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Three Reasons why Artificial Intelligence can’t replace United Kingdom recruiters. Part II

It could be argued that in a way nothing has changed. Exaggerations on a CV isn’t a new trick, for example, and neither is looking up what other candidates might have done to get hired. The problem is, AI might not be able to spot these issues. An experienced recruiter, on the other hand, could see the potential warning signs.

AI Bias and Transparency Could be a Problem

Around 42% of respondents to clickajobs.co.uk research thought that technology dehumanises the recruitment process, and those recruitment decisions should ultimately be made by people, not programs. Rather tellingly, a much smaller number (21%) highlighted what could be a much greater problem – that software and AI are still programmed by humans, and are therefore likely to inherit inherent biases as a result. As it turns out, this unease isn’t entirely misplaced.

Firstly, there are the ethical challenges of handling such detailed personal information. In a world where data is now almost the most valuable commodity (set to be worth around €111 billion in 2020), how we approach the privacy issues that could arise as a result of AI or automated systems using and sharing CV information is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Then there’s the question as to whether the qualities that make a good employee are even able to be parsed by AI at all. Many experts have their doubts. Meredith Whittaker, the co-founder of the AI Now Institute, called claims that AI can spot good employees through facial movements, mannerisms, and tone of voice pseudoscience.
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In the United Kingdom there are advantages to using recruitment AI, especially when it comes to cost and efficiency, but there are some serious questions that need to be properly addressed as well. Another area of concern is transferring bias directly into automated systems and AI. Can a facial recognition AI accurately read the expressions of all people, regardless of age, gender, and race? Can an automated recruitment system really construct an accurate picture of an applicant and their personality from a CV?

Unless these systems have been programmed with an almost uncountable number of variables – currently an extremely difficult task – then they will operate within the limits, and biases, of their programmed parameters. Who takes responsibility for discrimination and bias in these systems? The HR department? The recruitment agency? The software provider? No-one?

United Kingdom Candidates Prefer People

The final, and arguably most fundamental issue, is those United Kingdom job seekers simply don’t want to go through an entirely automated hiring process. And who can blame them? We only need to look at an automated switchboard to see how infuriating a fully automated recruitment process could become if we’re not careful. In the clickajobs.co.uk survey, 75% of job seekers said they were also concerned that their CV wouldn’t make it past screening, while 70% said they thought interviews should be conducted by an actual person and not a robot.

This might all paint a fairly negative picture, but that’s not to say we shouldn’t use new and innovative tools to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve processes. Of course, we should. United Kingdom candidates know this too, and despite having many reservations about up and coming technology, most use online job boards by a clear margin (56%) to find their next role these days.

There’s plenty of positive feedback for video interviewing, skills tests, chatbots, and automatic CV reading software as well, so it’s clear that United Kingdom recruiters don’t need to be taking any extreme steps back into the dark ages.

AI as a tool rather than a Necessity?

In the end, like many other industries, there’s no doubt that automation and AI will affect the way recruitment works. That doesn’t automatically mean removing people from the equation entirely. People are going to be more important than ever, in fact – it will be those exact qualities that make us human that means we’ll be an essential part of any process, especially in a sector as social as recruitment. Human recruiters aren’t going anywhere.

New technology and its potential is always exciting. We just need to ensure we measure the impacts, advantages, and disadvantages carefully and objectively.

Original article produced by Graham Hirst at the Clicka Jobs news team. Read part I of this article here