How to beat A.I. in landing a job

Job applicants now have to contend with the growing use of artificial intelligence in hiring decisions.

Facial recognition technology.

Stock.
  • Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being used in hiring.
  • AI can analyze the personality and decision-making of potential employees.
  • Consultants can offer advice to candidates on dealing with AI interviews.


Increasingly, artificial intelligence is being used in assessing job applications. It's you versus the robot. How is a human to prevail? By making key adjustments to how you present yourself to the technology, advises a South Korean careers consultant Park Seong-jung. He is among the growing number of professionals who focus on helping clients successfully deal with A.I.

While this eventuality is yet to take off equally everywhere, some countries like South Korea have seen quicker implementation of hiring technology. About a quarter of top 131 corporations already utilize or plan to use AI in making personnel decisions. This trend has spawned the growth of classes like Seong-jung's.

One concrete tip he offers students – if you were to do a video interview involving facial recognition software that can analyze character, you have to think about how your face appears. "Don't force a smile with your lips," suggests the consultant, according to a profile in Reuters. Instead "Smile with your eyes," he says.

In one example of an AI-conducted interview, taken by Reuters reporters, the technology asked interviewees to introduce themselves while examining facial expressions and processing word choices. The AI was also not averse to asking unexpectedly difficult questions like the scenario "You are on a business trip with your boss and you spot him using the company (credit) card to buy himself a gift. What will you say?"

Another aspect to be aware of – AI often utilizes "gamification" tests to analyze your personality and how adaptable you are. It can get as specific as figuring out 37 capabilities of the interviewee and their likelihood in fitting into the position for which they are being considered, explained Chris Jung, a chief manager of software firm Midas IT. What's more – some games have no right or wrong answers. They are used to understand the problem-solving approach of the candidate.

Conscious machines: How will we test artificial intelligence for feeling?

If AI is like a shrink in the machine, how do you convince it you're the best person for the job? It's important to study your competition and to understand the culture of the company you are trying to work at.

Nathan Mondragon, the head psychologist at HireVue, which creates hiring software for such clients as Goldman Sachs and Unilever, described just how pervasive the AI analysis can really get in an interview with the Guardian.

"We break the answers people give down into many thousands of data points, into verbal and non-verbal cues," said Mondragon. "If you're answering a question about how you would spend a million dollars, your eyes would tend to shift upward, your verbal cues would go silent. Your head would tilt slightly upward with your eyes."

All the data Mondragon's software gathers becomes a score that can be compared to the scores of the company's best employees. It makes sense to hire the kind of people who have already been successful for you.

Another way AI can weed you out before your resume even gets to a human's eyes is through Applicant Tracking Systems (APS), which increasingly rely on artificial intelligence. These are intelligent software scanners that can go through massive pools of data to identify candidates based on certain keywords and assigned data factors. According to a list from the millennial job recruitment site Muse, key ways you can right away improve your presentation to the APS is through streamlining your resume and cover letter. In particular, they recommend keeping the formatting of any documents you send in simple and using the right keywords (checking them with services like Wordle and TagCrowd). More pointers – don't overdo acronyms, and get rid of career objectives.

Last bit of wisdom that bears repeating – run a spell-check.

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