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‘Smile with your eyes’: How to beat South Korea’s AI hiring bots and land a job

SEOUL: In cram school-obsessed South Korea, college students fork out for lessons in all the things from Okay-pop auditions to actual property offers. Now, prime Korean companies are rolling out synthetic intelligence in hiring – and jobseekers need to discover ways to beat the bots.

From his basement workplace in downtown Gangnam, careers advisor Park Seong-jung is amongst these in a rising enterprise of providing classes in dealing with recruitment screening by computer systems, not individuals. Video interviews utilizing facial recognition expertise to analyse character are key, in response to Park.

“Do not pressure a smile together with your lips,” he advised college students searching for work in a current session, considered one of many he stated he has performed for a whole bunch of individuals. “Smile together with your eyes.”

Lessons in coping with AI in hiring, now being utilized by main South Korean conglomerates like SK Innovation and Hyundai Engineering & Development, are nonetheless a tiny area of interest within the nation’s multi-billion greenback cram faculty trade. However lessons are rising quick, operators like Park’s Folks & Folks consultancy declare, providing a three-hour package deal for as much as 100,000 received ($86.26).

There’s good motive to see potential. As many as eight out of each 10 South Korean college students are estimated to have used cram faculties, and rampant youth unemployment within the nation – practically one in 4 younger individuals are not within the workforce by sure measures, in response to Statistics Korea – gives a motive not current in different nations the place cram faculties are well-liked, like Japan.

“The AI will not be naturally asking private questions,” stated Yoo Wan-jae, a 26-year-old searching for work within the hospitality trade. “That may make it a bit uncomfortable … I am going to want to join cram faculties for the AI interview,” stated Yoo, talking in Seoul’s Noryangjin district, often known as ‘Examination Village’, filled with cram faculties and school rooms.

‘Concern, pleasure and gamification’

Companies world wide are experimenting with more and more superior AI methods for whittling down applicant lists.

However Lee Soo-young, a director of Korea Superior Institute of Science and Expertise (KAIST) Institute for Synthetic Intelligence, advised Reuters by phone the brand new expertise is being extra extensively embraced in South Korea, the place giant employers wield a lot affect in a tightening job market.

In response to Korea Financial Analysis Institute (KERI), practically 1 / 4 of the highest 131 firms within the nation at present use or plan to make use of AI in hiring.

One AI video system reviewed by Reuters asks candidates to introduce themselves, throughout which it spots and counts facial expressions together with ‘worry’ and ‘pleasure’ and analyses phrase decisions. It then asks questions that may be powerful: “You might be on a enterprise journey together with your boss and you notice him utilizing the corporate (credit score) card to purchase himself a present. What is going to you say?”

AI hiring additionally makes use of ‘gamification’ to gauge a candidate’s character and flexibility by placing them by a sequence of exams.

“By gamification, employers can verify 37 completely different capabilities of an applicant and the way effectively the individual matches right into a place,” stated Chris Jung, a chief supervisor of software program agency Midas IT in Pangyo, a tech hub dubbed South Korea’s Silicon Valley.

Making ready for such exams does not essentially contain merely memorising solutions. “Some video games do not actually have a ‘proper reply’, as they’re aimed to identify the problem-solving perspective of the applicant,” Jung stated.


At Folks & Folks, advisor Park stated he gave AI hiring talks to over 700 college college students, graduates and lecturers in 2019.

“College students are struggling from the emergence of AI interviews. My aim is to assist them be totally ready for what they are going to be coping with,” stated Park.

In a web-based chat room monitored by Park, with greater than 600 contributors, quite a few messages point out thanks for the lessons and success in AI interview quests.

However elsewhere, some who have not but taken classes have already given up.

Kim Seok-wu, a 22-year-old senior at a prime college, not too long ago did not get past an AI interview for a administration place at a retail firm, and determined to pursue graduate faculty as a substitute of looking for a job.

“I feel I’ll really feel hopeless if all corporations go AI for hiring,” Kim stated. “The AI interview is simply too new, so job candidates do not know what to arrange for and any preparations appear meaningless for the reason that AI will learn our faces if we make one thing up.” – Reuters

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