Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming the main component in recruitment, resume submissions, and many other aspects of the processes formerly performed by humans.
The pandemic has accelerated moving job interviews online but some are being conducted without an HR person on the employer’s side.
Companies and recruiters are increasingly using asynchronous video interview (AVI) platforms such as HireVue in the U.S., Toronto’s Knockri, and Moncton-based VidCruiter, which ask candidates to record answers to their questions, CBC reports.
Top Fortune 500 Companies have reported receiving over 3 million applications a year and so AVIs allow recruiters to respond to the overwhelming talent applications from across the world and move appropriate candidates forward.
The use of such one-way interviews can make interview scheduling easier, allow for responses to be shared across teams, and cut travel costs for candidates, according to LinkedIn.
But is there bias involved in picking the right candidate?
ATS and AVIs: AIs screening human applicants
Several companies are using Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) systems to screen text resumes.
An ATS, often using AI, screens resumes based on how well the keywords in them match those in the job description. This prevents snap judgments based on an applicant’s name or schools attended, but it favors people who understand the system (and who use ATS checkers before submitting their resumes).
Candidates who pass the ATS screen may still have to wait before talking to a human.
An AVI could be next. Candidates speak to a video camera to answer job interview questions as a clock counts down.
AI behind the recruiting scenes
The use of AI is increasing for candidates asked to complete video interviews or online tests without their awareness that an algorithm will be the first assessor of their application.
The use of AI in recruitment ranges from video software to chatbots that answer basic queries from candidates and algorithms that screen resumes for keywords.
The technology integrates seamlessly with existing HR processes.
Research shows that 73% of candidates could not tell that they were interacting with a chatbot when they reached out to companies to ask questions, and in most cases, candidates have no way of knowing that AI was used to screen their application.
Can bias be involved when using AI algorithms?
But algorithm-driven application processes are not without their problems. In 2018 Amazon abandoned a computer program that used machine learning to score candidates after developers realized that the tool discriminated against female candidates.
“Algorithms can be biased and unfairly discriminate against some groups in the recruitment process,” explains Prasanna Tambe, an Associate Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
“AI systems learn to make predictions based on data, and so predictions are generally more accurate for groups which have more data available. Some tools and methods are being designed to try and mitigate these problems.”
But some experts argue that human-centered hiring processes have similar bias issues.
Kevin Parker is CEO of industry-leading video interview company HireVue. HireVue has paved the way when it comes to AI-driven candidate assessments, but its video interview facial analysis tool was abandoned in late 2020 after significant public pushback.
The company still uses automation technology including online assessments and chatbots to vet candidates, and Parker believes that although AI systems are vulnerable to bias, they also mitigate issues of interviewer discrimination.
“Humans are notoriously inconsistent and are subject to huge amounts of both conscious and unconscious biases,” he explains. “By utilizing AI, and committing to regular audits and tests of these AI systems, hiring teams can be sure that they are consistently and fairly evaluating all of their candidates based on what actually matters—their work-based skill set.”
AI recruitment is now so common that some colleges are offering lessons on how to complete AI-powered interviews or applications for the best results.
Job candidates better start getting used to this and learn to adapt to this new reality.