In South Korea, obsessed with schools, students teach for everything from K-pop auditions to real estate businesses. Now, the main Korean companies are implementing artificial intelligence in hiring, and job seekers want to learn how to beat robots.

From his basement office in downtown Gangnam, professional career consultant Park Seong-jung is among those in a growing business that offers lessons on how to handle recruitment selection by computers, not by people. Video interviews that use facial recognition technology to analyze the character are key, according to Park.

“Do not force a smile with your lips,” he told students looking for work in a recent session, one of the many he said he had directed for hundreds of people. “Smile with your eyes.”

Classes in the management of AI in recruitment, now used by the main conglomerates of South Korea such as SK Innovation (096770.KS) and Hyundai Engineering & Construction (000720.KS), remain a small niche in the school industry Billionaire of the country. . But classes are growing rapidly, operators such as Park’s People & People consulting claim, which offer a three-hour package for up to 100,000 won ($ 86.26).

There are good reasons to see the potential. According to statistics from Korea, up to eight out of 10 South Korean students have used small schools, and rampant youth unemployment in the country (almost one in four young people is not in the labor force by certain measures), according to Statistics Korea. It is not present in other countries where Cram schools are popular, such as Japan.

“AI will not naturally be asking personal questions,” said Yoo Wan-jae, a 26-year-old who is looking for work in the hotel industry. “That will make it a bit awkward … I will have to enroll in crowded schools for the AI ​​interview,” Yoo said, speaking in the Noryangjin district of Seoul, known as ‘Exam Village’, packed with packed schools and study halls. . .

Companies around the world are experimenting with increasingly advanced AI techniques to reduce applicant lists.

But Lee Soo-young, director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), told Reuters by phone that new technology is being more widely adopted in South Korea, where large employers exercise a lot influence in a difficult job. market.

According to the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI), almost a quarter of the country’s 131 major corporations currently use or plan to use AI in hiring.

An AI video system reviewed by Reuters asks candidates to introduce themselves, during which it detects and counts facial expressions that include “fear” and “joy” and analyzes word choices. Then he asks questions that can be difficult: “You are on a business trip with your boss and you see him using the company’s (credit) card to buy a gift. What will you say?”

The hiring of AI also uses “gamification” to measure the personality and adaptability of a candidate by subjecting it to a sequence of tests.

“Through gamification, employers can verify 37 different capabilities of an applicant and how well the person fits into a position,” said Chris Jung, chief manager of the software firm Midas IT in Pangyo, a technology center called Silicon South Korea Valley.

Preparing for such exams does not necessarily imply simply memorizing answers. “Some games don’t even have a” correct answer, “since they are meant to detect the applicant’s problem-solving attitude,” Jung said.

At People & People, consultant Park said he gave AI recruitment talks to more than 700 college students, graduates and professors in 2019.

“Students are fighting for the appearance of AI interviews. My goal is to help them be fully prepared for what they will face, ”said Park.

In an online chat room monitored by Park, with more than 600 participants, numerous messages indicate thanks for the lessons and success in AI interview missions.

But in other places, some who have not yet taken lessons have already given up.

Kim Seok-wu, a 22-year-old senior at a college, recently failed to go beyond an artificial intelligence interview for a management position at a retail company, and decided to pursue a graduate school instead of trying of finding a job

“I think I will feel desperate if all companies turn to AI for hiring,” Kim said. “The AI ​​interview is too new, so job seekers don’t know what to prepare for and any preparation seems pointless since AI will read our faces if we invent something.”

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