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AI in the Hiring Process

Last year, we looked at the way that technology – particularly artificial intelligence (AI) – is influencing the construction industry. Now, less than two years later, AI is revolutionising the hiring process according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

What can AI do?

Using an automated system to scan for keywords in CVs seems like an efficient use of technology. But AI is being used for far more than this. Robot avatars are interviewing job candidates –sometimes without the interviewee being aware –  or using AI and machine learning to assess prospective employees.

Some companies, like DeepSense, offer to scan applicant’s social media accounts to create a profile that predicts a person’s behaviours and personality. It also creates a complete list of social handles, connections, related websites, work history, and social influence – with or without a candidate’s knowledge.

Others, such as HireVue, say they mitigate bias (thus promoting diversity) by using digital interviews that compare an applicant’s tone of voice, word usage and facial expressions to those of successful employees. They claim to help recruiters speed up the hiring process while improving candidate quality and retention. Scoutible, another AI-based hiring company, uses gamification to create profiles of your top-performing employees and compares prospective staff to the results to determine performance and culture fit.

It’s All About the Algorithms

While using AI offers benefits such as faster candidate evaluation and selection, the fact is that AI is based on algorithms programmed by humans. Because of this, there is bound to be some bias programmed into the system. Can AI truly predict how a person will behave in every situation, taking into account all the different factors that might be affecting them at any given time? What constitutes good performance will also no doubt vary from person to person, as well as company to company.

Another consideration – can an algorithm predict how a person will grow into a role? Can it spot potential that can be developed with training, mentoring and experience? Will it be able to calculate how a person’s experiences outside of work will shape their thinking and attitude towards their career?

Efficient v. Effective

Perhaps a recruiter cannot predict these outcomes with any precision either. However, after 14 years in the recruitment industry, I can safely say that I’ve never needed to know a candidate’s social handles, websites and social influence to place them in a job where they can add value to the company and enjoy their work. Interestingly, according to this Forbes article, many of the companies using these AI tools reserve them for early-stage evaluations, and still place a premium on face-to-face interaction for the actual hiring.

I’m all for using technology to be more efficient, but for now, we are still old school at Maxim Recruitment. If there is a particular vacancy you want to discuss, it will still have to be a conversation with a human, I’m afraid. We won’t analyse your micro-facial expressions, but we do try and find the best role that’s a right fit for you.

About the Author

Richard Poulter
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
I am responsible for the recruitment business in Hong Kong, Asia, and the Middle East. I was a civil engineer and project manager for 15 years before becoming a construction industry recruitment consultant in 2004. I am based in the Hong Kong office and specialise in placing professionals in engineering, project management, planning, HSEQ and risk.
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Email: richard@maximrecruitment.com 

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