AI Will Evaluate Your Job Application. Do You Still Want to Apply?
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AI Will Evaluate Your Job Application. Do You Still Want to Apply?

A study suggests that the answer may depend on how artificial intelligence is used.

By Lisa Ward
Tue, Mar 8, 2022 11:02amGrey Clock 2 min

If job seekers knew companies were using artificial intelligence to fill open positions, would it stop them from applying for the job?

The answer, according to a recent study, is yes—sometimes.

The researchers found that in certain instances, like the screening of applications, study participants usually accepted some degree of automation. But in other instances, like interviews, the study suggests, automation could deter job seekers from applying for a position.

Companies contending with recent labor shortages are increasingly turning to AI as a way to facilitate and speed up the hiring process. AI can be used in such tasks as screening job applicants for basic qualifications, checking for professional credentials and licenses, evaluating video statements, interviewing candidates and conducting competency assessments.

The new research underscores when using AI in hiring could be counterproductive. For instance, in one part of the study participants were shown fictional job postings and then asked if they intended to apply for the position. The researchers found that if the job posting said AI was used to both screen applicants and conduct interviews, participants’ intention to apply to the position averaged 2.77 on a six-point scale, with 6 reflecting the highest intention to apply. If AI was used only for the screening process, participants’ intention to apply averaged 3.73.

In another experiment, the authors also found that study participants saw pros as well as cons in the use of AI in interviewing.

Participants who saw a job posting stating that AI was used to both screen applicants and conduct interviews expected the hiring process to be more consistent in its judgments than those who saw postings with less AI involvement, ranking the process at an average of 3.66 for consistency on a five-point scale, with 5 being most consistent. Participants where AI was to be used to screen applicants but not interview them ranked the process at 3.48 for consistency, and participants where the posting made no mention of automation ranked the process at 3.16 for consistency.

On the other hand, participants who were told the hiring would be fully automated tended to believe more than others that they had less agency or voice in the final outcome. Overall, the study results suggest this concern tends to outweigh the appreciation of AI’s lack of bias at the interviewing stage.

“A hybrid approach where companies use AI in some tasks but not others may be a way to get the best of both worlds,” says Jenny Wesche, a co-author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Free University of Berlin. Participants may have been more open to automation earlier in the hiring process because they had little expectation of direct interaction at that stage and could see some benefits from using AI—such as less-biased decisions and the avoidance of problems like nepotism, she says. But during the later stages, she suggests, applicants expect personal interaction, to give them an opportunity to sell themselves and to learn more about the company.

“AI is not inherently good or bad,” Dr. Wesche says. “It just very much depends on the context it’s used.”

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: March 7, 2022.

 



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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

MOST POPULAR
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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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