IESE MBA

A student's personal journey at IESE Business School

Can a chatbot take a job interview instead of me?

Introducing my very own chatbot that can answer any type of interview questions. It’s still pretty stupid but I’m pretty proud given the effort I put in it. Please start a conversation with me!

Idea

Aren’t all interviews scripted? The interviewer knows the questions she’s going to ask in advance and you kind of prepared statements about 10-12 topics that are usually asked during job interviews. Is it that farfetched to think that a chatbot could actually replace me during a job interview?

Execution

The quickest way to do a chatbot is to use Dialogflow. It’s kind of a SAAS by Google allowing you to program your own bot. It has integrations with Slack, Facebook Messenger, LINE, Skype, etc… so you can deploy it immediately and super fast. It’s quite easy to grasp (no programming skills needed).

Let me try to explain how this works. Basically your users will interact with the bot. Those interactions will trigger an automatic reply from the bot. The idea is to train your bot to grasp some sense out of the request and reply to the matching answer.
In the case of the interview bot, if someone says “tell me about yourself”, the bot needs to understand the questions and select the “about” reply that you prepared. Machine learning enters into play because there are tons of ways of meaning the same thing. “Tell me about you”, “why don’t you introduce yourself”, “Introduce yourself”, “Tell me about your experiences”. The Dialogflow engine will do training on its own, but you need to show him if the decisions he takes are correct.

I also wanted to feed him thousands of messages I gathered from my Whatsapp conversations. Hoping that it would learn from them and speak more like me. This failed because the bot only tries to match user requests with prepared answers. It does not learn just from talking to you, the conversations need to be directed to a purpose (in this case job interview questions).

Having this in mind though, I gathered online around 400 frequently asked questions during a job interview and trained my bot to answer them. I covered topics varying from weaknesses and strengths, conflict management, hobbies, languages, etc… Unsurprisingly, it can handle a few requests, but can’t really deep dive into any topic (theoretically it could,

Conclusion

It was pretty cool to create a chatbot. But it’s limitations are clear. A chatbot is pretty stupid. Unless I spend months on it, it’s unlikely that I would trust it during a job interview. I haven’t tried out all the features of DialogFlow, but I would say it’s not allowing automation that much. It’s a quick awesome tool if you need a FAQ chatbot, I don’t think it’s ideal to create MVPs.

Finally, this little project gave me some cool ideas that I might investigate in the future. Imagine a chatbot that helps you practice for your interviews?
A chatbot that could read your replies and give you feedback! I started already here, but it’s far from finished! I think the hardest part will be to parse the answers from the users and give constructive feedback!

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