Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shifting recruiting from a human to largely computer-based process. AI is being used to assist HR in the entire process of candidate selection — from curating job descriptions to conducting early-stage interviews. While this can greatly reduce the number of applications that employers shift through, some have voiced legal and ethical concerns when it comes to AI-based recruiting.
Legal & ethical implications
AI is assisting HR write job descriptions that attract a diverse and qualified candidate pool. The job description is one of the most important steps in the hiring process, as it's a potential candidate’s first interaction with the company and role. Using proper language when writing these descriptions can increase the chances that the right candidates apply, and no group feels ostracized from the role.
Textio is one company using augmented writing to create more inclusive job descriptions. Their algorithm takes in millions of job postings and uses natural language processing to highlight common phrases, trends, and ways to be more inclusive.
When looking at job postings on LinkedIn, it’s not uncommon to see thousands of applicants who have applied for a role. Despite the size of the recruiting team, it becomes impossible to properly go through the abundance of applications. AI is being used to assist in filtering through applications and candidates. Work experience, skills, and location can all be used to sort applications.
LinkedIn is using AI to improve user experience by showing relevant postings within their feed, boosting useful content, and showing the right candidates to recruiters. Its AI is also helping to connect a more diverse talent pool with recruiters, showing them a much wider selection of candidates than they might have sought out on their own. Companies are also given data on gender breakdowns of other companies, which they can use to gain better insight on increasing more inclusive hiring practices.
More companies have begun using AI to conduct the first stage interview processes. Doing so in pursuit of adding more fairness in recruiting, increasing the number of applicants interviewed, or getting more data-driven results from interviewers. Hirevue is a company pioneering the jump to AI conducted interviews.
Hirevue uses video analysis to analyze a candidate's facial movements, body language, word choice, and tone of voice. After the interview is conducted, it ranks each candidate and gives them a score which is then passed off to a hiring manager. This type of interview method allows more candidates the chance to interview as a human can assess the top performers instead of conducting each first stage interview.
With more companies implementing AI software into the hiring process, applicants and lawmakers alike have begun to question the ethics of having machines vet candidates. When using AI to scrape through hundreds of resumes and candidate profiles, there is concern that the AI is only picking out candidates with certain keywords on their resume instead of looking at the resume as a whole. Moreover, while AI is being used to increase inclusivity and diversity in roles, AI software can still be biased. The input data entered into the algorithm is what the machine will look for and run on when picking out qualified candidates.
If that input data is from an industry that has historically had a lack of diversity, the AI could fail to pick out diverse candidates. These concerns are amplified when it comes to AI conducted video interviews. Some see these interviews as assessing candidates by superficial measurements that can disadvantage non-native English speakers, women, and people of color. Hirevue has claimed that these statements aren’t showing the full picture, that algorithms are much more unbiased than humans.
While the law has historically failed to keep up with AI, Illinois enacted the first Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act. The law has two components: notice and consent for video protection rights. Under these guidelines, the company using AI must notify candidates that AI is being used, what characteristics they will be evaluated for, and consent from the candidate to use the AI system.
AI is changing the recruiting process from every stage of recruitment: writing job descriptions, screening applications, and conducting interviews. While it’s integration shows promising results of generating an unbiased way of recruiting, there are many legitimate concerns regarding the ethics of computerized recruitment. While AI technology still has some room to grow and better itself, the prospect of gathering data from every stage of the hiring process is exciting as it can result in much better data-driven decisions.