Where Are They Now: Kevin Parker

Kevin Parker, HireVue

Looking to hire the best person for the job? One firm has found success meshing traditional methods with game-based assessments and artificial intelligence.

Kevin Parker, chairman and CEO of HireVue, said his firm offers tools and guidance to help companies transition to a new age of hiring, where artificial intelligence plays a role in increasing diversity and bringing in the best talent.

HireVue’s next phase is focused on incorporating newly acquired technology with MindX.

“Their assessments are gamified cognitive skills tests that are very engaging for candidates and deepen and broaden the skills and characteristics that companies can assess before hiring,” he said. “We can’t help improve diversity unless we make assessments more welcoming and engaging for more people and deploy a technology that is blind to race, gender and age.”

Parker describes the approach as an AI/human partnership. Technological advances, he said, can be invaluable, but they won’t work without the human element.

“Sometimes, in tech companies, we believe in our hearts that the technology itself is sufficient to solve big problems,” Parker said. “What we’ve come to realize is that our technology is terrific, but by itself, it can’t affect change. People are still very much required in the hiring process.”

Armed with an accounting degree, Parker landed his first job out of college at Price Waterhouse, where he came up through the ranks and began to see the bigger picture of how businesses operate.

“I worked on accounts for major hospitals, ski resorts, equipment manufacturers, boat builders and many others,” he recalled. “But with the first technology company account, I was hooked.”

When the company offered him a job, he accepted and went on to build a new career trajectory. The lessons he learned from his accounting days continue to help him today.

Earlier in his career, Parker helped take Deltek public, a journey he describes as “genuinely thrilling and rewarding.”

“It’s been enormously exciting to see their success accelerate,” he said. “That has set the foundation for my work here at HireVue, where I hope to have the same experience over time.”

One of the biggest mistakes employers often make is relying on traditional filters like resumes in recruiting candidates, he said.

“Anyone can hire a resume writing service and polish a resume up, so if recruiters and hiring managers are relying heavily on resumes, they’re giving in to what I call the illusion of validity, which comes with a price,” Parker said. “They may have to hire for that same job nine months from now.”

Instead, he said, employers have better results when they go beyond resumes, carefully defining the job itself as well as the skills and personal characteristics required and pairing that information with relevant pre-hire assessments.

Unconscious human bias can be a powerful influencer in the hiring process, Parker said, and HireVue’s tools help address that concern.

“When we see the fantastic results for our customers — the increase in diversity of new hires at our customers, the business impact of hiring the best people and retaining them long-term — that motivates us to continue educating the market and correcting misconceptions around AI,” he said.

Parker lives his life by the idea that “there’s no substitute for hard work,” and that one ought not to “let the perfect get in the way of the good.” His work is framed in a philosophy that hard work is required in life and that no one has a preordained right to be here.

“Taking out the trash and recycling helps me stay grounded,” he added.

Parker was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Albany, and now lives in Utah.

He and his wife Annie have been married more than 20 years. They have one daughter, Kate. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, skiing, mountain biking, spending time with his family and taking photographs.

As an extension of his love of the great outdoors, Parker is on the board of directors for the Park City Community Foundation and is active with his wife in the National Park Foundation. They are in the fourth year sponsoring 30 underprivileged young adults from Fresno, California, to do trail work through the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps in Sequoia National Park.

“Most of them have never before set foot in the park, although they’ve lived 20 miles away from it their entire lives,” he said. “I’ve witnessed how this work transforms their lives.”

For some, the only interaction they’ve had with a government worker has been with the police.

“They spend the summer living in in the park, camping and doing trail work,” he said. “At the end, they invite their families to come see the park and the results of their work, and they begin seeing the government as a potential employer. It’s an introduction to a completely different life for them.”

The couple has also established scholarships for first-generation college students in upstate New York to attend his alma mater, Clarkson University.

Long-term, Parker wants to see his company be successful and impact lives in positive ways long past the time he is personally involved.

“It’s an exciting time at HireVue,” he said. “HireVue customers are using technology to replace a process that’s been unchanged for decades.”

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