Around the world, as AI powered software tools are increasingly influencing the process of search and selection, the question on the lips of many candidates is: “Can we trust AI recruitment?”
There is a mixed reaction to what can be termed ‘faceless’ AI recruiting. Some candidates feel that AI brings greater objectivity and fairness to the recruitment process; however, others feel that it may bias the recruitment process away from candidates that are less than a ‘perfect’ fit, impacting diversity.
There have been suspicions for some time now that the use of AI in hiring may undermine fairness. For instance, in 2019, a survey of Australian consumers found that only 23 percent of respondents thought it was acceptable to use AI in analysing job interviews. A lot has happened in the intervening four years since then. But despite all that, the dial on AI trust among candidates appears to be hard to shift in a positive direction.
Fast forward to now, where a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in April 2023 found that using AI for making a final hiring decision was opposed by 71%, favoured by 7%, with 22% of respondents not sure. This underlines the assertion that many people have misgivings about the use of AI in the recruitment process.
It seems likely that around the world, workers do not believe that using AI for recruitment is fair. Concerns exist that AI could be biased against certain groups of people, such as women, minorities, and people with disabilities. This suggests that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that AI is used in a way that really promotes fairness.
The TUC, a federation of trade unions in England and Wales, with the stated aim of being committed to improving and upholding workers’ rights, has raised concerns about the use of AI in the workplace, particularly recruitment tools that use speech and video to filter candidates. They argue the systems are unscientific and include biases.
The TUC says AI is being used to analyse facial expressions, tone of voice and accents to assess candidates’ suitability for roles, and left unchecked, AI could lead to greater discrimination at work. For example, tools that analyse facial expressions may disadvantage candidates or employees with certain disabilities. The counter claim made by some of the firms promoting AI tools is that computer systems will make more impartial decisions than humans alone.
Away from the specifics of recruitment, when it comes to AI in the workplace, there is a greater mistrust, especially for management and monitoring purposes, which feed into performance assessment. Ultimately, this may inform HR decision-making, such as firing.
AI tools used to track worker performance, sometimes make automated firing decisions. For example, data from devices that record warehouse employee activity may be analysed. Taking too many toilet breaks has been flagged as an example that creates a need for a worker to explain why they are not working.
AI governance needs to be balanced. There is a need to let the use of AI really power competitive advantage by allowing the regulatory bodies for individual sectors to determine how best to apply the technology. However, there is also a need to temper the unrestrained use of AI in the workplace so that fundamental worker rights are not undermined or pushed aside. A good way to do this is through the setting of governance standards by a higher authority, such as through a legislative instrument.
With many questions over governance and a low-level of trust, it seems that the recruitment industry needs to do more to assure candidates that AI is used to promote greater diversity and fairness for attributes such as gender, ethnicity and disability. If you haven’t already got the project underway, recruitment businesses should think about creating policies that govern the use of AI within their operations.
The automation features of ETZ RecTech tools promote efficiency and have paved the way for the emergence of sophisticated AI NLP search and selection tools that are emerging to power the front side of agency operations.
ETZ’s leading timesheet and invoicing solution streamlines the back office processing of your recruitment agency. Our complementary solutions, ETZ Comply for onboarding and document management and Caspian for business intelligence give agencies further capability to streamline and uncover opportunities. To find out more, call us on 0800 311 2266 or book a demo.
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