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Imagine you lose your job to a machine. One that takes mere hours to do what you’d be stuck doing for days.
One that doesn’t need to rest.
That never makes a mistake.
The development of Artificial Intelligence has caused many professionals to fear such dramatic scenarios.
You have to admit—
It’s a truly disturbing thought.
How much does it have to do with reality, then? Let’s look into the issue.
Using AI during the hiring process offers both benefits and potential pitfalls. On the one hand, it saves HR professionals time. On the other—
Some have voiced concerns about the way AI could potentially screen out otherwise qualified candidates. That means hiring the wrong person. That, in turn, increases the employee turnover.
What AI Has Already Done to Our Jobs
Heck, actually, this is already happening:
In 2018, the giant online fashion retailer Zalando laid off 250 of their marketing staff in Europe to replace them with algorithms.
A few years before, a study by Oxford economists Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne estimated that as many as 702 specific job categories might be replaced by computerization.
Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Two websites “willrobotstakemyjob.com” and “replacedbyrobot.info” have been created to help people evaluate whether their careers are about to go extinct.
Whether we like it or not, AI has been a sea change for many industries.
True, the technology has rendered some positions obsolete, but in other ways, it has freed professionals from tedious, time-consuming tasks.
One of the fields that has greatly benefited from the blessings of AI is the HR industry. Hiring professionals all over the world have begun using AI to streamline the recruitment process.
What does that mean for you, though?
Well… That these little bots might not strip you of your job yet, but whether or not you even get employed is at their soulless mercy.
How AI Influences Hiring Decisions
One of the most tedious tasks HR personnel formerly had to tackle involved going through hundreds of resumes to narrow the candidate pool.
Using AI to do this task saves HR pros hours by eliminating candidates whose resumes do not meet the preliminary requirements of the open job.
According to Haroon Mohamad, head of the data science team at Entelo, world’s leading recruitment software provider, his company's resume screening software can also determine how likely candidates are to change jobs within the first 90 days. How? By analyzing data about the length of time they have stayed with other positions.
AI resume screening programs also allow recruiters to gather additional information about the candidate that does not appear on their resumes. With these AI programs, HR professionals can measure metrics such as their ability to avoid grammatical errors and their technological savvy.
In today's technology-driven workplace, AI screening software prevents HR representatives from spending valuable interview time on candidates who may have impressive pedigrees, but—
Who nevertheless lack the foundational computer literacy to perform specific tasks such as creating an Excel spreadsheet.
Additionally, many screening software programs allow HR professionals to include a personality test to determine whether or not the candidates' characteristics mesh with the company culture before calling them in for an interview.
Smart HR professionals understand that while a candidate may look good on paper and possess the right skills set, if their personality doesn't fit in with that of others in the workplace, they may start looking for greener pastures soon after getting hired.
This will lead, again, to higher turnover and additional recruitment costs.
That candidates’ profiles in hiring portals are scrutinized by bots is becoming commonly accepted. But some AI software doesn’t stop there.
You might have heard that most recruiters will check your online presence before inviting you to an interview. Well—nowadays, recruitment AI can lend a hand with that as well.
Believe it or not, hiring software has been programmed to identify candidates’ behaviors that may throw up red flags, such as online complaints about former employers indicating a candidate lacks loyalty and discretion.
Obviously, for job seekers, this means they should take care not to publish content that makes potential employers question their integrity or motivation.
Of course—you wouldn’t post a picture of yourself doing drugs in a VIP lounge of your friend’s club.
But you should also avoid criticizing your employers publicly or discussing specific details of your work life. That could make you appear indiscreet or simply unable to maintain company confidentiality.
So you’ve accepted that in this brave new world, you might have to endear the AI to get a stab at that dream job interview.
Then, at last, you get actual living humans to evaluate how well you fit the job.
Well. Not so fast.
AI has now become so advanced that HR pros can conduct initial interview screenings using software.
Some software programs now use facial recognition technology to scan candidates' facial expressions while taking the AI interview, which can indicate whether they responded frankly and honestly.
A polygraph scare on top of the regular interview anxiety—how about that?
By allowing AI to conduct initial interviews, HR professionals save time and can narrow the candidate field further without ever speaking to potential new hires.
Finally, AI allows HR pros to easily schedule in-person or internet-based interviews without picking up the phone:
HR professionals can email candidates who pass the initial screening a link to a calendar page where they list their available interview times. Candidates merely need to click the interview time they prefer and instantly add the interview to their Outlook or Google calendars.
Does AI Eliminate Bias?
AI software offers many benefits, but does using AI eliminate bias or increase it?
According to Entelo's Mohamad, their software decreases bias significantly by eliminating words and phrases that may cause a recruiter to subconsciously pass a candidate by for discriminatory reasons.
Mohamad explained Entelo removes several features that could potentially bias HR professionals, including the candidates' name, gender and ethnicity.
This practice allows far more diverse candidates to land interviews, as research from Harvard School of Business indicates African and Asian candidates have a better chance of landing a job interview if their names sound white versus sounding ethnic.
Additionally, Mohamad pointed out Entelo omits lengthy career gaps, as women are 20 percent more likely to experience career gaps when taking time off to raise children.
This feature also helps reduce recruiter bias by eliminating prejudice against women with children because caring for their kids may take them away from their work-related responsibilities.
Entelo also deletes school information other than the degree earned to avoid bias against candidates who attended all-male or all-female educational institutions.
However, critics of using AI in recruiting argue the use of such software may actually do the contrary.
One argument against the use of AI for hiring purposes centers on the fact that any software program is only as good as the designers can make it, meaning poorly designed platforms may fail in their attempt to eliminate bias.
The way some software searches social media profiles may likewise increase bias. People change over time, and posts from a decade ago may not accurately represent who the candidate is today.
AI may potentially discriminate against candidates with scant economic means, or at the very least, may use this information to offer a starting salary far less than what they would offer a candidate whose job history indicates a higher salary level.
In a live interview, candidates can evade the question about past compensation, but when AI discovers salary information online, this can potentially cost the candidates with poorer salary histories money.
Finally, critics of using a primarily AI-based hiring process say no software can truly offer the kind of insight person-to-person discussions reveal.
By taking human intuition out of the initial contact, quality candidates may never make it to the in-person interview stage where they could explain things such as career changes and frequent moves.
Also, automating the hiring process leads to candidate frustration as they spend countless hours filling out job application after job application, only to receive this:
A computer-generated rejection letter that tells them nothing except that the employer decided to pursue other candidates.
(That is, if they receive a response at all.)
While job seekers should expect to spend a significant amount of time finding the right position, relying solely on AI denies them the ability to ask the potential employer for valuable feedback that could improve their future chances.
Like it or not, the use of AI for hiring will continue. Recent report has revealed that 75% of Talent Acquisition professionals claim technology will play a more significant role in their hiring processes in 2019.
So, what do you think?
- Can you think of any aspects of recruiting we didn’t cover and that could be affected by AI?
- Have you had an experience, as either a recruiter or a job applicant, in which you think artificial intelligence could have come in handy?
- Do you think there are any downsides to its integration in recruiting?
Let us know in the comments! We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.