Who’s Choosing Your Candidates? A Recruiter, the Computer (or Both)?
by Naomi Dolohanty
First, what is AI in recruiting? It’s the application of artificial intelligence, such as machine learning or problem-solving that a computer program can do, to the recruitment function. Technology innovations and AI in recruiting may include:
• Intelligent screening software that automates resume screening
• Sourcing software that finds potential candidates (in minutes) based on an employer’s search parameters
• Recruiter chatbots that can engage candidates in real time
• Digitized interviews to conveniently and remotely assess candidates
HR professionals know that technology can streamline or automate part of the recruiting workflow, especially repetitive, high-volume tasks such as pre-screening resumes. There are downsides and upsides to automated resume screening. By pre-screening candidates before they are screened by a real person, there’s always a chance that a good candidate will get overlooked. On the plus side, manually screening is time consuming, especially when a large percentage of submitted resumes are deemed unqualified. Computer software can effectively auto-screen large numbers of resumes to check for specific job requirements, while reducing unconscious bias by ignoring a candidate’s age, gender and race.
However, some AI programs are trained to find patterns in previous behavior, by actually “learning” which candidates moved on to become successful (or unsuccessful) based on performance, tenure and turnover rates. Some companies claim they can instantly review millions of resumes or profiles using a number or criteria given to them for a specific job. Having said that, be cautious of the criteria you enter because any human bias built into an organization’s recruiting process (example: only hiring graduates from a certain college) — even if it’s unconscious — could be learned and perpetuated by AI.
On-demand and video interviewing
At Advocate Aurora we use a combination of on-demand and live interactions to assess potential employees and guide our hiring decisions. Every candidate we consider is reviewed by a human recruiter or hiring manager after the initial computer screening. Using video technology would not be considered relying on AI, since the computer doesn’t learn or decide who moves on in the hiring process — experienced recruiters do that. We simply use technology to reach and respond to more candidates in a timely, efficient manner.
Video interviews allow recruiters to get a better feel for someone’s energy, enthusiasm, how they present themselves, plus the interaction can be reviewed multiple times if needed. With on-demand interviews, candidates can answer interview questions when it’s most convenient for them. Recruiters then schedule and conduct live phone interviews within the online platform. Video interviews accelerate the hiring process, helping our organization make better decisions about who to shortlist.
Facial analysis technology: stepping into the great unknown
Some organizations use A.I.-infused facial analysis technology as part of the recruitment process. Advocate Aurora Health does not, as there have been valid concerns raised about using facial analysis technologies in recruiting. Current regulations governing employment recruitment and selection were written before emergence of artificial intelligence in HR systems and need to be updated.
In late 2018 seven U.S. senators submitted a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requested that the Commission develop new guidelines for employers on the “fair use of facial analysis technologies and how this technology may violate anti-discrimination laws,” including Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.1
The EEOC is said to be investigating at least two cases involving claims that algorithms used to help make hiring, promotion and other job decisions unlawfully discriminated against certain groups of workers. The new Artificial Intelligence Video Act that went into effect in Illinois on January 1, 2020, places requirements on companies to provide notice, obtain consent, maintain confidentiality and provide an explanation of the technology when employing artificial intelligence to analyze video interviews. 2 Updated policy developments in this field are inevitable. HR professionals need to keep abreast of this emerging topic.
Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Intelligence?
Finally, some industry experts suggest the long-term future of AI in recruiting is in “Augmented Intelligence.” This is an alternative concept of artificial intelligence focusing on AI’s assistive role, emphasizing the fact that cognitive technology should be designed to enhance human intelligence — rather than replace it.
Augmented Intelligence is based on the belief that you can’t fully replace human capabilities through technology, since no technology is 100% perfect. Computers and machine learning can never fully replace the human touch in the hiring process. However, the ability to use augmented AI to automate repetitive, administrative tasks can be extremely valuable and can enhance recruiting’s effectiveness. HR leaders who thoughtfully leverage current and emerging technologies can streamline their recruiting workflow to more effectively engage, screen and assess top talent potential.
1Wilson, M. (2018, November 18). Senate Democrats Demand EEOC Guidelines on Facial Recognition Technologies. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.hrpolicy.org/news/story/senate-democrats-demand-eeoc-guidelines-on-facial-recognition-technologies-16139
2Waltz, D., DiRago, M., & Raether, R. (2019, September 5). Illinois Employers Must Comply with Artificial Interlligence Video Interview Act. Retrieved January 15, 2010, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/illinois-artificial-intelligence-video-interview-act.aspx
Naomi Dolohanty, serves as System Vice President, Talent Acquisition for Advocate Aurora Health. Throughout her HR career Naomi has demonstrated excellence in building high-performing teams — bringing teams together under a shared vision to produce results.