Everything is online now — even sorting out job applications. Before, recruitment managers had to go through a mountain of resumes and interview a bunch of people to find the most appealing candidate for their company.
Today, however, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithm-driven systems are helping them spot the best applicant out of hundreds or thousands of people.
The pandemic had also assisted in the acceleration of this development. Health and safety protocols pushed each job application process online. During the past two years, it has become typical for employers to hire someone that they have not yet seen in person.
However, many experts argue that this system could be rigged. The lack of regulations and legislation has everyone questioning the fairness of this method.
To address this issue, New York City passed legislation prohibiting AI in finding new employees. This law restricts the assistance of technology in hiring unless the tools have been subjected to a racial and gender bias audit within a year of their use and the results of the assessment results are made available on the employer’s website.
Though this is not expected to be implemented before 2023 and will only be applied to New-York based entities, the ban sets a precedent for the entire AI-based recruitment practice.
Technology-based solutions can be unpredictable and, sometimes, susceptible to biases. For example, weeding out employees based on their skills can be different through AI.
Why? Women often claim fewer talents on their resumes than their male counterparts. If the algorithm is looking for someone with as many skills listed in their application as possible, women applicants are the first to be cut from the list.
Additionally, other AI-driven systems are programmed to remove resumes with any hint of gender bias in an attempt to be “gender-neutral.” However, this affects applicants with gender-exclusive schools listed in their resumes.
Even AI systems used in the interview process could be highly judgemental. Most of them were explicitly made to focus on the applicant’s tone of voice and facial expressions, regardless of their nationality, mother tongues, and natural facial structure.
Is fairness possible through AI recruitment?
There are no industry-wide accountability practices that ensure equitable recruitment through AI systems. However, creating a law that requires transparency on how AI systems judge each applicant is a huge step towards making this process fair for everyone.
Laws like this also force companies to show some accountability for their hiring process.
However, the point here is: AI is still AI, and they only run based on how they were programmed and educated. Although the technology is much better than before, AI recruitment is still highly unpredictable.
That is why recruitment managers should always ensure that their AI tech is always on track with their requirements. There are a lot of applicants out there, and it is only fair to give them a fair shot on the job that they are applying for — AI recruitment or not.