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Sorry, AI doesn’t like your face, cannot hire you

Using video interviews is becoming the norm, particulalry for big companies receiving plenty of applications, Artificial Intelligence may become an integral part of the interview session and this is somewhat disturbing, at least to me. Image credit HireVue

My youngest son is finishing his master and he has started looking for a job. Looking at him I realise how different it is today. When I finished my schools companies looked for newly graduated, you didn’t need to apply, they courted you and you could be choosy. No longer so. Now you need to send applications, attach motivation letters and hope to be called for a stream of video interviews first. If you were born under a lucky star you end up in a face to face interview. I am convinced that today I wouldn’t be able to find a job…

The way a company’s HR picks up an application and decide on a follow up is shrouded in mystery. Companies may receive so many applications that they resort to software for screening (Google supposedly receive a million applications per year!).

But it is getting worse!  Companies are starting to engage applicants in video conferences for pre-screening and they run these video conferences not with a human being interviewing the applicant but with an artificial intelligence software that questions the applicant and observe his/her face. The facial mimic and expression become an evaluation characteristics for the software to decide if the applicant may be a good fit or not. The software, apparently, can be a better judge of voice inflection, af facial expression to detect insecurity, anxiety and so on.

HireView is one of the companies that offer this software to companies HR. They claim their software is effective but there are others casting doubts. The software generates an employability score that HR can use to filter applicants.

I don’t like this but at the same time I fear it is inevitable. Computers are getting better and better in evaluating people through their behaviour and it is not surprising that companies may turn to AI for screening applicants.

Of course, this is opening a Pandora box. Next will be having performance evaluation run by software (taking advantage of data we create on the job…) and there is no end in sight.
In these situation I feel lucky to have been born in another century….

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.