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Oct 29 2019

Unilever is using AI in job interviews

Unilever claimed it is saving hundreds of thousands of pounds a year by using an artificial intelligence system to replace human recruiters. The change, however, is not easily accepted by everyone, especially by those that are against the spread of machine learning.


Artificial intelligence and facial expression technology are being used in job interviews by Unilever, aiming at identifying the best candidates by saving time and money. The multinational claims that the solution (which just arrived at the UK) saved 100,000 hours of human recruitment time in the last year by deploying software to analyse video interviews.

The system scans the candidates’ facial expressions, body language and word choice, and also checks them against characteristics that are considered to be predictive of job success. Unilever is not the only company taking advantage of this technology, as we already saw Vodafone, Singapore Airlines, Intel, among others, doing similar approaches.

Instead of sending representatives to elite universities, collecting résumés, and arranging follow-up phone interviews for the best candidates, Unilever has partnered with the digital HR service providers Pymetrics and HireVue to digitize the first steps of the process. If candidates pass the AI screening, they go through an in-person screening that determines whether or not they get the job.

Candidates learn about the jobs online through outlets like Facebook or LinkedIn and submit their LinkedIn profiles — no résumé required. After playing 12 neuroscience-based games on the Pymetrics platform, if their results match the required profile of a certain position, they move on to an interview via HireVue, where they record responses to preset interview questions. The technology analyzes things like keywords, intonation, and body language, and makes notes on them for the hiring manager. All of this can be completed on a smartphone or tablet.

If the candidate makes it through these two steps, he is invited to visit a Unilever office and to go through a day-in-the-life scenario. Finally a manager will decide whether they are the right fit for the job or not.

This approach is, however, far from being consensual, as the negative echos on the matter are substancial. According to a poll done by the Royal Society of Arts, 60% of the public are opposed to the use of automated decision-making in recruitment as well as in criminal justice.

Last week the United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston said the world risked “stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia” in which artificial intelligence and other technologies were used to target, surveil and punish the poorest people.

What is your oppinion? Do you this solution be will standard in a near future?

Nuno Costa


About the Author:

Nuno Costa

Senior Channel Business Development Associate


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