AI As Hiring Manager: Can It Tell You Which Candidate Will Thrive?

There was a big story recently in the Wall Street Journal talking about a company that has interviewed over a million candidates via video on behalf of companies interested in hiring, such as Hyatt Hotel and Goldman Sachs. The company raised $95 million in one round of funding alone.

The particularly bold claim by this company was that they have the artificial intelligence to divide people into three brackets: High Performer, Low Performer and probably Mediocre Performer.

Despite the fact that this approach has its skeptics who say it doesn’t really mean anything, the fact remains that some prominent companies are buying into it. We don’t know what percentage of the decisions they made has been based on that grading, but at a minimum it appears the application using artificial intelligence is impacting real decisions on people getting hired, not getting hired or even being seen or not seen for consideration.

Does this type of technology really work and does it represent a new trend in how you might evaluate your next candidate?

Well, the answer reminds me of a joke that references what makes a good accountant. If the question is, “How much is 2+2,” a good accountant will say, “How much do you want it to be?”

In other words, it depends.

The more uniform and larger the candidate pool, the more I believe you can come up with some kind of usable criteria. If somebody’s going to be a front office person at Hyatt Hotel, by utilizing machine learning and watching facial expressions, you may be able to figure out that somebody who sits with a scowl on their face, doesn’t speak much and doesn’t show any kind of emotional intelligence probably isn’t the right person to be in the front desk.

Conversely, to what degree that will help you choose somebody who might be in purchasing, that’s much harder to say. We suspect that large companies such as Goldman Sachs probably will pay more attention to the actual videos to get the impression of whether the person is likely to be a qualified person for the firm.

Is Video Interviewing Perfect? Of Course Not.

The challenge with some video-type screening tools is that some candidates don’t know what’s coming in advance and will simply freeze because they don’t know how to react to talking to themselves on screen. People find looking at themselves very unnerving and it interferes with the way they engage in the process. With this in mind, what if a candidate is a brilliant person who frequently works alone and will arrive at an answer once they go to their corner and think about it? Might this type of process prematurely or incorrectly screen them out? The answer may depend on the intensity of the environment you have and what’s required of the role.

We have seen quite a few ranking systems that offer ranking based on criteria. A recruiter provides the job qualifications and the system returns and ranks people who match the most likely criteria for the job.

In our case at Roy Talman & Associates, such a system only has so much use because many candidates who are “qualified” are not actively looking. We may not have a plethora of candidates applying for a given job in that moment. In our world, there are very few candidates who are applying a job who are really qualified. Most of the candidates who apply for our jobs are fresh graduates, but we cannot have fresh graduates for these types of high-level positions.

Talman Advantage #5: A Real Partner With A Plan

When a recruiter talks to you on the phone for 20 minutes just once, there’s only so much they know about you beyond the resume. On the other hand, Roy Talman & Associates will work with you to gain a robust understanding of your skill set, goals, work style preferences and more. Then, rather than “blasting” your resume out to the hiring universe with random results, we’ll make a plan with you on what order we will present you to various firms that we feel are a best fit.

Your career deserves more than a quick chat. Partner with a recruiter who can help you feel more in control of the process – as you should be. Talk to Talman first.

Games May Offer Greater Insights Into Candidates

We’ve seen a variety of tests that companies provide candidates, including games they’ve created, that when given to an online usergroup for 15 minutes, are exceptionally telling. The point here is less about artificial intelligence and more about how well your candidate can play a game and how fast they can learn the game. If the game is given to a lot of people, it results in a type of sorting.

Contrast this with some of the most generic questions that you may give a candidate in an interview: “Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.” You can give a candidate three minutes to describe their greatest accomplishment, but chances are you’re just looking at how communicative the person is, whether they can carry on a conversation for two or three minutes and whether their speaking is clear.

Games offer more promise and potential because there are a number of games that can be developed for the type of industry and job.

For example, in the case of the hospitality industry, you don’t want somebody who is a know-it-all and will tell the customer that they’re wrong. You also don’t want somebody who will meekly accept whatever customer says and not challenge anything. You’re looking for somebody who is patient rather than somebody who will lose their cool. Well, guess what? People have designed games specifically to come up with a score for that kind of personality.

Or let’s say it’s a game that tests the candidate as a waiter and it appears they need to handle ten things at once. The speed keeps increasing and how well they can handle it matters. For certain jobs, the ability to handle tasks at a certain level of speed is very indicative of the likelihood of success. A game can also be useful  in that it can check for a person’s patience, irritability, ability to handle adverse situations, etc. In this way, you can see how a given candidate reacts much better to a seemingly unsolvable situation.

Even amidst talk about AI facial recognition and analysis, when you look at the actual video of how some companies prepare somebody for taking a test, it shows the games that it will ask candidates to play. These are usually quick reaction, simple puzzle games – which, by the way, aren’t completely new. Football teams have given tests like these to new players but the approach here is online and more interactive.

AI, games and the like can provide a hiring manager like yourself with a certain amount of insights about a candidate, but from our point-of-view, that’s only telling part of the story. Games might cater to some candidates and much less so toward other types of candidates.

The top 1% of the top 1% delivered in front of you, ready to perform at the highest level around what you need. Wouldn’t that make for a far more efficient and productive hiring process? We think so. That’s why technology, financial and consulting firms from Chicago to New York have been turning to Roy Talman & Associates for over 30 years. With a superb understanding of not only any given role but also your management style and culture, you’ll be glad you made the right call to Talk To Talman First.