Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used in recruitment, but its implementation in the sector has long been controversial, with many arguing that it can reinforce stereotypes and exclude good candidates. However, a new study from the London School of Economics (LSE) found that AI is less biased when it comes to recruiting and is more effective than people at many tasks.

However, the LSE team also found that people are reluctant to use AI and that their involvement in the hiring process often discourages job seekers from applying for a company. This may be due to the lack of a human element in decision-making, which allows subjectivity.

Human managers are still more likely to conduct interviews than AI. (Photo: nsta_photos / iStock)

For their study, People against machines: presentation of the HIRE frameworkpublished in the Artificial Intelligence Review, lead author Paris Will and colleagues reviewed previous research on the effectiveness of AI in the hiring process, as well as a study of the “occupancy rate” for open positions and how likely it is recommended that a candidate continue to be hired. from the human process.

Adopt a practical approach to AI against humans

Will, a senior corporate research advisor at The Inclusion Initiative, an LSE research center looking to build a truly inclusive workplace, said Technical monitor she and her team found that hiring with AI was equal to or better than hiring people.

“The key message of our study is that there are many perceptions of AI and many of them are really negative, as well as controversy over whether or not we should use these systems,” she said. “Our argument is that when we take AI, we have to compare the results of human and AI without bias, and if AI is better, then it has to be accepted. Don’t think theoretically, you have to test. “

The main current use of AI in recruitment is the sorting of CVs. The LSE study found that although AI has limited ability to predict employee performance after hiring, it is a “significant improvement over human projections” and hiring with AI has led to a more diverse workforce than a purely human process. .

Critics of automated recruitment say candidates who do not fit exactly into predetermined categories may be mistakenly excluded from artificial intelligence systems. Last year’s Harvard Business Review identified millions of “hidden workers” whose CVs were misplaced by digital systems.

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The biggest factor that opposes greater use of AI is a lack of emotional intelligence, said Rohil Ahmad, managing partner in Forsyth Barnes’ executive director of recruitment. “No matter how advanced AI is, the human element allows subjectivity for individual cases,” he says. “Choosing a career is very personal and the opportunities we give people change their lives. It takes real understanding of another person and flexibility to the individual’s circumstances to know what is best for him or her and where they are best used. his skills. “

This seems to be reflected in the reaction of both applicants and recruiters seen by the LSE team, which found that ‚Äúpeople trust hiring AI less than hiring people because they have privacy concerns, they find AI for less attractive and look at organizations that implement AI hiring less attractive than those that hire through people. “

Ahmad added: “People buy from people. Nobody wants their fate to be decided by a machine.” He added that career decisions “don’t always come down to what’s best in terms of their skills. A good recruiter will look far beyond that and aspects such as salary requirements, commission and bonus structure.

“Instead, they will ask questions by starting a family and therefore want flexibility in their days at the office?” Is their progress historically slow, and therefore would they consider a lower base salary if there is a guaranteed rapid career growth? It’s something you learn by getting to know a human being and something AI can’t explain right now. “

AI can add value to dialing and reduce bias

Much of the lack of trust in AI comes from the way it is presented by the media, said Dr. Dario Krpan, an assistant professor of behavioral science at the LSE. “However, our analysis shows that even if AI is not perfect, it is fairer and more efficient than recruiters,” he said. “Instead of focusing on AI in isolation, it’s important to compare it to alternative hiring practices to understand the value it brings to the recruitment process.”

In fact, Dr. Grace Lordan, associate professor and founder of the Inclusion Initiative, says AI can help tackle friendliness and bias. “It’s time for people to hand over the process of hiring machines that don’t have these trends,” she said.

Dr Lordan added that bias in algorithms was easier to mitigate than deviations observed in humans, adding that compliance specialists could be hired to monitor AI and reduce any concerns about equity. “Let’s move forward in AI in recruiting and joining the workplace at the same time,” she said.

According to a 2019 Gartner survey, about 37% of companies have used AI in the recruitment process, and 34% of tenants believe that AI will be crucial to shaping the future of hiring practices, according to the team. LSE in their study.

Ahmad agrees, saying: “There will always be room for improvement, as recruitment processes will always have to be brought into line with the latest technological advances in order to truly improve the human element – but never replace it. . “

AI is better at recruitment than humans, but still lacks the personal touch

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