Employers across the UK are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to help them make recruitment decisions. When used properly, AI can help streamline recruitment processes and help to eliminate human bias and error. AI is typically used to sift CVs at the first stage of the application process, to crawl through an applicant’s social media feed, or to schedule interviews. AI is all about taking the administrative burden off the HR team, and making the recruitment process quicker, especially in organisations which are handling a large volume of applications, or who have multiple vacancies.
Can AI Be Biased?
One of the main downsides of AI is that any computer program can only be as good as the data it is given. AI for recruitment usually works by looking at data from recruitment over the past several years, and then trying to replicate the decisions made by human. That strategy comes with its own biases though; if, even subconsciously, your human recruiters are choosing to interview a higher percentage of men, or white candidates, then the AI will do the same. This was the problem encountered by Amazon when they tried to introduce AI into their CV screening and discovered that the algorithm preferred male candidates over female.
Artificial Intelligence in recruitment and other HR matters such as booking holiday is relatively new technology. It is not widely understood, and workers are by nature suspicious of technology they don’t understand. Often the problems can be combated with education, and by explaining which parts of the recruitment process will be handled by an algorithm, and which parts will still be done by a human being. There is even more resistance to using AI from current employees, with surveys indicating than under a third of employees are comfortable with AI making decisions about their performance, or even when to allocate holidays. Getting over this apprehension hurdle takes a lot of communication and listening to employees’ concern.
Searching and Filtering
AI does however come into its own in positions where you are handling a large number of applications which you need to shortlist into a set of people who will be invited for interview. Set up your online application portal properly and tell the AI what you are looking for in terms of work experience, academic qualifications or even the location where your candidates work. The AI will scan through all applications and CV and forward the ones which meet your criteria only. In theory, this should mean that someone in the HR team is not wasting time manually scanning CVs and application letters, and that the people you invite into interview are suitable candidates.
Using AI – First Steps
Companies considering using artificial intelligence should first work out exactly what it is that they need help with. This will guide the decision as to whether artificial intelligence really is the answer, or whether other technology, or even employing an additional member of staff, could be more cost-effective.