Using Artificial Intelligence for hiring: there are pros and cons – Perspectives

Using Artificial Intelligence for hiring: there are pros and cons – Perspectives

Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) creeping in or is it the new normal? 10 seconds is how long a new HR virtual assistant takes to produce an office memo about that recent smoking violation in the office.

Alternatively, AI can now determine which employees are about to walk out the door through predictive attrition AI or deduce which staff are at the risk of burn out by applying prediction models to your company’s email data.

It can even help detect body odor to avoid that age old uncomfortable conversation.

Overall, the use of AI in HR can help streamline processes, improve efficiency and provide valuable insights and recommendations. The previous sentence was generated by ChatGPT and very rightly claims that AI has been contributing to many areas of HR.

Machine recruiters

The collaboration of hiring and AI seems to be increasingly eradicating the role of recruitment professionals. According to a leaked Amazon memo, it plans on using AI to forecast which job applicants would fare well in a given role and fast-track them to an interview. All without the involvement of a human recruiter.

Other uses are recruiting Chatbots that interact with prospective job applicants to significantly reduce application processing times (in some cases from two months to two weeks) and continue to get better.

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Also included are AI recruitment platforms similar to which Unilever uses to create neuroscience-based games for 20 minutes that measure memory, logic, appetite for risk and ability to focus. The second stage of Unilever’s recruitment process also illustrates another use of AI where it involves a video interview with a machine learning algorithm. This algorithm uses a combination of natural language processing and body language cues to determine the success of a candidate.

No chance for Bill Gates

But what about gut feeling when hiring someone? What about hiring that under qualified applicant or college drop out who later went on to do stellar things – Bill Gates? There are debates if having a master’s degree has value or if it is more of a social stamp. After all, AI does take a very cookie cutter approach when filtering candidates.

AI recruiting tools have also been put under criticism for reinforcing bias. Despite some organisations claiming that they have enhanced their solutions to overcome this, a recent study by Cambridge University claims that they still have not. As of January 1, 2023, new laws in New York City and California were enforced to regulate the use of AI. New York will require a bias audit and California will expand its data privacy law to address issues of data security in AI.

Compensation and benefits

AI can also aid organisations to eliminate favoritism pertaining to salary increases, aid pay equity, give data to provide explanations for pay decisions and provide access to almost real time competitive pay rates for more precise compensation.

IBM realised around $107 million in savings in 2017 alone through its introduction of AI via their HR department. According to SHRM, the organisation has integrated AI in its compensation systems for quite some time now, for example by scrapping their periodic performance ratings for ongoing feedback.

“[AI] certainly does not replace the leader role in rewards and recognition,” Scott Cawood, CEO of WorldatWork, claims, “Instead, it has the ability to empower leaders to both recognise contributions and address any unintended pay gaps that may be present.”

The department that needs more AI

AI goes in line with the increasing trend for personalised training experiences and at scale, too. BetterUp is a great example of how AI gives a personalised recommendation of “the amount of coaching, specialists, curated content, and coach type that is required for each person.”

Another way this organisation has been at the fore of organisational development is through it’s pioneer Emotion API that identifies emotion, and using this technology at scale to bolster team work, engagement and performance.

AI can also serve as virtual coaches for learning, and a popular example that demonstrates that is Duolingo. Good ol’ Chatbots also come in handy for training and development that serve as the ‘Alexa’ but for learning. The University of Murcia in Spain recently tested its chatbot for its students’ questions about areas of study and answered correctly more than 90 per cent of the time.

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Teams can be constructed more efficiently as this technology is also being used to predict how team compositions could affect an organisation’s performance .

The future

As technology advances, it would be interesting to see how various areas of HR intersect with Virtual Reality (VR). In recruitment, we have the example of McKinsey using a simulation in which job candidates had to deduce why animals in a pristine forest were dying from an unknown illness, and then determine the future course of action. In the training realm, a VR has been employed mainly for security and medical fields but can lead the way for effective training for remote workers.

But the fact remains that AI is still largely unexplored in the world of HR whose focus remains mainly on data analysis. “HR seems to be using AI more for data analysis and detecting trends,” says startup founder for an AI organisation based in the US.

“Prediction requires a large amount of data, so I am not sure what quality data these companies have. Also, models are only as good as the data they are trained on, and often make weird predictions.”

“For example, you may have heard of generative models such as ChatGPT and GPT3. Generative models can spit out very biased and racist things, which are obviously a no-go in HR.”

While the HR Tech market is growing, slow incremental change rather than drastic change is likely. Additionally, HR will need to play a primary role to ensure that its implementation does not compromise the organization.

The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners

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