Artificial Intelligence in the Hiring Process – The story unfolding
It is said First Impressions matter when you give an interview. An adage that been carried on through the years and has become an essential part of the personality grooming process and key interview tips given to a prospective candidate.
But what if it no longer matters when there is no Interviewer. Sorry I don’t mean you would be talking into empty space or meeting up a ghost but what I mean by ‘No Interviewer” is absence of a human interviewer who would actually notice and be impacted by ‘First Impression’.
So what are we talking about then, how can an Interview happen without human interface? Not so long ago this did not seem a possibility, seemed more like an imaginative scenario from a Sci-fi flick. But for those who think that this is still a long way off, it’s time to open your eyes and welcome the evolving presence of Artificial Intelligence or AI into our daily lives.
As Jean-Paul Aegon, the CEO of L’Oreal insists – ‘Digital is not the cherry on the cake, it is the cake’.
Machine learning or augmented machine and digital learning industry is predicted to reach $47 billion by 2020 in an article by HR Dive. This is a diligent worker that has no emotional issues. It can work non-stop and give you accurate predictions based on churning huge amounts of past data, success ratios and predicted behavior patterns. It can run thousands of algorithms without any issues of reduced performance or monotony; that is without breaking a sweat in literal parlance.
Summarizing her experience with Hirevue, an on demand video interview platform for job seekers, one of the prospective candidate notes that she was just not prepared to give an interview that seemed like talking into the void. All the nuances of an Interview process and preparation seemed irrelevant as there was no human interaction, so things like small talk, body language cues etc. did not make any sense. Chat bots more prevalent in managing customer interaction and collating user experience are steadily entering the HR space.
Interestingly a domain that prided itself in human interaction is shifting towards AI as a reliable source of hiring given the efficiency and smartness. Using AI tools companies are able to cut down hiring timelines to days from weeks, with the added benefit of finding the right matching profiles of candidates from the heaps of resumes coming their way.
A report by PwC outlines AI into three platforms. Assisted Intelligence that exists today, helping humans improve upon time consuming repetitive tasks and providing assisted intelligence through chat bots or assisted services that help humans choose better based on previous preferences. Augmented Intelligence, the emerging area combines the unique traits of man and machine for joint decision making to enable things which may not be envisioned. However the future will belong to Autonomous Intelligence where machines take decisions on their own by reaching out to the subconscious level of human beings for information. An example would be self-driving vehicles.
In a an interview with CNBC, Kevin Parker the CEO of Hirevue outlines how it eliminates human bias in an interview process, something HR has been trying to do for years to deal with issues like Stereotyping or Ethnic Profiling. Hirevue assess video interviews by giving each video a score on more than 250,000 data points, including audio, tonality and speech patterns that can be further customized according to client requirements thus rooting out human bias and improving the diversity talent pool. The team works with professional industrial psychologists to enable creation of interview questions framed as per industry standards. The company has been successful in using this technology to service major clients like Unilever, who have seen an improvement of 16% in the diversity of their talent pool by using Hirevue.
Another A.I. recruiting tool, named Mya does seamless candidate interaction based on a preprogrammed assessment model. From asking basic questions to assessment criteria oriented questions, the experience is so seamless that 73% interviewed candidates didn’t even know that they had interacted with a Bot and not a human being.
Other such tools like Arya and Entelo, integrate candidates’ social media data for background screening and to check their suitability for open positions within a very short time span.
So what would all this mean for a prospective candidate?
It means you cannot really fake the Interview by sounding too excited about a job profile or during salary discussions. The A.I. tools use facial recognition technology and are programmed to record participant energy levels, their reaction times and also their speech and audio patterns to eliminate fake applicants. And unlike mobile interviews, you can’t even get a friend to answer your questions or look away into your mobile device to get the answer. These intelligent hiring tools know how to detect eye movement too. The movie Ocean’s 13 depicted a similar machine called ‘Gecko’ which could read casino players energy levels and heartbeat levels to predict a win or loss. The movie made years ago seemed to have an idea what A.I. today would represent. On the real side there is actually a video interview bot named ‘Gecko’ (https://gecko.ai/).
AI is gradually taking over major areas of the hiring process. From simple tasks like short listing candidates, lining them up for interviews, tweaking job descriptions to remove any bias to complex tasks like analyzing candidate personality, their behavior patterns and interest levels for informed augmented decision making. It is allowing companies to engage better with passive candidates, cutting down hire-time, allowing for more real-time skill testing and evaluation while at the same time leading to substantial savings in costs by improving quality of hire leading to higher engagement and retention.
It is estimated that in the developed nations, already 38% recruiters are using A.I. tools and 62% intend to do so by 2018. India is not far behind in this evolving arena. Bot and chatbots are steadily disrupting traditional HR systems. Companies like Skillate and Belong are already servicing top MNCs’ in this domain, a clientele that is growing rapidly due to the lure of saving time and cost in an otherwise expensive human bias laced hiring process.
So who knows maybe your next interview is with the beautiful Russian Bot – ‘Vera’ created by Stafroy, a startup from Russia who can interview hundreds of applicants at the same time using both video and phone interviews. That would be an interesting experience and impressive too.