A few years ago, many recruiters and HR pros were nervous. Artificial intelligence was coming – and it was going to take their jobs. Candidates wouldn’t need to talk to real people anymore, because AI-driven bots would handle everything from start to finish. Fear ran rampant. OK, maybe that’s overdoing it, but people were legitimately worried.
Fast forward to today, and we know with some certainty that automation and AI will transform HR processes. It’s already happening, in fact, with chatbots popping up all over the place, engaging candidates, capturing their information and advancing them through the hiring process. At the same time, the use of AI spread into other technologies, from screening to video interviewing. But as quickly as AI caught on, so did legislators, concerned about the technology’s implications.
So much so, that Illinois unanimously passed the “Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act,” stipulating that employers must tell applicants that they use AI to analyze video interviews, obtain consent, and explain how the AI works and what specific characteristics it evaluates. On top of disclosures, employers must also limit the sharing of video interviews with only those involved in hiring and destroy any copies within 30 days at the applicant’s request.
if Illinois is passing this type of regulation, other states are sure to follow. Last fall, California instituted 23 principles to guide the development of artificial intelligence, covering everything from research to ethics and values. The state also criminalized the use of bots “with the intent to mislead” someone about its artificial identity. Over in New York, the state’s AI panel continues to mull over similar legislation, fully aware of the technology’s potential impact on its workforce. To date, we see a push for transparency, and increasing demand for vendors to provide resources that educate and inform users.
Whether hiring is part of your work or something that becomes personally important when you find yourself on the job market, these issues impact all of us. So let’s talk about considerations, implications, and potential outcomes.
The HR technology vendor community is all too familiar with AI. If it wasn’t on the product roadmap before 2019, it is now. And while privacy laws like GDPR might not have factored into solution design before, moving forward, vendors will face stricter regulation on what they can and cannot release into the market.
At the same time, some early AI faced scrutiny around bias, perhaps most notably at Amazon. The company spent close to four years building AI-based programs to automate the review of job applicants’ resumes, only to scrap the project after it realized that the system didn’t like women. Vendors in the space need to acknowledge the role humans play in creating technology, factor in the evolving legislative landscape, and of course, test their logic thoroughly to ensure solutions remain unbiased with all types of candidates. Likely, the development of educational resources to accompany the product across its many use cases will become universally required as well.
For HR & Recruiting
Even with the perfect AI in hand, there’s work to do on the HR and recruiting side of the equation. We know the many ways that AI works to support talent acquisition, from candidate sourcing to assessments, but identifying when and where to use the technology falls to the humans making the buying decisions. This requires asking the right questions before making a selection. And since it’s highly doubtful that a bot will take the stand should something go awry, HR and recruiting teams need to stay on top of the laws in the U.S. and around the world. From there, it’s up to these pros to manage compliance and mitigate the risks associated with capturing data.
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On top of all that, there’s still the recruiting and hiring that needs to get done. Because no matter how advanced AI and automation get, with the path we’re on, human oversight will remain critical every step of the way. AI will always work best with human expertise to support it.
According to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 60 percent of companies around the world plan to increase workplace automation this year. Given the current speed of innovation, it seems unlikely that candidates will fully understand what that automation entails and how it impacts their job search. Here’s where transparency re-enters the conversation, creating both issues and opportunities for HR and recruiting pros to help guide this understanding. It’s not about explaining the algorithm per se, but rather, offering up answers to questions about how companies use the technology, and what it means when candidates opt-out because they don’t want their facial expressions to be analyzed by AI in a job interview, for example.
And while we wait to see where legislation and AI take us, the brave new world of HR tech is here. We can embrace this world – and all the possibilities that come with new technology – as long as we commit to keeping each other informed and keeping humans at the forefront, every step of the way.