Artificial intelligence
A representational image of artificial intelligence | Photo: Pixabay
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Open your laptop. Boot the app. Switch on your camera. And start your interview. Video-based interviews, either on Skype or Facetime or as recorded links, have been used for some years, but now a new and tricky feature has become popular: HR tech companies have begun to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) to assess candidates even as their skills are being tested on several parameters.

Companies are using AI-based voice recognition and facial recognition software that reads the candidate in a way that no human can. When a candidate answers questions, AI software reads expressions and measures voice modulation to get into the mind of the candidate. Lying and misleading expressions can be caught. So can inconsistencies in the answers. Candidates hear an automated voice and see no one at the other end as they get time to answer questions while looking into the camera. The recorded videos with accompanying AI-based analyzes ranks candidates on pre-set parameters. Each recruiting company can customize the parameters based on role, function and sector.

The video interview software industry is a category by itself with an estimated of hundred companies offering varying categories of solutions. Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Marriott, Goldman Sachs, Unilever are actively using such software for recruitment.

While it may spook the candidate, it turns out to be convenient to both the recruiter and the applicant. Marriott gets close to three million job applications for its properties globally. Other global companies receive a similar rush of applications. Even smaller companies get more resumes than their HR teams can actually meet and interview. Unilever has been able to expand the catchment area for college hiring from 840 to 2,600 since it is able to manage large volumes of candidates.

From reading the resumes to interviewing candidates, the AI solutions help everyone. Even the candidates find it convenient to answer questions from anywhere and record interviews at a time convenient to them. Companies leading the way in AI-based video interviews include HireVue, MRoads, Glider.AI, Gecko Interview Bot, among many others. HireVue has celebrated five million video interviews. Cost is a great advantage. Gecko software charges about USD 6,000 for 2,000 interviews – an effective cost of USD 3 per interview.

Some global Indian companies as well as local divisions of global companies are using such software for recruitment. Glider. AI counts TCS among its clients. Texas-based MRoads has an office in Hyderabad. Homegrown Interview Air has Aditya Birla Group, Sun Pharma and Eureka Forbes amongst its clients.

To be clear, the final selection of the candidate is not solely dependent on the AI video interview. The first step is to trawl through hundreds of resumes to shortlist candidates for testing. Next is the video-based interview. Once applicants clear two to three levels of selection – one of them being the video interview – they have to finally sit across the table with real humans. But those human recruiters now have far more insights about the candidate than they ever did. This allows the recruiter to find the best fit for the vacancy.

Experts now offer several tips for candidates who have to face an AI-based video interview. For instance, they must ensure a good internet connection, settle in a noiseless area and make sure they are as well dressed for the interview as they would have been if there was a meeting with a human recruiter. There are several videos online that help applicants prepare for talking to an AI-bot. Remember though, it will no longer be easy to smooth talk your way into a job, for the AI-bot will see through you faster than a human can.

This is a small part of the automation-based processes that are impacting the way companies manage their talent. From hiring to training to assessment and upskilling, technology is taking over the HR domain of organizations.

The consulting firm Nuest conducted a study of HR tech companies in India, which threw up some interesting numbers. Nuest estimated that there are over 180 companies in HR tech in India. According to the study, ‘50% of these companies are concentrated in the top 4 categories namely – Sourcing, HRMS, Learning, and Wellness. This indicates that most Indian HR tech buyers are looking to reach larger talent pools while the 2nd highest area of focus in HR digitization appears to be simple HR automation and digitization. Wellness emerged as a surprise in the top three’. It further states that Indian companies are following the trends set by the 700 or so global HR tech companies by focusing on learning, HR management solutions and sourcing talent. According to Amol Pawar, the founder of Neust, ‘Indian HR tech ecosystem is one of the most matured and diverse in the world. We need to start leveraging the community while creating cross-referencing opportunities, especially from MarTech and FinTech.’ This means that the companies that use marketing and financial technologies can extend the same to human resource management.

This excerpt from the book India Automated: How the Fourth Industrial Revolution is Transforming India by Pranjal Sharma has been published with permission from Pan Macmillan India

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