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Clare Burnett

World first in avatar technology from York-based company

A new online video interview software platform, Shortlister.com, has been unveiled which uses life-like avatars to pose questions in the place of the recruiter whilst providing an engaging experience for the candidate.

The sophisticated web based software is believed to be the first in the world to use avatars to conduct interviews and has been developed to enable hiring companies to save money and money as well as improving the candidate’s recruitment experience.

Founded by David Dewey and based at York St John University’s creative incubator, the Phoenix Centre, Shortlister.com has been designed to save employers time in the initial selection process by simulating real life interviews, as well as managing liaison and feedback with candidates.

“The advances in video conferencing and call technology in recent years have led to a dramatic increase in the use of video devices in every aspect of our lives, and recruiters are now taking advantage of these benefits,”

Research undertaken by Shortlister.com shows that 58% of working people between the ages of 18 and 50 in the UK now use video calling at work or home, and within the 18 – 24 age group that figure rises to 64%.

David said: “By using an avatar to conduct the interview, our software ensures that the process is professional and consistent whilst also enabling the recruiting company to hire higher quality candidates as a result of using this innovative technology .

“For candidates, it makes the experience as natural as possible, simulating interaction with a real person and allowing them to focus on effectively answering the interview questions and presenting themselves professionally,”

With the average cost per hire in the UK believed to be over £5,000, it is estimated that using this latest software delivers a 43% saving on the cost of screening by significantly reducing the time involved in the hiring process.

Employers using the software can design interviews utilising life-like avatars to carry out the interviews and invite candidates to take part.

“From the perspective of a candidate, I know how frustrating the recruitment process can be and I felt that given the advances in digital technology, it should be possible to recreate an interview scenario with minimal time input from the recruiter whilst being totally engaging for the candidate.”

“We were fortunate to secure significant investment a leading entrepreneur, Tim Whitworth, who co-founded and built the retail business Republic which had thousands of staff and who understands perfectly the employer’s challenges in recruiting a large team.

“Using the programme, employers can quickly create a branded interview by transferring their scripted questions from text to speech, delivered by life-like avatars.”

Tim Whitworth adds: “Having first hand knowledge of the challenges and costs of being responsible for recruitment in a large business with a 2,500-plus workforce, I could immediately see the huge benefits offered by a professional online interviewing service which provides candidates and recruiters with a life-like interview experience.”

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