Ensuring AI doesn’t negatively impact hiring success

Artificial intelligence (AI) has left its mark virtually everywhere, including hiring and recruitment. Staffing firms can make the hiring process more efficient by parsing résumés or automating interview scheduling, responding to questions with chatbots and identifying standout candidates. But while AI can make a recruiter’s job easier, human oversight is essential to great hiring.

Although AI has changed the recruitment landscape for the better in many ways, it has limitations that are turning up in the courts. In 2022, the EEOC settled the first-ever AI-related discrimination case. In the lawsuit, they claimed the employer, iTutor, used software programmed to automatically exclude older applicants. Staffing agencies and employers who adopt AI technology in their hiring process must consider potential consequences.

Where People Outperform AI

While AI can be essential to your hiring process, even the most sophisticated AI systems lack human intuition and judgment. Some aspects require the unique abilities and insights human recruiters bring to the table:

  • Building relationships: Recruiters can build and nurture relationships with candidates, which AI can’t achieve (at least, not yet!).
  • Interpreting nonverbal communication: Recruiters can interpret non-verbal cues from in-person interviews, a capacity AI doesn’t have.
  • Assessing soft skills: AI tools cannot effectively evaluate intangibles like creativity, empathy, leadership, or adaptability, which are essential to long-term success in many jobs.
  • Understanding cultural fit: A recruiter can evaluate a candidate’s fit with the company’s culture, including alignment with core values, work ethic, and interpersonal skills better than AI.
  • Adapting to unexpected situations: AI works on algorithms and might get stuck if it encounters an unfamiliar scenario. Human recruiters can adapt quickly and find solutions.

Bottom line? The human element is essential to the hiring process. Recruiters have a greater depth of understanding that AI cannot replace.

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Potential Issues with AI

  • Bias: AI learns from past hiring decisions and can perpetuate stereotypes and follow biased patterns. Unconscious human biases in hiring data can be replicated by AI, leading to discriminatory hiring practices.
  • Data security: Using AI requires entrusting information about your organization and the candidates to the AI system. Will that data be fully protected? Have you updated your HR policies and procedures to include AI?
  • Candidate experience: AI might make a recruiter’s job easier, but what is the impact on candidate experience? If it helps speed up the hiring process, it can prevent candidates from dropping out, but if your chatbot is frustrating to use, you can lose potential applicants. Human involvement is essential to ensuring a seamless candidate experience.

How Can You Use AI to Enhance — not Hinder — Hiring

  • Focus on what AI does best: Use AI to automate repetitive tasks, not as a replacement for experience and critical thinking.
  • Be transparent: Employers may have varying levels of comfort with the use of AI in the hiring process. Communication is essential to aligning expectations and avoiding surprises.
  • Be mindful of how AI is trained: Be sure it’s learning from diverse, bias-free data.
  • Always conduct a human review: A person can assess aspects AI might miss.
  • Audit output regularly: Conduct assessments to check for biases or errors.
  • Keep an eye on your chatbots: Check that questions are being answered accurately. Set parameters for when a chat should be handed off to a live respondent.
  • Diversify data: Don’t rely solely on historical data while training AI. The broader the input, the more diverse the candidate pool.
  • Work closely with AI vendors: Read the fine print to understand how your data will be handled and kept secure.
  • Update your policies: As the use of AI becomes increasingly commonplace, your organization must be prepared to address issues that arise.

Embrace AI with Caution

AI can be a game-changer for staffing firms. Emerging technologies that streamline processes can give recruiters a competitive edge. Hiring is ultimately about people, and people are more than their résumés. AI is a tool that can make a recruiter’s job more efficient by handling repetitive tasks, but it can’t replace personal insights and experience.

Tammi Heaton

Tammi Heaton
Tammi Heaton is COO of PrideStaff. She can be reached at theaton (at) pridestaff (dot) com.

Tammi Heaton

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