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AI as Interviewer: Efficient and Fair or Biased and Opaque?

By Dick Weisinger

AI has become the preferred accelerator for automation and it is being applied now to the job interview, much to the chagrin of interviewees. As many as 83 percent of large businesses are using some type of AI within the interview process. Businesses like Hilton, Unilever and Citibank are just a few of the businesses where AI interviews have been used.

70 percent of recruiters on LinkedIn said that they think that virtual interviews will become standard-place in the future, making it much easier to insert AI into the the process of analyzing interview performance or even conducting the interview.

Interview systems save time and reduce the cost of HR budgets. They are also said to be able to weed out biases of real people that crop up in the normal human interview process. But that’s not to say that AI-based interviews are bias free. Some criticize AI though because of the lack of transparency — human discrimination is much easier to discern.

Aislinn Kelly-Lyth, Oxford University researcher, said that “if you apply for a job and are rejected because of a biased algorithm, you certainly won’t know.”

From the HR perspective, Kate Bravery, Mercer partner, said that “there is a high need for automation in HR processes if HR is to fulfill its potential in partnering on transformation efforts. We focus a lot on how AI can enable a much better and more fair candidate experience as well as enable a much better recruiter experience. People like someone who looks like them, but HR should consider all qualified people, irrespective of gender, socioeconomic status or other preferences unrelated to the job. It’s kind of the old world being replaced with the new” now that there is technology that can remove bias-inducing search terms like a candidate’s fraternity name from the process of how people get selected for interviews.”

Prasanna Tambe, an Associate Professor at the Wharton School of Business, said that “HR decision-making has always been based on the prior experience of recruiters and their intuition about a candidate. Technology has made it easier than ever to apply for jobs, so recruiters have increasingly large stacks of applicants to evaluate, which takes time. Tools that can help recruiters sort through even larger numbers of applicants and make well-informed decisions are very attractive… Humans are notoriously inconsistent and are subject to huge amounts of both conscious and unconscious biases. 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.”

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