Having published my first research paper in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in 2008, I am happy to know just how mainstream AI has gotten as off late. One of the mainstream applications of AI, that I came across recently is a recruitment tool called HireVue. They claim it uses “AI” to screen prospective candidates for a job. I had a brief look at the software, how it works and these are my thoughts on it.

How HireVue works?

It ranks candidates based on some of the words the they use in the interview and then looks for specific keywords relative to the role they are interviewing for. It has a history of successful employees in the role in the past and then compares the new candidate based on what it knows from its history. It uses Facial recognition to look for certain expressions and eye movements in candidates. Finally, It evaluates all responses and places the candidates in buckets e.g, top, mid and bottom and presents it as a recommendation. It predicts that the candidates in the top bucket are more likely to be successful in that role and should be pursued further. So if a candidate doesn’t use certain keywords, smiles too much or looks down when facing the camera, the system will penalize that behavior, place the candidate in the bottom bucket indicating that they aren’t a good fit.

Opinion: The Image Processing

I haven’t done enough research on voice recognition so I can’t comment on the part of their software that detects a candidates “tone”. However, I have done research in computer vision so I am not sure how accurate their software would be in recognising a candidate’s body language and expressions. I finished my research at The University of New South Wales in 2013 and recently I developed and released an app for the iPhone that predicts the scene in an image.

My personal opinion is, I think computer vision and AI still has a long way to go before it can solve the problem that HireVue claims it solves.

Also, most of the times, I record something using a webcam, I just look at myself on the screen instead of the camera, so not sure what HireVue’s “AI” will think of me? Maybe it will penalise me for being narcissistic, therefore, the bottom bucket it is for me.

Opinion: The Historical Data Reliance

Also, it compares a candidate’s response against the historical data i.e. employees who have been successful in that role in the past. Now, would’t that make their “AI” a bit biased? I think the ratio of males : females maybe a bit better in non-technical fields but for certain technical fields? which are heavily skewed towards the male demographic, this tool is more likely to have a gender bias towards men. Amazon tried something like this in the past and found out their machine learning was biased towards males, link to the article about Amazon’s initiative.

My biggest concern

One of my biggest concerns is related to privacy. What’s going to happen to my video? For example, I apply for a job and the employer sends me a link to interview on the HireVue platform. Now, once I have uploaded my interview and it has been reviewed by the hiring manager, will my video be deleted? Reading the Data Retention section of their privacy policy, I don’t think so. I mean, here’s an excerpt from the privacy policy on their website,

I just want the video I record to be deleted after it’s served it’s purpose, which in this case would be for a job. In either case, I have sent them an email on the address listed on their website asking them whether or not my video will be deleted after it’s served it’s purpose.

I don’t want to upload my video to their servers only to have them use it to train their supervised learning algorithm and improve it’s performance. At least not without my permission, they cannot.

Summary

Anyway, I think their “AI” may not be too reliable and it’s more likely to bias against certain type of candidates. That’s just how supervised machine learning works, based on their press material, I can say with 99% certainty that their machine learning algorithm is trained using supervised learning. If I am wrong, then please correct me.

Anyway having said all that, I am happy about what HireVue is doing, it’s mainstream commercial application of image processing and AI. YAY!!!

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