Wearable Technology: What are the Implications for Recruiters?

While wearable technology such as devices like Google Glass could revolutionise recruitment, warning bells are beginning to ring in the ears of even the most ardent of technology believers.

Initially sceptical about Google Glass myself – after all how many of us actually choose to wear anything other than sunglasses – I checked out a pair recently and was surprised at how quickly I became used to wearing them. I was also intrigued to discover how unobtrusive and useful they actually were; instead of looking down at your computer or smart device, Glass is positioned above your right eye, which allows you to simultaneously look up while using the gadget and engage with the world.

The virtues of utilising wearable glasses to record and assess interviews and gauge applicants’ responses to questions have already been cited; the ability to view and share with others for both real time comment, or at a later date, would most certainly be useful. However, already dubbed with the derogative term ‘Glasshole’, there is a danger that any negative connotation holds negative implications for companies looking to use any wearable glass technology for recruitment purposes.

We are, of course, being extremely futuristic here – as yet Explorer Glass retailing at £1,000 – is not designed for recording with a battery life of only 45 minutes at best, but here are a few of the more humanistic concerns, which may cause an issue for recruiters.

The Recruiter Spy Factor

Google go to great lengths to reassure us that Glass is not a potential spy tool. However, any perceived notion by the candidate that during an interview their responses were being digitally probed, would feel very unnatural and obtrusive. Responses gleaned to questions would be guarded if the interviewee thought you had the means within seconds to check out the facts via their digital footprint. The whole purpose of a face-to-face interview is to put the candidate at their ease to ensure you get the best from them; this is hardly the way forward.

The Recruiter Distraction Factor

Any interviewer wearing Glass in the near future would be a curiosity distraction in itself. Although permission would be sought (one assumes) to utilise this technology, candidates would feel reluctant to refuse in case it counted against them. With Glass lighting up every time you give a voice command, or press a button, this would hardly be good for a candidate’s concentration especially if they think someone is checking them out in some way. Even if you were simply sharing information with a colleague – you already have a paranoid interviewee on your hands!

The Recruiter ‘Tables Turned’ Factor

We should never forget that while secret filming by a candidate of an interview may not admissible evidence in court – promulgation of video or images  via social media could be far more damnable to your reputation than the law could ever be. Technology, whether wearable or not, could potentially be turn tabling for employers in a candidate’s pursuit of evidence of discrimination.

So potentially paranoia all round then!

The evidence for wearable technology such as Google Glass for use in industry and medicine is indisputable; personally I feel the evidence of effectiveness for interviewing is unconvincing. I suspect the social reaction to usage will be the determining factor. Either that, or as Eric Schmidt suggested back in 2010, people change their name to reset online identities and hide the exuberance of youthful antics.

Why not take a look at this Job Interview and ‘Onboarding’ film produced by TMP Labs last year imagining how Google Glass could impact the way recruiters conduct interviews more collaboratively, and how a new employee’s first days could be more productive and fun. The Onboarding part could catch on!

Feature image courtesy of Chris Polydoroff, Pioneer Press
Content images courtesy of TMP Labs

Mike Sandiford
Head of Partnerships
enquiries@jobstheword.co.uk
0207 193 9931

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