Virtual Hiring Managers: Student Perceptions and Agent Preferences Conference

Brewster, V, Lunn, SJ. (2023). Virtual Hiring Managers: Student Perceptions and Agent Preferences . 10.1109/FIE58773.2023.10343190

cited authors

  • Brewster, V; Lunn, SJ



  • Increasingly, interactive digital systems are being developed to offer learning opportunities with practical scenarios for individuals in fields ranging from health to the military. We created an application to provide those starting their careers with practice for job interviews. The platform, called Virtual Interview Ready (VI-Ready), allows engagement with 3D agents acting as hiring managers. To better understand the user experience and preferences of the (n = 5) agents available, we conducted an exploratory study with post-secondary students. The framework of impression management guided the inquiry as we employed a convergent parallel mixed-methods approach to data collection and analysis. Twenty undergraduate and graduate students (n = 20) interacted with the system, and then they completed a survey about VI-Ready and its agents. Among other findings, 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the virtual hiring manager was likeable. In addition, the qualitative analysis revealed three themes related to the agent interpretations: perceived personality, communications, and appearance. Students mentioned the voice of the agent enhanced the experience, and they found the agent competent and 'approachable.' The responses also illustrated a mixture of predilections for engaging with a hiring manager who looked like the participant (based on concordance with the agent's perceived social identities) versus others who did not feel the appearance of the agent mattered. Several students mentioned that since they are not able to select who their hiring manager would be in real life, they did not think being able to choose the look of the agents would impact their practice experience. The outcomes of this research may be helpful for those developing new technologies to enhance students' career paths. Insights around user preferences can also be applied to inform future agent designs.

publication date

  • January 1, 2023

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)