Employers are turning to AI to replace parts of the recruitment process. Software has been developed which screens job candidates based on algorithms; one requires candidates to answer standard interview questions and then analyses the candidate’s vocal tone, word choice and posture. The program then turns this analysis into a score and measures the score against top-performing employees. The notion is that if a prospective employee looks like a current employee, then this would be a good hire.

Given the sheer number of applicants (for instance, Tesco has received over three million job applications in 2016), employers are seeking to minimise the cost of hiring by removing human beings from the hiring process whenever possible. Employees have had to conform with standardised CV formats imposed by employers so that their work experience may be scanned for desirable keywords.

Read the full article on The Guardian: ‘Dehumanising, impenetrable, frustrating’: the grim reality of job hunting in the age of AI

Analysis:

Given the decreased role of humans in the hiring process, job seekers have complained about the lack of feedback in the decision-making process. Without any human interaction or feedback, job-seekers tend to face rejections without knowing how to do better next time.

In particular, if you suspect that you have been discriminated against based on the algorithm, what recourse do you have? How would you begin to even know that you have been discriminated against? This method of hiring may exclude non-traditional workers who do not fit the norms of employees currently employed, for example, a mature candidate or candidates from other industries.

Perhaps the more fundamental discrimination is for those who lack access to new technology or are unable to cope with the new hiring requirements, i.e., standardised CVs or uploading video clips of themselves. Some older job-seekers who rely on public services to fill out their job applications may also be precluded from applying entirely.

Questions for further personal evaluation: 

  1. Should potential employers start to use automation in their hiring processes? Why or why not?
  2. How can we help older job seekers apply for jobs which comprise some form of automated hiring processes? Should we?

Useful vocabulary: 

  1. ‘algorithms’: step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end; a procedure for solving a mathematical problem
  2. ‘disillusioned’: disappointed, dissatisfied

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