AI in recruiting is pissing people off

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AI in recruiting is pissing people off

There are many steps in the recruitment funnel and today technology is used in virtually every single one of them. From utilizing an applicant tracking system (ATS) to adopting artificial intelligence (AI) in interviews, this ain’t your grandmother’s job application experience.

A whopping 98% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS, according to Jobscan research. Many other companies, large and small, do as well. However, one of the biggest trends in HR is the use of AI at various points in the hiring process to find the best candidates efficiently and effectively. Or at least that is the idea.

From chatbots that interact with candidates as they submit an application to complex algorithms applied to analyze verbal and nonverbal cues during a video interview, the potential of AI is truly incredible. All of a sudden technology is bringing candidates right to you, which is particularly critical in the current job seekers’ market where companies are competing fiercely for top talent.

In addition to saving time and money, recruiters are embracing AI because it eliminates one of the most fallible aspects of being a human in the hiring process: bias. Whether we admit it or not — or even are conscious of it or not — we are all biased to some extent. The thought that a machine can focus on the most important things is appealing, because a bot isn’t biased like a person.

However, AI isn’t perfect, and as many pros as it has, it certainly has some cons:

AI is pissing people off

As an applicant, breaking through AI barriers can seem impossible. The algorithms can feel impenetrable, causing a lot of frustration among job seekers. when qualified applicants are dismissed without reason, they are rightfully upset. It might be that their resume doesn’t have enough coded keywords or they didn’t respond with the right nonverbal cues to get a high ranking on an interview. It feels downright impersonal.

It also can be disingenuous and downright confusing. In fact, last week I received a recruiting email that was forthright about being from a company using an AI recruiter. I was taken aback for a number of reasons: first, I’m not looking for a job; second, I’m not in the field the job is in, and finally, I don’t live close to the city where the job is located.

Ultimately, it was impersonal and a waste of my time, and certainly a waste of the company’s investment because I wasn’t remotely close to being a qualified candidate. Perhaps it would be more effective with active candidates who at least are in the applicable job field and live nearby or are willing to relocate.

AI can be biased (GASP!)

Technology companies must build ethical AI that prioritizes the elimination of bias. It needs to be at the core of what they do. For an HR person using AI, it’s important to better understand the process behind the machine learning before you fully embrace it. If you know how it filters candidates, you can select one that is best for your needs, ideally eliminating as much bias as possible.

Keep in mind, an algorithm is only as unbiased as the user programming it. Even the best AI with seemingly no bias can be quickly skewed. What the hiring manager enters as guidelines is going to influence what the system is seeking. If you program certain keywords on resumes or flag specific microexpressions during an interview, you might be making the AI biased by default.

AI can’t read soft skills

AI can be extremely good at flagging hard skills, such as degrees, certifications and specific task abilities. When it comes to soft skills, this is where AI struggles. These less tangible skills are just as important (and sometimes more important) than hard skills. Soft skills are things like teamwork, communication, flexibility and time management.

Soft skills are typically better read by a human, which is why the interview is still such a crucial aspect of the hiring process. Through questioning and conversation, you can really dive into those soft skills that will separate a star hire from simply a qualified hire. AI systems might claim to be able to do this, but I do not believe it’s a substitute for good old human one-on-one interaction.

AI is here to stay and continues to evolve. It’s an exciting time to be in HR, but we must never forget our value as humans to the hiring process.



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Stephanie Anderson

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