Meet Russian Robot That’s Hiring Humans

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Vera
Vera can make a selection of 5 job sites according to your requirements in a few minutes

Robot Vera can cut the time and cost of recruiting by a third, its creators say. Now they’re teaching it to recognize anger, pleasure, and disappointment.

A Russian startup is using Robot Vera, artificial intelligence software designed for recruiting, to help its 300-odd clients—including PepsiCo, Ikea, and L’Oréal—fill vacant jobs. (Yes, with humans.)

The Benefit

Vera speeds the vetting of high-turnover service and blue-collar positions (clerks, waiters, construction workers), cutting the time and cost of recruitment by as much as a third, according to its creators. The software can interview hundreds of applicants simultaneously via video or voice calls, narrowing the field to the most suitable 10 percent of candidates.

  • Vera selects suitable resumes from 5 job sites
    Vera can make a selection of 5 job sites according to your requirements in a few minutes
  • Vera will call the candidates and tell them about the job
    Using modern technologies, Vera can call the candidates and recognize their speech
  • Vera will interview the best candidates
    Vera will send a description of the job to all candidates and will hold a
    video interview

Innovators

Vladimir Sveshnikov (28) and Alexander Uraksin (30), co-founders of Stafory, a 50-person startup in St. Petersburg

Read: Will Artificial Intelligence Take Over The World?

Origin

The co-founders, with a background in human resources, two years ago found themselves making hundreds of calls to candidates who’d lost interest in the given job or couldn’t be located. “We felt like robots ourselves, so we figured it was better to automate the task,” Uraksin says.

Robot Vera
Robot Vera

Development

Vera, named after Sveshnikov’s mother, combines speech recognition technologies from Google, Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Russia’s Yandex. Programmers fed 13 billion examples of syntax and speech from TV, Wikipedia, and job listings to expand the software’s vocabulary and help it speak more naturally and understand responses.

Deployment

The robot started working in Russia in December 2016, and Stafory has since added clients in the Middle East and pilot projects in Europe and the U.S. The company says its revenue will top $1 million this year.

The Verdict

Human recruiters still vet the candidates cleared by Vera. Sveshnikov and Uraksin are working to teach the bot to recognize anger, pleasure, and disappointment, but even if it can gauge emotions, Vera shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for traditional HR departments, says Mikhail Chernomordikov, a Microsoft Corp. strategist in Dubai. “Final decisions on hiring,” he says, “are reserved for humans.”

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