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HireVue: Selling AI snake oil to gullible HR



A face-scanning algorithm increasingly decides whether you deserve the job

HireVue claims it uses artificial intelligence to decide who’s best for a job. Outside experts call it ‘profoundly disturbing.’

Source: The Washington Post


An artificial intelligence [AI] hiring system has become a powerful gatekeeper for some of America’s most prominent employers. Designed by the recruiting-technology firm HireVue, the system uses candidates’ computer or cellphone cameras to analyze their facial movements, word choice and speaking voice before ranking them against other applicants.

More than 100 employers now use the system, including Hilton, Unilever and Goldman Sachs, and more than a million job seekers have been analyzed. But some AI researchers argue the system is digital snake oil — an unfounded blend of superficial measurements and arbitrary number-crunching that is not rooted in scientific fact.


Nick’s take

Human Resources executives have always been suckers for HR technology. “It’s AI”! But real AI experts say now HR has jumped the shark. Er, snake. Ever willing to swallow the venture-funded concoctions of database jockeys masquerading as recruiting experts, HR doesn’t give a hoot about science — or common sense when hiring. So bring in those candidates, scrub ’em up and get ’em ready! The venture investors behind HireVue are delivering digital snake oil, and HR is holding the funnel. Are you ready to swallow it? We’ve covered this before, but the story keeps, uh, coming up.

What’s your take?

  • What do you think of AI in the recruiting and hiring process?
  • Have you ever sat for a cognitive facial scan with a straight face?
  • If you’re an employer, would you feed this stuff to your job applicants?




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  1. I have said this before and I will say it again. HireVue is used for candidates a company does not intend to hire OR such an interview is performed when they know that they want to consider the candidate. (Since it is about the process – everyone goes trough it.). The consent collects separate data on gender, race, disability, etc so that if anyone questions them they can say, “Look! We interviewed 100 candidates including this many women, and this many African Americans.” In case they are sued, HireVue gives them a paper trail.

    In my current job, the HR screening interview happened after my interview with my manager.

    • I should have proofread this better! Oh well.

  2. That is so messed up I don’t even know what to say.

    Our company FootVue actually monitors their foot movements, too many people think the head is what matters and the truth is in the toes.

  3. I’m waiting for the class-action lawsuit.

    • My sentiments exactly. In our litigious society, you’d think these clowns would have more sense. This discrimination is mind numbing and down right morally bankrupt. Reminds me of a previous job where the president hired only hot young women for his team. Problem was, they were either grossly inept, or had vile personalities and soft skills.

  4. These software charlatans are kept in business because of one driving factor: HR is lazy. HR “professionals” cannot be bothered to read CVs and applications just as hiring managers cannot be bothered to go out and recruit. So HR starts to believe in unicorns ie make the job description very long, then complain they have no time to read the overlong forms they required candidates to fill in but then and confronted by the dazzling fool’s ‘science’ of HR technology, they assume the software will get the ‘right’ candidate.

    The software exists because HR lacks the intellectual hardware of doing its job

    I remember Nick put up a post about HireVue and one of the respondents kept praising it until Nick sussed he was indeed working for HireVue. I wish I could find that post!

  5. On a previous topic, you wanted to know what we were scared of. Well, here’s an article about it. I’m afraid of just being another stalk of wheat to be harvested by my corporate owners at their leisure. How can this not be bias against someone who had a stroke, or someone like my daughter that has neurological issues that don’t let her control her face like other people, or people like me who are naturally bland, or individuals with autism that don’t emote in a “typical” fashion? …we won’t have money because we won’t have jobs so I guess we won’t matter…

    These people remind me of the bathroom tile repair guy my former landlord hired. He covered my house in ceramic dust. They didn’t believe their saw generated dust so they used it in my living room then refused to believe the dust on EVERYTHING was from them because their saw doesn’t create dust. There was no room for argument or thinking just like these HireVue goons.

    • HireVue is used so an employer can say they met numbers on an interview quota without paying a live person when they are NOT serious about a candidate.