By Aruna Krishnan
The rise of artificial intelligence poses both opportunities and risks for corporations
When Trump harshly shooed away immigrants from the US for they were stealing jobs that belonged to ‘white people’, he did not acknowledge the other side to the story. Artificial intelligence and robots have started taking over jobs extensively and that even includes the job where you hire the right candidate for the company – recruitment. I recently got an email from Goldman Sachs, calling me for a video interview with them. Video interview, pretty standard right? Elated, I was hoping to receive the Skype ID of the interviewer in the next mail and have a very fulfilling interview experience. The next thing that I know is that I get a link which redirects me to a website called Hire Vue. The website of HireVue Inc., which provides video interviewing software for Goldman Sachs and 600 other firms, said it hosted nearly three million video interviews last year, up from 13,000 five years ago and gave clear instructions to first timers like me on how to go about the interview process. Most video- interviewing programs require applicants to click a link or install an app. Interviews begin with a prompt such as “Tell us about imagine an online interviewing make the situation even worse. can apply data analytics and a time you had to deal with a conflict” that stays on-screen for about 30 seconds. Then, the camera turns on and the candidate has anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to respond before the next question pops up.
My interview was also a pre recorded video, already with a compiled set of questions and an inbuilt timer. It was startling. How was a computer going to know if I am fit for the job or not? It would not be personalised and there could be so many challenges I can possibly face! What if I had follow up questions? How can I get them cleared? With all my scepticism, do not think of me as someone who opposes technology. From the domination of smart phone mobile to the ease in running errands like grocery shopping to enhancement of graphics in films —changes are afoot that many of us couldn’t have imagined 15 or so years ago. And I love it all. The ‘tech meets HR’ marriage is so exciting and it is interesting to note how quickly the technology evolution has disrupted HR and enhanced the way HR professionals get things done.
One semi-useful tool now becoming popular is the automated interview system —system where the applicant answers preset questions in front of their PC, laptop, or phone camera, with the video uploaded for later replay by HR staff and hiring managers. This certainly cuts down the overhead of doing interviews — no more paying to fly candidates out and take them to dinner, just video dating-style files to pick up those subtle clues about the candidate normally gleaned from a face-to-face interviews. As of now, human- resources staff still continue to review the videos and pass along promising applicants to managers for consideration. Applicants who make the cut are typically invited to a one-on-one interview. But Hire Vue from what I read is working towards a future of robo-recruiting. Some HireVue customers have an algorithm review the video interviews for them. Using data about the skills and attributes companies are seeking for a given role, a program called HireVue Insights scans videos for verbal and facial cues that match those skills then ranks the top 100 applicants.
We’ve seen how HR is already mismanaging hiring by using primitive automation tools for screening, and how future progressive regulations may make the situation even worse.
Meanwhile, social media and online profiles are providing more honest data on candidates than ever before. The biggest driver of AI’s impact in the HR industry is the massive growth of big data. Until now, we haven’t had access to simple software systems with which to track and analyze internal employee data (think, sick days, vacation requests, hiring trends or even workflow). Today, most businesses have undergone some degree of digital transformation, and rely on this type of technology. HR professionals are recognizing that this valuable data and the insights teased from it play a major role in reducing risk and driving decision-making, when it comes to talent management and organizational performance.
The good news may be that AI in smarter screening programs may be able to use online searches and carefully-designed online questionnaires to do a much better job of identifying possible great hires and screening out the deadwood. Meanwhile, leading- edge employers like Google have discovered overly-specific degree and experience qualifications can actually screen out some of the most productive people in the applicant pool. If any company can apply AI to hiring and performance management, it would be Google. Lots of buzzwords and promises, only gradual advances. Although a tad bit scary and intimidating, AI merging with the hiring sector is a future that we will all need and embarking on it is nothing but inevitable. Intelligent machines aren’t stealing our jobs – they are making firms better at filling them with right fit hires. The development of AI can sometimes feel like a double-edged sword: we marvel at intelligent machines achieving bigger and better things, but at the same time, they’re starting to outcompete even human superstars at their own games, according to recode. Viewed in that light, AI can start to seem like a threat.
But in reality, the purpose of AI isn’t to outperform us – it’s to enhance our own capabilities. The intelligence of computers is apparently exceedingly narrow, good only for the specific tasks to which we assign them (like chess). I am deeply intrigued to know what ensues as the future. Would intelligence from machinery surpass intelligence of the human brain? We may just be on the brink of reliving the next season of West World.