Artificial intelligence is the latest vanguard in recruitment technology, and it’s changing the way companies grow and scale. In addition to using AI for customer support automation, some organizations are now using artificial intelligence for recruitment and other HR processes as well.
Uses for AI in human resources and recruiting:
- Sourcing candidates
- Scanning resumes for key information
- Conducting initial screenings
- Analyzing speech, facial expressions, and behavior during interviews
The rise of artificial intelligence in human resources and recruiting is exciting for companies who want to transform their hiring processes, but skeptics have concerns about its accuracy and how it compares to human recruiters.
Is AI going to replace human judgment for recruiting? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Benefits of AI recruitment
The U.S. currently has record-low unemployment, making recruiters’ jobs more and more difficult. According to Ideal, an AI recruiting company, 56% of talent acquisition leaders say their hiring volume will increase this year, putting even more pressure on them to find large pools of qualified candidates.
The pressure is especially intense for rapidly scaling startups who need to fill a lot of positions quickly. Recruiting takes time and money, and AI promises to speed up the screening and hiring processes, cutting costs and saving time — a huge competitive advantage. In the startup world, agility is key, so the speed of AI recruitment is desirable.
But for all its speed, is this technology as accurate and reliable as its proponents claim?
The bias question
Any technology that has the potential to replace humans generates controversy, and in the case of AI recruiting, the controversy goes even deeper and has even higher stakes for both companies and job candidates. The big question: Is AI more or less biased than humans when picking candidates?
AI firms often claim that their technology eliminates human bias — how can algorithms show prejudice? However, critics point out that AI has its own inherent biases that can be more difficult to recognize and solve for. As it stands, AI cannot perceive or understand nuance the way humans can, which takes the concept of “careful consideration” for hiring off the table.
Asked about the face-scanning hiring technology, AI Now Institute co-founder Meredith Whittaker said, “It’s pseudoscience. It’s a license to discriminate. And the people whose lives and opportunities are literally being shaped by these systems don’t have any chance to weigh in.”
Some critics argue that because AI is designed and programmed by humans, it can never be free of human influence. Research has already revealed both racial and gendered bias in AI systems, contributing to concerns that perhaps AI only recreates a faster, more efficient version of human bias.
In the case of AI speech analysis in job screening, for example, who gets to decide what “good speech” sounds like? Does AI penalize nonnative speakers, or those with particular accents or dialects?
Even companies who stand to benefit most from AI recruiting technology have abandoned their efforts due to bias issues. In 2018, it came to light that Amazon had been working on an AI recruiting system for several years, but ended up scrapping the project after continual issues with gender bias.
Alternatives to AI recruiting
For rapidly scaling startups, AI solutions aren’t viewed as a luxury or something to experiment with — they’re considered necessary components of a competitive hiring strategy. However, while AI solutions often compare their efficiency and effectiveness to in-house recruiting teams, companies need to carefully consider questions about AI’s accuracy and fairness.
Luckily, there are alternative solutions for fast recruitment that are more proven and less risky.
One obvious alternative to AI recruiting is to somehow improve the speed and accuracy of traditional recruiting. But for most companies, this may seem like an impossible goal. Talent is scarce, and traditional recruiting methods are slow — and they don’t guarantee good results.
Remote staffing solutions, on the other hand, can help businesses scale quickly without relying on questionable AI evaluations. Firms like Bolton Remote are experts in remote staffing for rapid scaling, and can provide a curated list of candidate profiles based on years of experience and human judgment. This curated list speeds up time to hire without compromising your ethics or forcing you to invest major resources into deploying an AI-based solution.
AI has the advantage of speed compared to traditional recruiting, which is appealing to companies who need to scale quickly. However, AI recruiting has shown recurring bias issues and may not pick the best candidates. When it comes to handpicking qualified candidates to align with specific staffing needs, AI is no match for human judgment, and won’t replace human recruitment professionals anytime soon.