Human Resources professionals are regularly tasked with navigating intricate decision-making, analyzing complex problems and managing large volumes of information. So, it’s no surprise that the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly common across the sector.

Given the likelihood that use of AI technology will only continue to grow in the coming years, we wanted to take an opportunity to dive a little deeper into the world of AI; what it is, how HR professionals are using it and what the risks and benefits are.

What is AI?

Simply put, AI is a branch of computer science that works to simulate human intelligence using machines and computers. AI combines computer science with data in order to enable problem-solving.

Some common examples of AI in action include:

  • ‘Smart assistants’ like Siri and Alexa
  • Chatbots
  • Personalized recommendations from streaming platforms like Netflix or Spotify
  • Self-driving cars

How is AI being used in the Human Resources sector?

There are many ways AI technology can be used to support HR needs, but one of the most prevalent areas is recruitment and hiring.

Some examples include:

  • Streamlining the recruiting process by automating things like job postings, answering candidate questions, and organizing interviews and follow-ups.
  • Connecting job opportunities to potential candidates and pre-screening candidates for fit.
  • Evaluating candidates using tools like vocal and facial analysis.

As with most technological innovations, there are both risks and benefits when it comes to using AI.

First, let’s look at the benefits:

  • Using AI can improve efficiency in the recruitment and hiring process – Hiring managers often recruit for numerous positions and look at hundreds of candidates every year. AI can help reduce administrative burden, freeing up more organizational time and capacity.
  • AI can better identify “soft skills” that can be difficult to determine in a resume or interview alone – AI technology can help hiring managers better assess non-technical skills like conscientiousness, collaboration or attention to detail. This is done by using AI tools for psychometric testing or analyzing a candidate’s response to things like a mock customer call or sales pitch to see how they use inductive reasoning, logic or mental agility.
  • AI may help to reduce natural human bias and can connect more candidates with opportunities that are right for them – Humans are inherently biased, so taking some of the human decision-making out of the hiring process could theoretically help reduce bias (more on this later). AI technology can also help connect hiring managers with a more diverse pool of candidates. For example, the Ontario Disability Employment Network’s Jobs Ability Canada programs intelligently matches individuals with disabilities to jobs that fit their profile.

Now, let’s take a look at the risks:

  • Unintentional flaws in AI technology can actually entrench bias – AI technology is only as good as the humans who build the technology and the data the AI is trained on. Unfortunately, we live in a world rampant with disparities, which means using existing data to train AI systems and software can actually cause us to re-create pre-existing biases. While the people developing AI technology may have the best of intentions in mind, there is growing evidence to show that use of AI technology can actually end up reinforcing bias.
  • AI is not exempt from fallacies in reasoning – Despite offering to reduce human errorAI technology can still be built on fundamentally flawed premises. For example, technology that measures facial expressions and vocal tone assume that these factors will offer relevant insight into a candidate’s suitability for a role. However, these characteristics can be unique to an individual’s culture or personal context and could lead to discrimination against candidates who don’t fit a preconceived (or ultimately arbitrary) norm.
  • There are privacy concerns and complications with the use of AI – Depending on your jurisdiction, use of AI technology can complicate your privacy compliance. Businesses using AI in the workplace will need to carefully consider how information is collected, processed and stored.

While we believe that technology like AI can have a role to play in making HR processes better, it will be incumbent upon the individuals developing the technology and the businesses and HR professionals using it to address valid concerns with transparency, openness and foresight.

If you’re interested in learning more about AI technology, privacy compliance or search and recruitment strategies, connect with the expert team at Cenera. We’re happy to discuss your questions and concerns and get you on the path to great HR solutions.

 

Contact us today to learn more about our customizable services and support.

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