Computers are getting smarter by the day. They’re learning more about us too. But could computers become better at our jobs than us?
Research from Kosinski, Youyou and Stilwell (via The Huffington Post) showed that an algorithm that uses Facebook likes as its sole source of information can read people better than the human brain can. An algorithm takes data and runs it through an ordered set of instructions. In this case, the output of the algorithm is measured against the results of self-rated personality tests, producing a correlation score.
For example, the correlation between self-ratings and human ratings was 0.49. The correlation between self-ratings and computer ratings was stronger, registering 0.56.
Not only is the computer better than the average, it beats most social groups too. Co-workers have a correlation of 0.27; a computer can learn more about someone using just 10 Facebook likes. Friends (0.45) and family (0.50) are also no match for the mighty computer.
Fortunately for the human race, your loving husband or wife, at a correlation of 0.58, can read you better than a computer.
This all seems very trivial, but what if we apply the findings of this study to the world of recruitment. Algorithms are already being developed to match candidates to roles. Psychometric evaluation is becoming more firmly integrated into the recruitment process. Are recruiters under threat from technology?
A couple of years ago, Lior Shamir of www.ere.net preached about the end of traditional recruitment, highlighting the unrivaled efficiency and data processing of computers as the downfall of recruiters and HR personnel globally. He believes that new technology is marginalising the recruitment industry.
A number of different sources have stood up against the idea of having their recruitment offices looking like the forlorn room above; instead new technologies should compliment traditional recruiting methods. Kristin Cifolelli of www.aseonline.org puts forward the argument that computers cannot replace human on the emotional side of recruitment. Human contact is needed due to the erratic nature of human behaviour.
The Undercover Recruiter reported that candidates and clients really value the transparency of recruiters. They like knowing all the fine details of job roles and companies, and 70% of software engineers found out about new opportunities for work directly from recruiters.
Overall, it’s pretty clear that the recruitment sector as a whole will have to adapt to get the most from developing technologies. Algorithm-based recruitment will eventually come to the forefront of the industry, but its reach only goes as far as to compliment the irreplaceable intangible qualities of the recruiter. There are some aspects of recruitment computers just aren’t receptive to. Things like crisis communications, mock interviews, relationship building and management cannot be conducted by emotion-free technology – it takes a human mind to think with empathy, guile and reason, at least for now.
Statistics are just that: statistics. A computer can claim to know you, but does it really know you? Take Asimov’s laws of robotics into account. If they tell us anything, it’s that we should not entrust our emotions onto something that cannot emote back.
We pride ourselves on building real relationships with our candidates. We will never allow a machine to replace us, but we embrace all technology if it aids us in our quest to match you with the perfect role.