Human resource (HR) recruiters are judged by the time it takes to hire someone as well as the quality of the new employee. Any help supplied in this screening process is valued.
That's where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes into play. AI is used as a screening mechanism to weed out candidates that don't meet the criteria. Then, it identifies the candidates projected to succeed.
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But is AI ruining your chances to get that plum job? In some cases, it's possible, but as companies continue to build new and better AI, it can have upsides for job applicants as well.
AI Used by Companies
Using AI in recruiting is here, and it's here to stay. According to a 2020 Sage survey, 24 percent of companies were already using AI for employee recruitment and 56 percent of companies said that they plan to use AI in the next year.
Because hundreds or thousands of applications can come in for one job, HR recruiters are starting to rely on AI to analyze large volumes of data and recommend potential candidates.
Bias in AI Recruiting
When evaluating applicants, traditional hiring algorithms look for characteristics in a job applicant that predict success based on a historical training dataset of applicants who have been interviewed or hired previously. This kind of approach works well when a company has lots of data on past applicants, and when the qualities that predicted past success will continue to predict future success. But this might not be the case. Skill demands can change and non-traditional applicants might not be accurately represented in the database, creating bias in the recruiting process.
According to a 2019 Vox article, Reuters reported that Amazon had developed AI software to screen applicants for technical jobs. They also based the algorithm on past employment data. But there was a problem. The historical data didn't reflect the new demographic composition of today's applicants. It was not gender neutral.
Since it was usually men who applied for technical jobs in the past, the new algorithm was using male-oriented keywords. This tipped the scale in favor of men. As a result, women software developers would have been eliminated. Fortunately, Amazon discovered the problem and abandoned the project, but it did demonstrate the potential for AI to eliminate qualified candidates.
Consider also: The 10 Signs That It's Time to Find a New Job
Online Recruiting Sites Using AI
With thousands of resumes flowing in for any given job, it should be no surprise that some online recruiting sites are using AI to screen job applicants:
When a job seeker sends their resume to these various sites, the applicant assumes it's being passed on to a prospective employee. Of course, there's also the assumption that their credentials are evaluated and judged based on merit. But this isn't always the case.
With 31 million resumes in their database, ZipRecruiter relies on AI to analyze and match employers to candidates. Using the attributes that the applicants provide, such as experience, skill set and location, ZipRecruiter matches them with employers.
On the upside, ZipRecruiter's AI often reaches out to the applicant, even a year or more later, with opportunities that match their location and skills.
LinkedIn attempted to solve the gender bias in their AI by developing a better AI. The new AI scrubbed a person's name, age, gender and race. But they then discovered that the new algorithm still identified patterns that were indicative of gender.
However, in 2018, LinkedIn built yet another AI that better ensures a representative distribution of users across gender, and that is the AI they're using today.
Consider also: 5 Reasons to Get a Job
- Reuters: Amazon Scraps Secret AI Recruiting Tool that Showed Bias Against Women
- Forbes: Is AI the Answer to Recruiting Effectiveness?
- MIT Management: Exploration Based Algorithms can Improve Hiring Quality and Diversity
- Vox: Artificial Intelligence Will Help Determine if You Get Your Next Job
- ZipRecruiter: Finding a Job Shouldn’t be a Full-Time Job
- LinkedIn: Welcome to Our Professional Community
- Technology Review: LinkedIn’s Job-Matching AI was Biased, the Company’s Solution, More AI
- Zippia: ZipRecruiter Statistics
- Built In: Recruiting AI Can be Objective if We Design it Responsibly