Publish at June 23 2021 Updated May 31 2022

Future of hiring: Will the machine have to be pleased?

Is hiring becoming dehumanized?

Despite the pessimism of science fiction, modern researchers have embraced the development of artificial intelligence. After all, humans are constantly seeking to improve their quality of life. Today's algorithms can, for example, provide us with targeted advertising, corresponding to our desires even if they have never been stated. They also make it possible to keep social media users on the platform as long as possible. Again, for advertising purposes.

Nevertheless, software is used as much to quickly analyze massive data banks or resumes. Indeed, large companies, in particular, can receive hundreds of applications every day. In the past, recruiters had to spend their time on each one and separate the good from the bad. Now, the machine does that for them.

A.I. is taking hold in recruiting

In fact, machines now sort through the documents and do much of what some call candidate "sourcing," or finding the perfect fit for a given position. For example, machines classify applications, talk to potential applicants via conversational bots and are able to analyze video job interviews. In the U.S., an A.I. software provider has been able to create an intelligence that can study the words spoken by a candidate. It can calculate the number of uses of pronouns "I" and "We" on teamwork-related questions.

For that matter, artificial intelligences can already accomplish much more. Some are likely to write job postings, check backgrounds asserted on resumes, automatically establish references, analyze the strengths of the teams involved and search for individuals who can fill talent gaps in the company. It's mind-boggling that the machine can now do virtually everything in recruiting.

We might then say to ourselves that recruiters don't agree with this automation. Yet, according to surveys, they are increasingly trusting algorithms to unearth candidates. Most are already going through digital platforms, if only in part, because of the health crisis that occurred in 2020-2021. For them, the next step would be to logically make more room for machines to find interesting profiles on networks like LinkedIn.

Systematizing Discrimination

A.I. is obviously capable of meeting very specific needs for different companies. The problem is that the algorithm was created by humans. And these tend to categorize individuals. Consequently, the creators themselves admit that biases are inevitable. The fact that the world of artificial intelligence is itself composed mostly of men, coming from the same schools and with the same skin color doesn't make it any easier. A particularly female environment is only going to select female candidates and vice versa. 

Also, A.I. has its limitations. Sure, it can analyze voice tones, but all it takes is for someone to lisp in order for it to make numerous interpretation errors. The analysis of facial expressions also seems problematic. It is far from reliable in all contexts. Moreover, this type of recruitment could discriminate against people with disabilities who have difficulties with oral expression but who may be perfectly suitable for a position. And what about some autistic people who have rather placid faces? Does that necessarily mean they couldn't fit in?

That's why humans aren't in danger of disappearing from hiring altogether. At least, not for now. Because while recruiters do want the task to be made easier by A.I., few want interviews to be done with digital. Because it doesn't verify an individual's soft skills. Machines don't understand the behavioral skills (soft skills) yet highly demanded in the workplace. There is still a long way to go before artificial intelligences will be able to observe and rate skills such as communication skills, empathy or flexibility of potential employees.

Funnily enough, it is even possible to fool the machines by sending your resume. There are tips to optimize the chances that the algorithm will accept an application. For example, use the same keywords as in the job posting, go for simple words rather than original ones and tailor the resume according to the expectations asked by the potential employer. Apps make resumes and cover letters look better to hiring bots. For now, these are only for English-speaking environments, but it wouldn't be surprising to see similar French-language solutions in the future.

A.I. is clearly not going to disappear from the hiring process. Rather, the movement is toward wider adoption over time. The covid-19 pandemic has even helped in this direction. On the other hand, despite its growing capabilities, the fact remains that companies will also have to rely on an in-person approach that makes it easier to discern the human skills of candidates.

Illustration : Possessed Photography on Unsplash


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