The alternate reality of job applications

denise.JPG

GRAPHIC BY DENISE THUONG

By RENEE WANG
STAFF WRITER

  In the near future, applying to jobs will be like playing a game.  

  More specifically, a game to display favorable traits with an artificial intelligence (AI) program that evaluates job applicants in interviews through a phone or laptop. 

  Recently, many businesses have become more interested in evaluating internships and entry-level positions faster through employment assessment programs like Hirevue, an online video interviewing software that incorporates AI to estimate a score of a job applicant’s personality and suitability for a job. College career centers in schools such as Duke University, Purdue University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte are addressing their concerns with this shift, as they try to prepare their students to face algorithms rather than building a solid resume.

  Ultimately, while this brings change to the standards of colleges and schools, it is not necessarily an improvement. 

  The involvement of AI technology into analyzing job videos extends towards details like tone, grammar, facial expressions, all in order to conclude if the applicant is hard-working or can cooperate with others. This standard brings a contradiction in school curriculums, where students are expected to get good grades to get a good job. However, with an AI looking for job applicants with high communication skills, as a result, many A-plus students might not make the cut. 

  Admittedly, many companies do acquire a lot of applicants and have the need to evaluate based on many factors like criteria, background, and traits within a short amount of time. With most job applications judged without knowing the applicant’s personality, bringing in programs like HireVue can help with the process to judge based on their attributes rather than skills. But, it brings concern as AI programs seek characteristics from a person’s language and tone when it might not be able to tell how much passion or empathy a person might have. A lot of such applicants that have trouble expressing through communication will end up being more of a miss for a corporation that looks for hard-working and passionate applicants. 

  Although this gives many chances for students beyond studying, the new system proves to be full of loopholes and problems many can take advantage of.   

  Essentially, students are judged by how well they can play in the program. According to CNN, a student from Duke University states if she knew an AI was involved in her job interview, she would play it as a “game” and optimize for certain gestures or qualities that give her an advantage in the evaluation. So in the end, the students do not necessarily need to be sociable or have the qualities of a good worker but just be knowledgeable about how the program works to get that job. 

  Overall, it is still too early to tell if an AI program is really necessary for the employment process, but companies should keep in mind that people are more than just algorithms and percentiles from an AI scoring.

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