Can AI Reduce Discrimination in the Recruitment Process?

by Srikant Chellappa Aug 4,2023
Engagedly
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with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

In recent years, the integration and expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) in recruitment will be one of the top HR tech trends in 2023. The world has been praising AI as revolutionary to the hiring process, thanks to its potential to enhance efficiency, minimize human bias, and increase diversity in the workforce. 

However, like any innovation, implementing AI in the recruitment space comes with challenges. We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of using AI to reduce discrimination and foster impartial decision-making in the hiring process.

The advantages of AI 

AI advantages

Objective screening of thousands of resumes 

AI-powered recruitment tools are capable of conducting initial screenings based solely on the qualifications and skills of applicants. By analyzing specific criteria through keywords without any knowledge of personal attributes, AI systems help ensure a more objective evaluation of candidates

Additionally, AI takes the tedious aspect out of screening hundreds of resumes by automating the screening process. AI-powered applicant tracking systems (ATS) are increasingly used to do this so hiring managers can find qualified candidates more quickly and easily. 

In fact, ATS allows you to search and filter applicants by using – or excluding – specific keywords so you can choose from a smaller pool of qualified candidates. This capability ultimately shortens the hiring process. 

Also read: 5 Ways You Can Use AI in Sales

Limiting unconscious bias 

Human decision-making is often influenced by unconscious biases, which can unconsciously lead to discriminatory hiring practices. As an example, 71% of recruiters admit they rejected a candidate because of their LinkedIn profile picture at least once. AI, being an impartial algorithm, helps eliminate these biases and the possibility of prejudice affecting the hiring decision. 

Incorporating AI into the recruitment process can also play a crucial role in supporting a robust diversity recruiting strategy. By removing the possibility of bias at the early stages of candidate selection, AI allows companies to focus on qualifications and skills, opening up opportunities for a more diverse range of candidates to be considered for the positions.

This in turn allows for greater diversity in the pool of applicants and can limit bias influencing during the early-stage candidate selection. So while hiring managers can eliminate resumes based on lack of qualifications, skills, or even location, factors such as gender and ethnicity won’t enter the hiring decision at this point. 

 AI has the potential to break the cycle of discriminatory hiring practices many companies are trying to break free of, but there’s one caveat: AI is only as strong as its data learning. 

Also read: Use of AI in Performance Reviews

The disadvantages of AI today

AI disadvantages

Algorithmic bias isn’t completely eliminated – yet

Despite its potential for impartiality and its ability to limit humans’ unconscious biases, AI isn’t completely immune to it. Because AI systems learn from humans, there are times when AI has expressed bias because of the training data used to develop its model.

Algorithmic bias is due to several factors, including biased training data, flawed algorithms, and inadequate diversity in the development teams. While AI training will improve over time as these root causes are addressed, it’s important that individuals in decision-making roles stay vigilant when selecting candidates. 

Lack of contextual understanding

Although AI is highly capable of analyzing structured data and can help hiring managers sift through resumes based on keywords, it often lacks the ability to understand profiles with an atypical background. This is due to its inability to understand the complexity and the subtlety of human experiences.

Such a shortcoming can lead to misinterpreting candidate qualifications, eventually leading to discrimination. Contextual understanding is essential in assessing a candidate’s potential, especially for positions that require unique skills or adaptability. To ensure hiring managers are making the fairest evaluations they can, it’s essential to acknowledge AI’s limits in interpreting human experiences and emotions. 

Also read: Performance Evaluation Software For The Healthcare Sector

Compounded effects of incomplete data in AI learning

As mentioned earlier, AI systems rely heavily on training data to make predictions and decisions. If the training data is incomplete or biased, it can further perpetuate human-taught biases and slow down progress to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive. 

Additionally, there could be essential points missing from the data used in training, which can lead to inadequate evaluations due to the AI’s misunderstanding of a given situation. This further perpetuates instances of discrimination.

Lack of human connection

AI-driven recruitment processes can lack the human touch that candidates appreciate during interactions, which may make them feel disengaged if their initial interactions are solely with AI systems. This feeling of disengagement could potentially impact their perception of the company’s culture and values, negatively affecting the company’s ability to identify and hire top talent. 

According to a study conducted by Resume Genius, 78% of survey respondents believed that no recruitment process should be conducted without a human who coordinates it. After all, many candidates aren’t driven by the need to fulfill a job’s basic requirements and qualifications, but they are interested in additional factors such as values, personal drive, work ethic, and how they align with the company’s mission.  

The lack of human connection could remove these factors from the initial candidate filtering process, potentially affecting the quality of the AI-selected candidates.

Ethical concerns surrounding AI learning

The use of AI in recruitment raises ethical questions, particularly regarding privacy, data protection, and transparency. AI systems may process sensitive personal information, and companies must ensure compliance with data regulations to maintain trust with candidates.

While a lack of human connection may not be a factor AI can ever learn to overcome, there are solutions to ensure AI can surmount its current limitations in the career space. This includes using diverse and representative training data to limit biases and create a fairer and more inclusive candidate experience, and continuously monitoring and evaluating AI algorithms.

Also read: Hello from Marissa™ AI – Your AI Enablement Coach

Companies should be ready to continuously analyze and evaluate AI performance so as to take corrective action accordingly. By implementing ongoing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, companies can ensure that AI systems remain aligned with diversity and inclusion goals.

AI offers promising advantages in reducing discrimination in the recruitment process, including objective screening, limited unconscious bias, enhanced candidate matching, and consistency in decision-making. However, addressing AI’s current challenges such as algorithmic bias, lack of contextual understanding, and incomplete data is essential to maximize its potential for creating a more diverse and people-centric workplace. overall performance management system.

 



Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why use AI for Recruitment?

Ans. Discover the Benefits of Using AI for Recruitment. Streamline your hiring process, improve candidate matching, and save time with AI-powered tools. Learn how artificial intelligence enhances recruitment outcomes.

Q2. How to reduce the effects of AI bias in hiring?

Ans. To reduce AI bias in hiring, start by diversifying your training data, testing algorithms for bias, and regularly refining the model. Implement transparency, offer human oversight, and promote continuous monitoring. These steps help create fairer and more equitable hiring practices using AI.

Q3. Can artificial intelligence reduce hiring bias?

Ans. Yes, artificial intelligence can help reduce hiring bias. By analyzing data objectively, AI can minimize human biases that often influence hiring decisions. Implementing AI tools that anonymize candidate information, standardize evaluations, and monitor for fairness can lead to more equitable and unbiased recruitment processes.


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Author
Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.

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