You have probably heard about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology recently and how it can be used to simplify tasks, such as hiring. Though this innovation has saved recruiters time during the hiring process by using facial recognition and expression analysis to understand candidates — can it be trusted? Or are we at risk of disconnecting ourselves from one another in a digital world that values convenience and speed?
We believe in people and the power of connectivity. AI applicant screening systems can be problematic and discriminatory, so let’s bring it back to the basics before technology alienates us. Your intuition is that little feeling in the pit of your gut that is telling you whether someone is trustworthy or not. Gut instinct can be extremely valuable and a powerful decision-maker when your conscious mind is clouded with too many variables to consider, which is often the case in recruitment. Human recruiters should remember what matters most, which is building relationships with candidates and providing a positive hiring experience.
What is your gut instinct?
Your body is intricately connected through nerves and uses chemical signals, such as neurotransmitters and hormones, to communicate with other body parts. Neuroscientists argue that our brain and the body work as an interconnected system with the mind as the central control point. The gut-brain axis is a communication system that consists of 500 million neurons that connects your brain and gut physically and biochemically. Chemicals called neurotransmitters control emotions and feelings, including happiness and stress, which can be produced by your gut cells. Ultimately, the brain carries out signals to help prepare you for any situation by alerting you of danger or comforting you in safe settings — an example is that gut-wrenching feeling when you’re on top of a high building. Without intuition and trusting your gut instinct, you could easily run into some serious dangers and problems in life.
What is facial recognition?
Facial recognition uses AI algorithms to detect human faces in an image or video. Large databases containing biometric data (images of multiple faces) allow technology to recognise and measure facial features.
Facial recognition technology is often used and found:
- On your smartphone when you use Face ID to unlock it.
- Using an Instagram or Snapchat filter that follows the features of your face, such as the dog filter.
- At the airport to confirm your identity.
- When Facebook suggests that you have been tagged in a photo.
Though facial recognition can be used in our day-to-day lives, it can also be used in the hiring process.
What is facial analysis?
Facial analysis technology tracks human facial features, body gestures, movement and voice to analyse a person’s emotions and cognitive process. This technology can be used in recruitment to screen candidates when dealing with large volumes of applications. Facial analysis can measure candidates’ facial expressions and behaviour in video interviews to determine whether they are suitable for the role.
Imperfections with AI in recruitment
Now, you’re probably wondering what the issue is here. Technology that simplifies tasks and cuts time — sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, over the years, recruiters have found that numerous high-quality profiles have been missed in the hiring process as these softwares and databases are still in development. These systems can determine the differences between smiling and frowning, however, can it still perform well when there are so many variables to consider?
In 2018, Amazon abandoned AI softwares after finding that it had biases against women and did not consider gendered language. A 2021 study found that racial discrimination occurred in systematic processes as applications with distinctively ethnic names were less likely to receive a response. However, gender and race discrimination is only the beginning of AI’s imperfections. Systematic processes and rigid technology such as personality tests and AI-focused video interviews does not account for unique individuals who may require accommodations and considerations despite having the right skills. Unless AI technology is pulling their analysis from a very large and diverse pool of data, the technology can be unintentionally discriminating against people without knowing. Candidates with anxiety may score poorly when analysed by AI but perform better when at ease and facing a recruiter face-to-face who may calm their nerves. Studies show that facial expressions vary among cultures and context, which may not be accounted for in databases with limited understanding of values and different social norms.
Trusting your gut instinct
Moving forward, technology can definitely be advantageous by saving us time and filtering through large volumes of profiles. However as recruiters, it is important to remember that people are at the core of businesses and in order to understand them, this requires real people — you. Seeking to hire people who possess the right qualities is extremely shortsighted. Culture fit, motivation and work ethic should all be considered when hiring a candidate.
Can a computer system determine whether someone could fit into your friend group? If not, how can AI determine the right team member for your company? People’s energies are considered to be vibrations you feel when being around someone. This can only be felt by people, not a computer. Often when you first meet someone, you get that initial feeling of comfort and ease, or an unsettling feeling that they may not be who they say they are. Your gut feelings can help tell you:
- You are in danger.
- You are in good company.
- There is something physically wrong.
- You should take the risk you’re considering.
- You are being manipulated.
We believe in people at UseVerb and understanding them to their core. Trusting your gut instinct can lead to great opportunities that may be missed by AI that filters through people and missing context. As someone part of a business and company, only you can know who will work best in your team. Staying connected with people will only improve the recruitment process for candidates and put your company ahead of others.