sight unseen: unleashing the power of visual sourcing

October 15, 2014

facial recognition technology a powerful tool for sourcers

At the recent Sourcing Summit Europe at Randstad’s headquarters in Diemen, the Netherlands, I was introduced to the fascinating world of visual sourcing through a presentation by Oscar Mager of Recruiting Essentials. He explained that through this sourcing strategy, companies can begin to harness the power of visual data, using some of the technologies that social networks have developed.

In an increasingly visual world, images are a source of big data. Did you know that more than 70% of Facebook activity involves interaction with pictures and videos, and more than 300,000 photos are uploaded to Facebook every day? Features such as auto-tagging and photo editing filters have greatly improved the visual side of social networking – data that individuals are capitalizing on so successfully in their private lives. But how can all this data improve your talent acquisition efforts?

facial recognition technology
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Foursquare not only store and share photos of their users, but they have also developed facial recognition technology. This allows these sites to identify individuals within photos. Facebook, for instance, can take two photos and say with 97.25% accuracy if the photos contain the same face, regardless of lighting or angle. Humans can perform the same task with 97.53% accuracy. 

But facial recognition technology is not limited to the auto-tagging of Facebook holiday albums. Crime detection agencies are using it to catch criminals at international borders, while high-street stores are able to adapt product offerings according to whether a man or a woman is passing one of their digital advertisements. 

a sourcing goldmine
If social networks, agencies, and shops are successfully using this technology, so can sourcers. Sourcing involves finding out about people, and every online trace can reveal more about a potential target. In fact, with people’s pictures floating all over the internet (sometimes even without their knowledge), there’s enough information available to give sourcing a whole new dimension. In short, images are a sourcing goldmine. 

More specifically, visual sourcing can deliver more relevant results than conventional name searching. Especially for more common names, images are better for identifying a particular individual. Because many people use the same picture for multiple profiles, a simple “search by image” of a person’s profile picture on Google Image Search can easily point to profiles with identical pictures.

Google Glass 
It is now easier than ever to enjoy the potential practical benefits of facial recognition technology. Facial recognition software has already been streamlined to run on the limited computing power of a smartphone or a Google Glass device. Using online visual data, Google Glass can often correctly identify people and provide information that is available online on their careers, networks, and personal details. Take a look below at how Google Glass can work in practice at a networking event. Creepy? Perhaps. But it also opens up fantastic new opportunities for sourcers. 

As technology expands sourcing possibilities, the industry will continue to turn to those on the front lines working hard to demystify new tools and methodologies. With visual sourcing now emerging as the next big innovation for finding and engaging candidate, you can be sure that Randstad Sourceright and other experts will find new and powerful ways to leverage this tool.

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