It certainly couldn't hurt, Ann - and who knows - maybe in the future that will be the way interviews are conducted given the propensity of this generation to conduct social interaction via technology...
I agree, Nancy, six avatars would produce a different set of data and social stressors than would six humans face to face. It sounds a lot like a video game to me, too, but I bet it would also be helpful to some people.
But it would discount the elements of body language and spacial relationships that are at play in this type of scenario. I try to picture that Ann, and it just makes me feel like I would be playing a game on the Wii - which would probably be a good venue for this sort of thing.
Six avatars probably couldn't produce the same dynamic--but that's an interesting idea, because they probably could be programmed to give unexpected random questions, which might produce similar effects.
I think it can be used as another tool in your toolbox, but doesn't take the place of live interaction. My daughter works for Whole Foods and whenever an employee wants to apply for a different position, they are required to go through a panel interview. In my electronics interviewing career I have also experienced this on several occasions. What we did for our daughter is conduct a mock interview with six of us randomly asking her questions. I don't think six avatars could produce the same dynamic - nor can one do so completely compared to a real human. But as much as I cringe at adding anything that further curbs my fifteen year old son's learning how to interact socially with real people - I think the avatar can provide a great starting point for practice and getting comfortable with being questioned.
Rob, that makes sense, and is what I was thinking. Being interviewed by an avatar takes a great deal of unprogrammed responses out of the equation. While that may be good for some people, it's probably not so good for the rest of us. In my 20s and 30s when I used to do role-playing for in-person job interviews, we always used unexpected questions. And during the 80s and 90s, in Silicon Valley anyway, you expected an especially tough time with all kinds of questions from an interviewer that were geared to get you off balance.
Ann, I think for non-austic folks, a live coach would be more effective, since interacting with a human is a good portion of what the interview is all about. I had an interview for editing job once and the owner who was doing the interview pointed out a typo on my resume. Her point in pointing out the typo was to see how I would respond to ciricism or correction. I laughed -- quite naturally -- when she pointed it out, which told her I could take criticism. Don't know how good a test it was, but the point is, the interview is supposed to have a few unanticipated surprises.
My wife uses a more primitive version of this for teaching autistic children. It doesn' have the interactive ability described here; the children are taught to mimic what they see on screen. They run the scene repetitively to practice proper responses.
That's a great point, Nadine. I have a teenage daughter with autism, and this work work great with her. I hadn't thought of that. She spends a lot of time online, and unlike her sister who uses technology to connect with peers, my autistic daughter uses technology to learn about animals.
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