AI and Facial Analysis Job Interviews

Reports of the first job interviews conducted in the UK using Artificial Intelligence and facial analysis technology have been met with mixed reactions.

The Software

The AI and facial analysis technology used for the interviews comes from US firm HireVue. The main products available from HireVue for interviewing are Pre-Employment Assessments and Video Interviewing.

For the Pre-Employment Assessments, the software uses AI, video game technology, and game-based and coding challenges to collect candidate insights related to work style, how the candidate works with people, and general cognitive ability. The Assessments are customisable to specific hiring objectives or ready to deploy based on pre-validated models. The data points are analysed by HireVue’s proprietary machine learning algorithms, and the insights gained are intended to enable businesses to save time and use recruitment resources more effectively by enabling businesses to quickly prioritise which candidates to shortlist for interviews.

The Video Interviewing product uses real-time evaluation tools and can assess around 25,000 data points in one interview.  During interviews, candidates are asked to answer pre-scripted questions with HireVue Live offering a real-time collaborative video interview that can involve a whole recruitment team. The benefits of on-demand video-based assessments, which can be conducted in less than 30 minutes, are that recruiters and managers don’t have to synchronize candidates and calendars, and can evaluate more candidates, thereby being able to spend their time deciding between the best candidates.

Who Is Using The Software?

According to HireVue, 700+ companies use the software (not all in the UK) including Vodafone, Urban Outfitters, Intel, Ikea, Hilton, Unilever, Singapore Airlines, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. It has been reported, however, that the technology has already been used for 100,000 interviews in the UK.

Concerns

Even though there are obvious on-demand expertise, time and cost savings for companies, and HireVue displays case studies from satisfied customers on its website, AI and facial analysis technology use in interviews has been met with criticism by privacy and rights groups.

For example, it has been reported that Big Brother Watch representatives have voiced concerns about the ethics of using this method, possible bias and discrimination (if the AI hasn’t been trained on a diverse-enough range of people), and that unconventional but still good potential candidates could fall foul of algorithms that can’t take account of the complexities of human speech, body language and expression.

Robot Interviewer

Back in March, it was reported that TNG and Furhat Robotics in Sweden have developed a social, unbiased recruitment robot called “Tengai” that can be used to conduct job interviews with human candidates. The basic robot was developed several years ago and looks like an internally projected human face on a white head sitting on top of a speaker (with camera and microphone built-in).  The robot is made with pre-built expressions and gestures as part of a pre-loaded OS which can be further customised to fit any character, and the HR-tech application software that Tengai uses means that it can conduct situation and skill-based interviews in a way that is as close as possible to a human interviewer. This includes using “hum”, nodding its head, and asking follow-up questions.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Like the Swedish Tengai robot Interviews, the HireVue Pre-Employment Assessment (and possibly the video) appear to be have been designed to be used at the early part of the recruitment process as a way of enabling big companies to quickly create a shortlist of candidates to focus on. As businesses become used to, and realise the value of outsourcing as a way of making better use of resources and buying in scalable and on-demand skills and resources, it appears that bigger companies are also willing to trust new technology to the point where they outsource expertise and human judgement in exchange for the promise of better, and more cost-effective recruitment management.

AI, facial recognition, and other related new technologies and algorithms are being trusted and adopted more by big businesses which also need to remember, for the benefit of themselves and their customers and job candidates that they need to make sure that bias is minimised, and that technology is unlikely to be able to pick up on every (potentially important) nuance of human behaviour and speech.  It should never be forgotten that we each have the most powerful, amazing and perceptive ‘computer’ available in the form of our own brain, and for vast amount of medium and small businesses that probably can’t afford or don’t want to use AI to choose recruits, experienced human interviewers can also make good recruitment decisions.

That said, as technology progresses, AI-based recruitment systems are likely to improve by gaining their own experience, and be augmented, and become more widely available and affordable to the point that they become a standard first challenge for job applicants in many situations.

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