Why A Job Applicant Must Deal With AI In 2020

 job applicant must deal with AI

For as long as most job applicants can remember, the key fear in the recruitment process was whether or not the interviewer – or the HR person – would like the candidate, his or her job application, background, credentials, or others. The situation is changing slowly but surely, though not quite in the way one might have imagined.

The fear now is about AI in HR selecting or rejecting the candidate!


How did this happen?

The onward march of AI in recruitment has brought about this consequence. Over time, HR is now getting slightly distanced from humans (read: candidates), and welcoming this new aspect of HR technology. From dealing with a human being at the other end of the discussion, a candidate now must think about how to get selected – or not be rejected – by a computer algorithm.

What exactly has changed?

When it comes to job positions at the entry level, as well as internships, HR leaders are increasingly looking to implement AI in recruitment, so that they can quickly conduct a huge number of interviews through video, and use AI to analyze candidate responses. HireVue, one of the most common platforms for this purpose, claims to be used by more than 800 companies, and this includes big names such as CNN, Hilton, and Unilever. This number was just 50 in 2018!

The company claims that such a platform does away with human biases that may creep into the selection process, which is a big positive for HR technology. 

Are there real advantages for HR leaders?

The positives of using a platform like HireVue are quite apparent. Candidates are given a predetermined set of questions that they have to answer on video, using their smartphone or laptop cameras. Next, the videos are analyzed by the algorithms built into the platform, looking in particular at things such as:

  • Grammar
  • Facial expressions: through software that does facial analysis
  • Tone of voice
  • Usage of proper words

The results that AI in recruitment generates with this process are then compared with how actual company employees performed in similar situations. This then decides which candidate would make for a good fit with the company and be a suitable team member.

Some limitations of this method of using AI in HR are quite obvious. Personal interactions go right out of the process, and there is no way to judge the inner workings of a candidate or to make human-to-human eye contact and truly understand the person.

Will traditional interview preparation techniques work?

Quite unlikely, given that priming oneself for traditional interviews will not work when it is AI in HR that is to be dealt with. In fact, Duke University, Purdue University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and other leading schools have their career counsellors prepping students not on what to say to an interviewer, but on how to deal with an algorithm. The new norm is not what to say to the recruiter, but how to make a good video for a job interview.

A candidate will need some extra preparation, then, to win over an algorithm.

There are a few things a candidate could do in an attempt to qualify this new test of HR technology:

  • Eschew one-size-fits-all résumés, editing them to suit different positions
  • In the application, highlight current skills and major projects handled.
  • Use generic or common terms for jobs and responsibilities.
  • Ensure the use of correct spellings and grammar, even though this is not top priority for AI.
  • Explain acronyms and specific jargon.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing, and insert common terms and words that can be uniquely interpreted by AI.

The future is uncertain…

Many HR leaders opine that AI allows quick, fair, and consistent reviews of a large number of candidates. What must be considered is that in the medical field, for instance, AI makes sense when scanning for cancer or giving a second opinion. However, when AI acts as a gatekeeper, it might just waste time of some truly good applicants, and lose out on them. A cautious approach will be the best course as we move ahead.