Looking for a new job in Vienna/Austria? Please train our speech bots!

Recently I applied for several roles advertised online by various recruiting companies Acting in Europe. From one (Austrian Vienna-based) recruiting firm (let’s call it “HRBerater”) I did not receive anything back – except a first time automated email fired to all of the rejected candidates. When I applied for other 2 positions, no other reply (email or phone).
As any newbee (or soul returning) to the jobs market, I was devastated. I thought (wrongly of course) that my profile was so bad, that nobody from HRBerater even bothered to look at my CV again. Or give me any kind of feedback.
Then, one recent cold January evening, my heart was again beating faster. I received an email from them! An email! I dropped what I was doing and opened it. The unexpected email looked as below:

“Dear Mr. XXX MBA, YYY Title, ZZZ Title,

We – HRBerater – invite you to take part in our study for non-native English speakers that we and Start-UpCo (a German company) conduct together.

As part of an innovative product evaluation & development via online study we are investigating the interdependency between non-native English speech, communication styles and various personality factors. The participation is absolutely anonymous and free of charge! As a thank you for your participation you will receive your psychological profile of the impact of your speech as soon as the technology is validated including some hints how to improve.

You can find a short video about Start-UpCo here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch/Start-UpCoGermanVideoForNonGermanSpeakers

Criteria for participation:
– Native speaker of one of the following languages: EastEuropeLanguage1, 2 ..
English language speaker on level C1 or higher

What to expect:
The study comprises two aspects:

1. A standardized and automated telephone interview in English to record the verbal expressions of the language (duration approx. 15 min)
2. An online questionnaire in English to assess personality factors (duration approx. 25 min)

Attached you will find the Q&A about our study and sample results from Start-UpCo.

If you are interested in taking part in our study, please let us know by answering on this e-mail. Thank you for considering being part of a speech diagnostic development.

Best Regards,
HRBerater Representative Name”

Let me “translate” this email for myself and for the recruiting company then:

“Dear ex-one-like-any-other Candidate,

We noticed that you took the opportunity to apply to one of very valued advertised job openings. Following your application, we at HRBerater took the opportunity to retain your profile and share it with our commercial partners, as well as to utilize it for further commercial uses. To enlarge your future benefits, we would like to suggest to use your plenty of free time to help us.

What great opportunity are we HRBerater offering you today?

We would like to invite you to support us in developing a language recognition software. Rest assured, our partner Start-UpCo was fully briefed on your profile and kindly pre-accepted your potential support. Now smile!

What to expect:
1. Talking to a machine learning program and recording you for 15 minutes.
2. An online written personality test for about 25 minutes.

As a thank you for your participation you will receive your submission back packed nicely – of course, as soon as we will deem fit to share our outputs with you.

If you are burning with impatience to help us create a speech analysis bot for large commercial uses in less studied languages, please reply to this email. Thank you for being a nice team player in our commercial alliances.

best regards”

On a more serious note, I find it odd that recruiting companies, in a EU country, are trying to circumvent the GDPR rules and trying to involve the candidates in developing commercial products. All these hours will be spent for the goodwill of advancing a commercial technology and a vague promise of a an intangible return – fully discretionary.

I guess what is more surprising me is how HRBerater & Co are treating their candidates. I would expect from an Austrian company with a nice market reputation to abide somehow by a Code of Conduct – if not their own, at least an industry one. Yet, as I noticed many times in practice, in various Austrian business sectors there can be a lot of smoke and PR with little support in the business model itself…

Now dear reader, it is your turn – what do you think about these practices? Feel free to comment at this blog post or at the following email address:
Youronlineprofiler at gmail dot com

And dear HRBerater, if you want to fix your product development process – and get really good response rates & results, drop me a line. I would be happy to give you professional feedback. I am reachable at the same email address.

Last but not least, HRBerater & Start-upCo, let me wish you all the best for your future professional endeavors.

Best regards…

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