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Archive for August 2017

AI YI YI!

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Artificial Intelligence is not only here to stay, it may well outlive and replace most of us.  During this rapidly evolving introduction of AI into our lives (sometimes without our knowledge and/or consent; see Amazon.com’s recent experience with lawsuits aimed at their Alexa division), we should be vigilant regarding its use.

I have been invited to participate in a conversation hour at the next SIOP Conference (in Chicago in April, 2018) on the implications of AI for our profession and organizations in general.  In our proposal writing process, I came upon this article about the use of AI in the recruiting and hiring process as used by Unilever (https://goo.gl/KH2LVW).

Frankly, it blows my mind.  Or should I say, blows up.

Almost every day, my favorite blog, The LowDown (thelowdownblog.com), seems to have a new article regarding AI, but I hadn’t thought enough about how it will affect our profession as IO Psychologist and our clients who look to us for expertise in helping them to make better decisions about current and prospective employees.  My hunch is that we (again, as a profession) are lagging behind in anticipating the issues coming down the pike on the back of AI tools.

The Unilever case study is remarkable for many reasons. They claim great efficiencies that AI creates in terms of handling large numbers of potential applicants at significant cost savings.  As an IO Psychologist, I became curious as to accuracy (i.e., validity) of their screens and evidence for job-relatedness.

At the risk of serving as free advertising, I want to draw your attention to the two vendors that Unilever uses in their hiring process, Pymetrics and HireVue. Pymetrics uses games to assess candidates and to apply neuroscience to the decision to progress or not. For those who pass, they are funneled into the HireVue interview technology, though not a “live” interview. Applicants are evaluated for key words, body language and tone.

Maybe you want to search their websites with me.  Here are two companies that are affecting the lives of thousands of people just with this one experience.

The Pymetrics website says (regarding validity), “The games have been validated through decades of use in neuroscience and cognitive psychology research settings to identify and evaluate people’s cognitive, emotional, and social traits. Several of the games have physical analogues dating back to the 19th century.” (https://goo.gl/iq5xgT)   Not a word about being job related or predicting actual job performance. They speak of reducing bias. I can do that too. Give me a coin to flip. That would be even faster (though I could still charge a lot for my flipping skill).

So who are these people?  HireVue’s founder has a Master’s in finance.  No evidence of science, but they look like they are having fun!  Pymetrics does have a neuroscientist on their senior team, and some other neuroscientists lurking.

Fast, fun and flexible. Is that our mantra for best practices in making decisions about people?  Maybe so. They seem to be doing quite well.  “They” being the vendors, maybe not so much the applicants.

Artificial Intelligence is not only here to stay, it may well outlive and replace most of us.  During this rapidly evolving introduction of AI into our lives (sometimes without our knowledge and/or consent; see Amazon.com’s recent experience with lawsuits aimed at their Alexa division).

I have been invited to participate in a conversation hour at the next SIOP Conference (in Chicago in April, 2018) on the implications of AI for our profession and organizations in general.  In our proposal writing process, I came upon this article about the use of AI in the recruiting and hiring process as used by Unilever (https://goo.gl/KH2LVW).

Frankly, it blows my mind.  Or should I say, blows up.

Almost every day, my favorite blog, The LowDown (thelowdownblog.com), seems to have a new article regarding AI, but I hadn’t thought enough about how it will affect our profession as IO Psychologist and our clients who look to us for expertise in helping them to make better decisions about current and prospective employees.  My hunch is that we (again, as a profession) are lagging behind in anticipating the issues coming down the pike on the back of AI tools.

The Unilever case study is remarkable for many reasons. They claim great efficiencies that AI creates in terms of handling large numbers of potential applicants at significant cost savings.  As an IO Psychologist, I became curious as to accuracy (i.e., validity) of their screens and evidence for job-relatedness.

At the risk of serving as free advertising, I want to draw your attention to the two vendors that Unilever uses in their hiring process, Pymetrics and HireVue. Pymetrics uses games to assess candidates and to apply neuroscience to the decision to progress or not. For those who pass, they are funneled into the HireVue interview technology, though not a “live” interview. Applicants are evaluated for key words, body language and tone.

Maybe you want to search their websites with me.  Here are two companies that are affecting the lives of thousands of people just with this one experience.

The Pymetrics website says (regarding validity), “The games have been validated through decades of use in neuroscience and cognitive psychology research settings to identify and evaluate people’s cognitive, emotional, and social traits. Several of the games have physical analogues dating back to the 19th century.” (https://goo.gl/iq5xgT)   Not a word about being job related or predicting actual job performance. They speak of reducing bias. I can do that too. Give me a coin to flip. That would be even faster (though I could still charge a lot for my flipping skill).

So who are these people?  HireVue’s founder has a Master’s in finance.  No evidence of science, but they look like they are having fun!  Pymetrics does have a neuroscientist on their senior team, and some other neuroscientists lurking.

Fast, fun and flexible. Is that our mantra for best practices in making decisions about people?  Maybe so. They seem to be doing quite well.  “They” being the vendors, maybe not so much the applicants.

©David W. Bracken, 2017

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Written by David Bracken

August 8, 2017 at 11:00 pm