Keeping AI Recruiting Ethical

Sabrina Son

Artificial intelligence is slowly but steadily becoming an integral part of the recruiting process. This powerful tool has the potential to help recruiters make hiring faster, more cost-effective, and produce better results. On the other hand, using AI in hiring raises a number of ethical questions. Below we will look at some of these questions, explain what makes them important, and attempt to give solutions that will help you use AI recruiting in an ethically responsible way.

What AI Recruiting Is And How It Works

According to Vishal Maini from DeepMind, AI can be defined as the study of agents that perceive the world around them, form plans, and make decisions to achieve their goals. To help with these tasks, one of the most important aspects of AI is machine learning.

Machine learning lets AI take data sets, analyze them, and look for patterns that will inform how it should accomplish its tasks. In the case of AI recruiting, this would mean looking at examples of previous hiring decisions and using those to learn how to make similar decisions in the future.

Machine learning is also the aspect of AI that most of the ethical questions stem from. Namely, the fact that AI can only ‘learn’ as much as the data it is given allows.

Proponents of AI recruiting claim that it will lead to greater diversity and inclusivity since machines aren’t biased and will always choose the objectively best candidate based on skills and experience.

However, if the data used to set up these AI systems contains a degree of bias, then the AI is likely to also make biased decisions.

Ethical Question Posed by AI Recruiting

There are certain ethical challenges inherent in using AI recruiting, one of which stems from the idea of using AI recruiting to ensure ‘fairness’ when hiring. The idea itself isn’t the problem, but rather all the different ways we define fairness.

According to Arvind Narayanan, there are around 21 definitions of fairness in computer science. With such a high number of possible approaches to take, it can be quite difficult to design an AI recruiting system that will adhere to more than one definition without making compromises.

Addressing the Issues

Luckily, there are ways to approach AI recruiting ethically and work to minimize, if not remove issues:

Clear and Consistent Policies

Begin by forming strong and ethical policies on the use of AI before you even start implementing the system. These policies will form a basis for the way you integrate AI into your hiring process.

An example of this would be deciding how much human oversight there will be and when and how recruiters can intervene in AI’s decisions. Sticking to these policies will ensure you make ethical choices in the long term.

Safeguard Against Biases

When setting up AI recruiting, it’s crucial you ask the service provider how they plan to eliminate human bias in their system. It’s important you seek out AI providers that will ensure the ethical use of both the AI and the data collected during the hiring process.

Don’t Forget the Human Element

AI can be a great help to your recruiters, but it’s important to remember that it’s just a tool. It can’t replace your HR team, and will never be able to emulate the human perspective on ethics, morality, and integrity.

There is no question that AI recruiting is becoming an invaluable tool for businesses that want to make sure they find the best employees possible. But it is not without its ethical challenges. Fortunately, these challenges can be overcome by forming a basis of strong moral values, demanding responsibility from AI providers, and making sure human ethics has the final say with hiring decisions.

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