Retorio talent personality assessments criticised as inaccurate, biased

Occurred: February 2021

An algorithm owned by Munich-based start-up Retorio responds differently to the same candidate in different outfits, such as glasses and headscarves, prompting concerns about accuracy and bias.

Retorio analyses video to determine personality attributes based on the 'Ocean' Big Five Model, which breaks down scores into 'openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.'

However, reporters from Bayerischer Rundfunk (German Public Broadcasting) discovered that the company's personality assessment system produced significantly different scores when analysing a woman wearing spectacles and a headscarf, a darkened video of a Black woman, or when a bookshelf was added in the background.

Retorio responded by saying the difference in results was due to the fact that the system had been trained based on how a chosen group of human recruiters perceived jobseekers and their personalities, leading the algorithm to reproduce the feelings and biases of those humans.

On its website, Retorio describes its personality product as 'the world's most innovative video-based personality assessment.'

System 🤖

Operator: Lufthansa; BMW Group; ADAC
Developer: Retorio
Country: Germany
Sector: Business/professional services
Purpose: Identify personality traits
Technology: Emotion recognition; Facial analysis; Computer vision
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - race
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Investigations, assessments, audits 🧐

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: May 2022