Will speech analysis determine your next promotion?

by on January 10, 2017 at 2:00 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

It works like this. Your 15-minute voice recording is analysed digitally — tone of voice, choice of words, sentence structure — to determine personality traits such as openness to change, enthusiasm, empathy. In a fraction of a second, a software program sums up your character. Charts and diagrams reveal how friendly, status-driven or well organised you are — compared to the recruiter’s ideal profile.

“There is no person in the world who would be able to analyse so many aspects of personality, skills and speech in just 15 minutes,” says Mario Reis, co-founder of Precire Technologies in Aachen, Germany. Their speech analysis tools are used by human resources giant Randstad, transport firm Fraport and vehicle insurance service provider Control€xpert, Reis says.

How about attaching a file analysis to your Tinder profile, or refusing to contact those who do not?  Here is the BBC story, via Michelle Dawson.

1 Per Kurowski January 10, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Then it seems that instead of an employment agency, you need to contract a Russian hacker to fix the ideal matching of your voice to the requirements.

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2 dearieme January 10, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Time for coaching sessions to learn how to mimic the requirements. Or just be sure to join the drama club at school.

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3 Ray Lopez January 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm

According to TC, for the jobs of the future we should all become butlers, maids and team players, with the cheery, bland, bot personality that goes with them. I suppose he’s right, if you’re not in the 1% like I am. Sad. And to think, a better patent policy would long term solve all these problems.

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4 carlospln January 10, 2017 at 11:30 pm

You’re not in the 1%.

“Many a slip, ‘twixt cup & lip”

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5 msgkings January 11, 2017 at 11:52 am

He is in the Phillipines

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6 Thor January 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Sometimes it helps to be eloquent: “Ask not what …” etc. “I have a dream …” etc.

Sometimes it helps to be pithy, sharp-as-a-tack and concise: “Tear down this wall!”

And sometimes, er, “bigly”.

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7 Per Kurowski January 10, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Info: On June 12, 2017, you’ve will in 30 years have gone from “Tear Down that Wall” to “Build Up that Wall”

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8 TMC January 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Surely there is a difference on whether you are building a wall to keep your citizens in, or others out.

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9 Per Kurowski January 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Is it? The problem with walls is that you can never be sure you end up on the right side… and any door blocking an entrance could also be blocking the exit.

10 Cliff January 11, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Yep, good point, that’s why castles had no walls, because the kings didn’t want to end up on the wrong side of them

11 Picador January 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm

“There is no person in the world who would be able to analyse so many aspects of personality, skills and speech in just 15 minutes”

… because it’s complete horseshit.

There is no science here. It’s astrology.

Also, I think it’s important to distinguish between articles from BBC.co.uk versus BBC.com. This is one of the latter. Along with the latest on Bat-boy, Bigfoot, and miracle diets. I honestly don’t understand why the BBC would squander its brand identity running its own BuzzFeed… I guess they’re more strapped for cash, government funding notwithstanding, than I realized.

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12 Per Kurowski January 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm

It has not one iota to do with if they can… but all to do with if they believe that doing so they can

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13 Mark Thorson January 10, 2017 at 3:58 pm

No, it’s if they can find customers who believe they can. They don’t have to believe it themselves, though that probably helps. What’s key is hiring a good sales team. My parents had a saying I heard frequently “A good salesman is easily sold.” Just cook up a good story with enough tech BS in it, pick persuasive salesmen, and you’re off to the races.

Japan would be a good place to launch this. Blood type in hiring was big there, as was handwriting analysis. Beats me why the Japanese fall for this kind of crap.

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14 Thiago Ribeiro January 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm

What? The guys who started a rebellion in Brazil because they kept insisting they had won the war believe weird thing? What next? Will cats start meowing? I remember a few years ago a doctor (American, I think) published a work proving the Japanese were crazy.

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15 Todd K January 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm

French companies have had a thing for hand-writing style for hiring for decades:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22198554

Then there are U.S. companies with cutting-edge personality tests. 90 out of 100 of the Fortune 100 uses them.

16 Anonymous January 10, 2017 at 7:15 pm

I’ve been told that the reason they do those personality tests is because they know people will fake them. If people aren’t willing to fake them, they won’t be expected to be compliant worker bees.

17 Thiago Ribeiro January 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm

“This is one of the latter. Along with the latest on Bat-boy, Bigfoot, and miracle diets. I honestly don’t understand why the BBC would squander its brand identity running its own BuzzFeed…”

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MoneyDearBoy

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18 Per Kurowski January 10, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Then they hire the wrong candidate, and when their bosses protests tomorrow, they’ll just blame the Russian hacker 🙂

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19 yo January 10, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Those HR startups. I recently heard a podcast where an exec of one of those, when prompted why we need this, said screening within 15 minutes “saves money”. It doesn’t. Longer interviews are apparently better, at least for the high cognitive ability jobs of the future. The big banks and tech companies know this. They have had multiple interview rounds for every candidate for years as a matter of policy, where every exec and their cat is involved for hours no matter how high the opportunity cost. The people trying to hire the best are taking good old fashioned one on one interviewing super seriously.

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20 Cliff January 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm

But isn’t an interview just about he worst predictor of job success?

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21 Nationalist January 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm

The word ‘phrenology’ gets thrown around a lot. This really is phrenology.

“How about attaching a file analysis to your Tinder profile, or refusing to contact those who do not?”

Well, if you’re someone who can afford to be that choosy, you wouldn’t have an online dating profile in the first place.

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22 XVO January 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm

There was a study out of China recently that showed phrenology worked for predicting who was (would be) a criminal and who wasn’t. They used a deep learning AI and thousands of pictures of people’s faces.

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23 Anonymous January 10, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Presumably no member of the Communist party turned out to be a criminal., thereby justifying the validity of the study.

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24 Alain January 10, 2017 at 3:23 pm

I wouldn’t bet sharing this working. I would bet upon it failing the disparate impact test, like almost all similar technologies.

Really and the law are very much at odds here, and in the US the law wins.

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25 Thiago Ribeiro January 10, 2017 at 3:27 pm

“Your 15-minute voice recording is analysed digitally — tone of voice, choice of words, sentence structure — to determine personality traits such as openness to change, enthusiasm, empathy. In a fraction of a second, a software program sums up your character.”
I always say empathy is the most important trait a worker must display, I fake as much of it as I can bear to fake.

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26 Sean Rutledge January 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

This sounds like something that was developed, and available in text version for a while using IBM Watson – it analyzes the Big 5.

I played around with it on my journal, Linkedin profile, and resume, and got several different versions of my personality, much depends on my mood.

NPR carried an article about it
http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/12/22/459954667/i-asked-a-computer-to-be-my-life-coach

You can run it yourself here, and there is a further link to show it in a starburst pattern.
https://personality-insights-livedemo.mybluemix.net/

This document describes the model they use.
http://www.ibm.com/watson/developercloud/doc/personality-insights/models.shtml

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27 JWatts January 10, 2017 at 3:45 pm

“It works like this. Your 15-minute voice recording is analysed digitally — tone of voice, choice of words, sentence structure — to determine personality traits such as openness to change, enthusiasm, empathy. In a fraction of a second, a software program sums up your character. Charts and diagrams reveal how friendly, status-driven or well organised you are — compared to the recruiter’s ideal profile.”

I don’t think this would work nearly as well as a genetic scan. /sarcasm

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28 Aretino January 10, 2017 at 3:47 pm

How is this any different from how handwriting analysis is used in some countries?

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29 Per Kurowski January 10, 2017 at 3:50 pm

It uses more sophisticated equipment, which allows you to charge more for the service 🙂

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30 M January 10, 2017 at 3:55 pm

You *might* be able to predict those traits by voice.

But you can already predict those traits (standard Big 5 personality stuff) by, well, asking people.

Employers don’t usually use this data much, because it’s not very useful. Often legally it’s discriminatory.

I don’t think extracting the data from a voice sample is going to change that so much.

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31 Anonymous January 10, 2017 at 3:58 pm

They promised us flying cars. We got discriminated against for something we cannot control.

In terms of reasons why swing voters voted for Trump, I would put “hostility to the HR department” in the top five.

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32 Thiago Ribeiro January 10, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Trump – you’re fired! – is tje JR department!

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33 Nick_L January 10, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Does it also check for Power Poses? Oh, wait a sec..

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34 The Original Other Jim January 10, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I love that you cannot even give an IQ test any more because racism…. but Tyler sees no problem with handing out promotions via by voice analysis.

Sure thing, big guy.

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35 Bill January 10, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Too bad the program doesn’t work

On the

Typewritten word.

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36 Li Zhi January 10, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Thank goodness enthusiasm can’t be faked! Nor empathy, nor openness. Whew!
I’m thinking of coding an AI “voice coach” to teach tone, inflection, word-choice, sentence structure, subject, and for a whole-lot-more, a service which will provide live on-screen script and coaching during any live interview. Those Apple earbuds are going to come in real handy…

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37 Kentaro_Moto January 10, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Japan is Western (American) on the surfaces (MacDonalds, Starbucks, KFC), but underneath, still basically Chinese. It seems obvious, but doesn’t really sink in until you’ve been here long enough.Their view of the world, what’s in it, and how it works, how it should be, comes from China, not Europe (duh!). That’s why they believe so many kooky things (Americans would never do that! French however hire people based on graphology, I’ve been told.) Approximately, the same can be said of Korea.

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38 derek January 10, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Sounds like an excellent way to remove companies from ‘who I would be interested to work for’ list.

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39 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 11, 2017 at 8:02 am

How about attaching a file analysis to your Tinder profile, or refusing to contact those who do not?

Tinder is all about banging – why would anyone care about voice analysis?

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