Data driven recruiting is here, but is it really up to the job?


Advanced tech like AI is solving problems in almost every area in business, but are some of the newest solutions brought to human led departments like HR actually bringing us farther from a diverse and innovative workplace?

New companies like HireVue  offer an AI element of recruiting that we haven’t seen before. As interviewees answer questions into a video recording the software is picking up subtle cues based off of psychological science that points to the kind of person they are and what kind of talent you will be receiving. The system allows the interviewer to watch back the session, but also to see the data that the AI picked up that the interviewer might’ve missed had it have just been them in the room. AI has also been introduced to the beginning steps of hiring, by using its software to screen possible candidates and find the best matches available, saving recruiters almost 30% of their time.  

But are these programs always the perfect solution, and can AI really be ethically neutral? The algorithms that you find in these programs use small facial cues to deduce reasoning, but are we to expect that it can truly capture all complexities? This notion that everything that we present through our emotions and reactions can be simplified down to a science may be naive. The process also puts a lot of weight on emotion, but doesn’t allow for the ability behind the interviewee to shine through, which could lead to passing up possible candidates that don’t perform well in an interview setting. It is that bit of human intuition that allows recruiters to see past small ticks in an interview that this software just can’t replicate.

These programs were also proposed to reduce bias, but could end up inviting a different kind of bias to the table. As people begin to be hired based on the way they act it could force new recruits into a homogenized behavior that they know will get them the job. This may force out-of-the-box recruits that are often some of our greatest thinkers to the bottom of the pile. Even though companies are saving time, and sifting through more talent, it may come at the cost of a different type of diversity.

We also have to remember the many different people looking for work. The needs of everyone may not be met with just a video representation of their skills. Think of a prospective employee with autism, or a similar type of ailment that doesn’t allow them to interact in a way that fits the social norms built in to these programs. We may be able to save time with new tech, but completely removing a human element may poorly serve the fringe communities or minority groups.  

Technology will, and should, continue to push every industry forward, but it is up to us to question its validity and its shortcomings. Machine learning may fix these issues at some point, but until that is obvious it is paramount that we pad our technology additions with the humanized part of hiring.