Russian bank picks employees thanks to robot recruiter

Maria Nikolova

Vera checks CVs and calls candidates that fit the criteria for a given position at the bank.

The Ural Bank for Reconstruction and Development has made another step in the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. The bank has entrusted the selection of its future employees to a robot recruiter named Vera.

Vera (a typical Russian name, which means “Faith”) checks the CVs of the applicants and then calls the candidates that fit the criteria for a given position. The first weeks of testing of the new system have shown that it may handle up to 90 calls a day, about two times more than a typical, human employee in the same role does.

The tests of the new solution continue and in several months the bank will decide whether Vera will get a permanent contract.

The rationale behind Vera’s deployment is that it helps optimize the work process – the heavy monotone tasks are devoted to robots, whereas human employees are allowed to devote their time to tasks that require non-standard solutions and creative thinking.

Russian banks have been active in embracing robotics. One of the most notable examples is Sberbank. In January this year, the bank said it plans to make 3,000 of its employees redundant, as it seeks to replace them with a robot lawyer. There is more gloomy news for the human staff at the bank, as Herman Gref – CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, has unveiled further plans for workforce reduction. The number of employees in back office roles at the bank will be reduced 12 times by 2021.

The adoption of AI systems by banks is not necessarily related to workforce size reduction. In fact, many see such moves as an opportunity to elevate the quality of human work. In August, digital Nordic bank Nordnet announced the hiring of its first digital employee – Amelia, who will work side by side with her human colleagues in the customer relations department. Commenting on the addition of Amelia to the bank’s team, Nordnet’s CEO Peter Dahlgren pointed out that it is AI that is capable of meeting the individual needs of each customer and this has been the primary reason for investing in the adoption of Amelia. Furthermore, he noted, Amelia’s colleagues will be able to dedicate more time to activities that have more value. As a result, “humans can focus on what humans do”, he said.

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