riemer says he’d like to extend the software to employers and recruiters so they can use it as part of their candidate evaluation process. He also sees potential for employers to offer the program to their employees as a means of improving their intrapersonal skills as they seek advancement opportunities within the company. CareerArc plans to hear from employers before pursuing either idea.
In the meantime, CareerArc plans to monitor the program’s results as job seekers continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
“With the current job market, job seekers need tools and insights that will help them stand out from the crowd,” CareerArc CEO Robin D. Richards says.