June 25, 2015
I recently came across an article discussing the potential for professional recruiters to use wearables. (Really everyone is getting in on the wearable tech game: first lawyers, then farmers, now recruiters.) The author of the article states that wearables “open the door to a range of new testing techniques to assess candidates and offer additional information to supply to client businesses.” The concept is the following: In the near future, recruiters could provide candidates with wearable devices and then undertake mock interviews and competency tests to determine whether or not an applicant is right for the job. How? By analyzing the data, of course. In this scenario, wearable data (various biometric information) would “objectively” indicate how a candidate copes under pressure; and that info/analysis could then be relayed back to a potential employer, exploited to provide coaching to improve the candidate, or else used to rule him or her out of a job.
Imagine being given a smart band or smart watch for a job interview. The concept is a bit unnerving, like employing wearable tech as a slightly less sinister lie detector. Don’t get me wrong, I’m clearly a big advocate for the potential of wearable technology to transform business. (Just add the recruiting industry to the already long list of industries that stand to be utterly changed by this new wave of mobile tech.) But there have to be boundaries/guidelines to protect the wearers in all use cases.
Let’s compare using wearables for job interviews with new corporate wellness programs integrating wearable fitness tracking devices: These programs have come under fire by some due to concerns over employees’ rights and privacy. Employers (or job interviewers) must toe the line as far as how they use employees’ (or interviewees’) personal data to the benefit or detriment of those individuals. I can imagine a potential legal issue arising should a job candidate be ruled out based solely upon wearable data. What if this individual were to make some sort of discrimination claim? How objective is such a method of testing new recruits, anyways, considering that most currently available wearable devices are not entirely accurate/fool-proof?