Self-driving cars, cashier-less grocery stores, and coffeemakers that brew your coffee at the sound of your morning alarm: we truly are living in the future! Artificial intelligence has been utilized in multitudes of ways to make life easier, particularly through automation. With less human effort to make processes run smoothly, we can simply sit back and relax and let the machines do the work, at least most of the time. This is also particularly true with recruitment.
With recruiting automation apps finding their way into the hands of hiring agencies or HR departments, searching through piles of resumes and weighing the pros and cons between qualified candidates seems to be easier tasks than they used to be. Moreover, recruiters can finally say that the process was bias-free because of the employment of artificial intelligence. Or is this the case all the time? Has the use of AI for recruiting eradicated the dangers of hiring bias completely?
There are different apps out there to help automate the hiring process.
If your recruitment has not yet used these apps to speed up your applicant search, perhaps it’s about time you did. The following examples of recruitment automation software do not only cut down on steps in the hiring process but also help maintain human bias away from evaluating applications.
- Automated personality/aptitude tests. Applicants must undergo tests to reveal how ready they are to fill job openings. Such tests usually include personality examinations to see if the applicant is fit in a working environment and aptitude tests to check for IQ or adeptness with the job at hand.
With online testing, we only receive the applicant’s answers, and results are delivered in a jiffy. Recruiters cannot witness how the candidate is while taking the test; non-verbal cues that pertain to nervousness may give the impression that the person lacks confidence. Through automated testing, we see the person for their test results and nothing else.
- Background checking apps. These programs can vet applicants for you and at a faster turnaround period. Instead of you going through each personal account, background check apps can breeze through criminal records, social media accounts, the person’s past addresses, and even look into their speeding tickets. What’s even surprising is that you can have results in as fast as 10 minutes.
One has to admit that sometimes, what they don’t like in other people is what also drives their viewpoint of whom they want to be around, or in this case, whom they will eventually work with or encounter. Background checking apps rid one of their ideas of who an “ideal” person is. Such apps will only center on getting rid of individuals with seemingly dangerous behavior and those with a history of breaking the law.
- Digital recruitment apps. These kinds of apps are an all-around hiring process fulfiller. From posting on various job-hunting sites to acting as applicant tracking systems, digital recruitment apps like Breezy and GoHire can do the job of two recruiters and even more. Such apps are versatile in performing tasks like scheduling interviews, analyzing applicant data, and automated responses to candidate inquiries.
By allowing these apps to handle multiple applications, you can avoid bias in hiring at scale. These apps can make decisions based solely on sourcing and screening results without looking into demographic and socioeconomic data (e.g., where the applicant got their degree). This way, your company can process many applicants fast and without bias, too.
But even with automation, recruitment bias is still a considerable problem.
From the descriptions above, using recruiting automation does sound enticing in forwarding the process and filling out the talent pool at the soonest. However, what future and current users of AI recruiting tools are not aware of is the presence of AI hiring bias. Yes, even automation can develop a certain bias towards individuals or the data they present.
The following biases can influence the role of technology in recruitment and selection processes:
- Rigid adherence to keywords. The straightforward adherence of automation apps to the keywords they use in searching for candidates helps make searches quicker, but as an adage goes: haste makes waste. Some keywords may be mistaken because AI apps will look at words and phrases by how they are spelled or composed and not in the context they are used.
For example, an applicant may have worked at a drug store before, but background checking apps may mistake the word “drug” for felonies related to drug abuse. Unless the search is refined, the candidate will no longer be considered for the job. Moreover, how about namesakes? Apps may be looking into the credentials of an entirely different person who has the same first and last name as the applicant.
- Algorithms were created with bias. A general factor that affects the algorithms of these recruitment apps can be based on historical data of the jobs these programs are searching applications for. It’s highly possible that preferences for certain jobs included gender and cultural biases that did not register as biased because it just so happened that this is the data algorithms were based on.
Facebook ads for job openings are guilty of this so-called “historical bias” regarding jobs. For example, promoting applications for supermarket cashiers were targeted to female social media users only, while taxi driver ads were predominantly catered to Black men. This kind of “bad data” still promotes discrimination in the job hunt, something your human resources team surely does not want to stand up for.
Still include human intervention with your use of recruitment automation.
Do not fret. The dangers of hiring bias do not mean AI apps like background checkers and online employment testing cannot be used anymore. While admittedly, a person has some unconscious bias when handling applications, they still pay to remember to maintain professionalism and have control over their sentiments on who the perfect candidate is.
Simply adhere to job specifications, conduct employment assessments with an open mind, and bring in the opinion of fellow company professionals, who can also pinpoint if you let your own bias affect hiring decisions.
You may also look into the following suggestions:
- Spend some time on the background check. Background check apps only seek what’s on the internet. Call the candidate’s contact references and really have a chat about who the person is inside the workplace. This is a good way to get to know the candidate and really get into who he is. Note that what can be written online may have been falsified, something background checking apps can’t verify on their own.
- Still, browse through the resume discard pile. Perhaps your digital recruitment app has decided not to include a good number of applications. You may still want to look into those job seekers. It’s you, not an app, who understands your company’s work culture. Some applicants may lack skill or industry knowledge, but the willingness to be trained and a good work ethic can compensate for those. Apps can’t measure those in people.
- Employ the help of a staffing agency. If all else fails, a staffing agency could be your way to temper recruitment biases and perhaps even let go of them altogether. Staffing agencies know how to make the recruitment process work for you and will work closely with you to create a vision of the ideal candidate. Chances are, these agencies also use recruitment apps but have mastered them well that hiring bias is not a problem.
LET AGILE WORKPLACE STAFFING RELIEVE YOUR WORRIES OF RECRUITMENT BIAS.
Various engineering, life sciences, and technology companies have found their best employees through Agile Workplace Staffing (WPS), and you can get the same results, too. Our flexible recruitment management solutions are aimed so that no matter your organization, you will come up with world-class talent acquisition strategies tailored to the kind of workforce you need.
Through Agile WPS, many companies have achieved market visibility, compliance assurance, and cost reductions while getting the right people for the job. Moreover, we promote inclusivity and diversity in hiring, making the process holistic for you and your future hires.
Allow us to evaluate your company’s needs and recommend your next steps towards a better workforce. Contact Agile WPS today.