Powering up Your Hiring Strategy with Emotion AI: What Experts Think

Thought Leadership
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The world of recruitment has changed fast due to the twin effects of advancing technology, and business compulsions driven primarily by remote working. Emerging technologies, such as Video and Emotion AI, seem poised to disrupt the recruitment landscape as we enter the new decade.

However, there are many questions enveloping these technologies that need to be answered before this becomes mainstream. The biggest questions are what do recruiters think about such disruptive technologies? What is the mindset of industry leaders regarding the adoption of relatively new technologies like Emotion AI? And, what should be the right approach toward its adoption?

To answer some of these burning questions, EnableX organised a webinar on July 22, 2021: “Powering up Your Hiring Strategy With Emotion AI.”

Some very experienced and influential industry experts participated in this webinar, and shared their rich experiences and interesting observations, while also offering practical solutions to many prevalent problems.

Our Panelists

The panel included experts from the recruitment industry and CEOs with rich and diverse experience in recruitment and technology.

  • Rajesh Pandey: Founder Director, People Factor LLP
  • Mehul Bhatt: Co-Founder & CEO, FloCareer
  • Neil Persaud: Co-Founder, LiveMore
  • Pankaj Gupta: CEO and Founder, vCloudx
  • Daya Prakash (Moderator): Founder TalentOnLease, an emerging IT Staffing Firm

Here are some of the key ideas that emerged in the panel discussion:

Top 4 Recruiting Challenges

Here is a list of the top four critical issues afflicting the recruitment environment as espoused by our panelists:

1. Scarcity of Qualified Talent

Nowadays, the number of applicants for a single job position can be overwhelming. “We have seen a crazy explosion in the number of applicants, often surpassing 200-250 for a single position. And only 2% of candidates are qualified. That’s a disappointing scenario,” says Rajesh.

Every recruiting manager understands the difficulties associated with finding the right resource, with the right skills, at the right time and price.

This difficulty is even more pronounced in tech companies looking for people working at the cutting-edge of digital technologies, such as Cloud, AI, DevOps and Big Data.

“Attracting such qualified candidates is now a cause for concern for recruiters. Often, they get multiple job offers,” opines Mehul Bhatt. However, the problem is existing recruitment process is not designed to handle this situation.

2. Preventing Suspicious Activities During Online Evaluation

It’s a no-brainer that lockdowns forced by the Covid-19 pandemic have encouraged remote hiring, and the trend is likely to continue in the future. While it offers recruiters a wider talent pool of qualified candidates, recruitment-related frauds are also flourishing. Candidates are adopting unique ways to dodge the existing online evaluation processes. Rajesh recalled an incident when a candidate was lip-syncing during the interview while another person was speaking in the background on his behalf.  He quips, “we never had to deal with such issues earlier. Still, it’s a harsh reality of modern virtual recruitment that we all have to accept.”

It would be naïve to dismiss these incidents as country-specific or one-off issues. Neil Persaud says, “The stakes of not getting a job can be high, which is the main reason that forces candidates to adopt any means to get a job.”

A talent manager has to ensure that their organisation doesn’t succumb to such foul play like placing proxies for online assessments and cheating etc. With Emotion AI and Live Video, curbing such suspicious activities is possible to a great extent.

3. Supply-Demand Mismatch

A majority of recruitment-related challenges boil down to just one single reason: the lack of supply of quality candidates compared to demand.

The solution is also quite apparent to the industry, such as attracting qualified candidates and selecting the right candidates with appropriate skills, expertise and cultural fitment. That’s where Emotion AI can play a pivotal role, and when paired with live video, the combo becomes really powerful.

4. Unconscious Human Biases

Recruitment is a subjective process, and unconscious biases may creep in during the interview process. Recruiters often form an opinion about candidates prematurely.

Explaining this further, Daya Prakash shares his observation, “I have seen people preferring one candidate over another simply because they share common interests, resulting in rejection of many qualified candidates.”

While agreeing with Daya, Neil also stressed the importance of eliminating such biases since they can be counterproductive to business interests in the long run.

“Senior managers often have a penchant for preferring candidates who are their mirror images, but their similarities may not translate in performance at the workplace,” Rajesh raised a valid point.

Backed by data-driven insights, Emotion AI certainly can help reduce such unconscious human biases.

What is Emotion AI And Why It’s Being Touted As Game Changer in Recruitment

Emotion AI refers to AI-driven technology that can help derive valuable insights into the emotional state of a person after measuring multiple parameters, such as facial expressions, eye and head movement and other non-verbal cues of a person.

However, the big question is: can it solve the recruitment issues discussed above? “New technologies always emerge on the horizon to solve specific business problems.

From resume and cultural fitment to psychological suitability of candidates, it has a role to play for sure. It can be a wonderful aide to assess candidate’s suitability in BPO/KPO industry as well as many other industries,” says Mehul.

In addition to tangible qualitative benefits, the technology can be useful in large scale recruitment drives. “With Emotion AI by the side, recruiters can evaluate entire candidates’ pipeline and eliminate unsuitable applicants in the early phase of recruitment,” explains Rajesh.

And it’s not a fantasy; many enterprise-level companies have already adopted it. Unilever, a global FMCG conglomerate, reportedly saved 100,000 hours of human recruitment hours by analysing video interviews in a single year using Emotion Recognition Technology, as reported by The Guardian. Many other global brands like IBM, Dunkin Donuts, Vodafone and Singapore Airlines have also started using similar systems in their recruitment workflow.

There is now a growing acceptance among talent managers that Emotion AI will be the next big game-changer for organisations in the future. It can assist in recruiting suitable candidates, eliminate unconscious biases, and detect online assessment frauds.

Can We Trust Emotion AI Signals?

While answering this question, Pankaj shares a different perspective, “most people miss a crucial point that Emotion AI acts as an enabler in recruitment decision making. It provides useful data-driven insights generated after evaluating 130+ attributes.”

It works on proven psychological studies like Ekman’s Discreet model and Russel’s 2D framework. Explaining further, he says,” it never tells whether to select or reject a candidate but offers valuable inputs for decision making such as whether the candidate was confident, attentive, passionate or shows interest.”

Emotion AI Adoption: The Right Approach

A decade ago, it was no more than a fancy buzzword. Nowadays, it’s a reality. The question is how to move toward adoption.

Pankaj opines, “industry leaders are at ease with new technology like Emotion AI as more than 50% organisations are already using AI in some way or another. So, their mindset is favourable towards adoption. But the question lurking in their mind is how to take the first baby steps in the right direction.”

He suggests a practical way to get rid of initial hesitation, “the key to success lies in the right approach toward adoption.” He adds further, “companies should go slow initially while implementing the solution and bring this technology in a phased manner.”

Final Thoughts

Emotional recognition technology is now a reality, and it will dramatically impact the way companies recruit people. It’s only a matter of time when talent managers start embracing it to deal with many recruitment challenges plaguing the industry.

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