AI in Recruitment: All The Information And Tips You Need

Graduate jobs

May 18, 2020

There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is bringing giant leaps in how business is conducted. AI has found one such application in the field of recruitment, encompassing application analysis for shortlisting and video interview analysis.  

Companies are using tools like, HireVue, Paññã, among others, that make use of AI, Sentiment analysis, voice recognition and facial recognition. These tools work together with an algorithm to determine the ideal candidate. Unilever, IBM, Dunkin Donuts and many others already use this technology.


Now, this technology has come to the UK: in September 2019, it was reported that Unilever has started using AI to analyse the language, tone and facial expressions of candidates during a video interview. The algorithm used by such technologies has stored data from 25,000 pieces of facial and linguistic information from previous interviews of people who went to bag a job and performed well at the job too. Using all the compiled data points, the technology sets some standards and assesses the incoming applications against those parameters. 



The use of technology in assessing humans is intended to serve the purpose of making the selection and shortlisting process easier. However, these algorithms are based on data taken from human experience, which is a) subjective and b) imperfect. This means that the facial analysis technology will carry certain biases, rooted in the databases that were used to establish such systems. 

The larger implication is also that the algorithms will favour the conventional-looking candidates, thereby having a detrimental effect on the talented applicants who might not conform to the norm. 

People on the neurodiversity spectrum or candidates who have a different perspective may find themselves at a disadvantage. 


AI will be limited by its algorithmic understanding of the complexities of human interaction. Having said that, the technology is being pushed into more and more hiring processes, even if just at one stage. Some companies may use this technology to shortlist CVs. Some might use it during video interviews.


What does this mean for you as a potential candidate?


As a potential candidate, you have to be prepared to appease not just to a human interviewer, but also an algorithm. In other words, you have to prepare for the hiring process in a way that your body language and responses adhere to the high standards of the algorithms. 


Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

Body language
The AI system studies facial expressions and body language. The algorithm is designed to make a note of facial movements like brow furrowing, brow-raising, eye-widening or closing, lip tightening, chin raising and smiling. These can be critical assessment points, especially in sales or other public-facing/client-facing jobs. We recommend reading or skimming through a book to understand how you can hone confident facial expressions - The Definitive Book of Body Language by Barbara Pease and Allan Pease.


Choose your words wisely
Word choices will matter. Whether it is your CV that the system analyses or a video interview, the system will identify the words and anecdotes you use, in order to gauge how effective your response was. For example, in your answer to the question ‘Why Do You Want To Work At XYZ?’, the system will assess your reference to the company vision and mission, your previous experience etc. The expressions you use to describe your competencies and skills will be under scrutiny. A little preparation in the form of mock interviews can go a long way.   


Devil is in the details
Since your language and expressions are under scrutiny, be meticulous and thorough in your answers. Do you use passive or active words? Notice the narrative. Use ‘We’ instead of ‘I’, it shows your commitment to teamwork. 


Empathy for the win
Work on your communication skills beyond just the right words. Once you have mastered the art of using the right words, notice the tone you use. It is important to pace yourself. AI will draw conclusions on the basis of how many words you say per minute. It is important to balance empathy with knowledge.


Do not let the idea of being judged by an algorithm freak you out. Stay calm and composed. You've got this!


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