Everything about Facial Recognition Technology and how is it relevant in the field of employment?

Facial Recognition Technology or FRT has gained immense relevance in the sector of employment as HR departments are finding it beneficial to manage employees.

Further to this general trend, the COVID-19 pandemic, with the resulting enforced movement to home working for many employers and employees, has prompted employers to consider new ways of monitoring and managing staff, including FRT.

In this article, we look at how FRT works, where we are seeing its use in the employment sphere, and some of the risks and pitfalls when implementing FRT at work.

1. FRT – how it works

Facial recognition is the process of identifying or verifying the identity of a person using their face. FRT captures analyses and compares patterns based on the person's facial details. In simple terms, it works using the application of algorithms as follows:

  • Step 1: detecting and locating a human face or faces in images and videos.

  • Step 2: transformation of analogue information (a face) into a set of digital data based on the person's facial features, which can then be applied.

  • Step 3: verifying whether two images match, based on the digital information collected.

2. How are employers using FRT?

The use of FRT in the workplace has become more widespread over the past few years and is now used in multiple ways in the employment context.

Streamlining Recruitment

FRT-based software can be applied to analyze the facial expressions, vocabulary and tone of voice of candidates and then rank each candidate based on an automatically generated ‘employability’ score. Firms such as Vodafone, Unilever and Intel, as well as the likes of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, are all reportedly using this type of software to improve efficiency in recruitment. Unilever is reported to have claimed that its average recruitment time has been cut by 75% as a result of such processes.

Attendance tracking and time-recording

Traditional attendance tracking and clock-in/time recording systems are open to abuse, particularly at sites where lots of people regularly come and go. FRT was adopted early in certain sectors, such as manufacturing and construction, where it can be difficult to monitor accurate on-site attendance and where the practice of workers clocking in for absent colleagues could be an issue. It has also seen growth in other sectors in recent years. The software usually requires the worker to enter a unique pin code and then stand in front of a camera while their identify is verified by FRT.

Monitoring activity and productivity