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  • Writer's pictureKen Hicks

Is Artificial Intelligence Helping Hiring?


Artificial intelligence is better than it has ever been, but does that mean it's any good at picking people for people?

Is the tech good yet?


In the before times, I attended the Blacks in Tech conference (BITCON) in the Twin Cities. One talk I attended highlighted how facial recognition technology, that is already getting in to the hands of law enforcement, had challenges identifying black and brown people. It was also failing to identify black and brown women, oftentimes identifying them as males. Naturally a bit alarmed, I started to read up on how the tech was being used and subsequently how AI/ML was being deployed in my field.


On LinkedIn, you don't have to spend very much time searching around before someone is telling their story about how the AI gatekeeper is preventing them from getting interviews. The only problem is there is not a way to verify if that is what happened to that candidate and with what frequency is that the case. What kind of success rate is AI having in screening candidates? Are recruiters going back and verifying that the tools are screening out candidates appropriately?


Not exactly the same use but still dealing with people's employment, we're seeing challenges with how AI can misjudge and have really negative impacts on their career in articles outlining how Amazon contractors have been getting fired by algorithms. (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/06/amazon-is-firing-flex-workers-using-algorithms-with-little-human-intervention/)



Let's not panic

My initial vibe is that maybe in the interim, if you're not so keen on being screened out, maybe apply to organizations that are smaller, earlier on in their journey and less likely to be using high dollar algorithms to engage new candidates, never mind judge their performance once hired. While Broadwing is using AI to help us find candidates, we're not using it to screen them and we can confidently say, not one client of ours at the moment is using a screening tool that is more than pre-screening qualifying questions.


More and more AI

All of that said, although the tech is not effective, if companies like Amazon are ok with the fall out when it fires the wrong people, and larger companies don't care whether it screens inbound candidates appropriately or not, then chances are they are willing to deploy it more in the future. In hiring, when larger companies head down a path, smaller companies are usually not far behind. So it appears there will be more AI in hiring in the future. How we deal with that is yet to be determined. I still think that a bit of the human element wins out.


-Ken Hicks


Shout out: BITCON presenter, author, business leader Elizabeth Adams. LinkedIn



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