June 30th, 2021 | Industry News
It’s a serious question. Five years ago, every recruitment software blog was talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the ‘big disruptor’ for recruitment. AI was able to assess facial expressions during video interviews, screen resumes in milliseconds and was generally seen as the solution to every hiring problem especially ‘prejudice’ as we termed it then, as it was seen as belonging to the person who made the judgement. As an integral part of online recruitment software, AI was the future. It would offer the best recruitment CRM, tailoring responses to each candidate. It was foolproof.
And then, in 2017, Amazon stopped using an AI CV screener after discovering that its programme was biased against women. It had been systematically downgrading applications including the word ‘women’ and also penalising anyone who graduated from an all-female college.
There are many anecdotal reports of excellent minority candidates failing to get jobs from AI-led recruitment systems – and it’s almost impossible to establish why. What we used to call ‘prejudice’ we now call ‘bias’ and machine learning can be as biased as any individual.
The EU is already looking at legislation to control the use of AI in recruiting and New York City may choose to outlaw certain biometric AI elements such as facial movements, head proportions and vocal tones.
To a large extent, AI is only as good as the team creating it. The problem is, most SAAS recruitment agencies have no way to check the language that has been used to ‘train’ artificial intelligence, nor to examine or change the parameters within which it makes its decisions. Recruiting software is an excellent tool for good hiring – but AI may be a terrible master.
UK faces hospitality industry shortages
When pub giants such as Marston’s are struggling to find staff, and restaurants like the Hawksmoor steak house chain are offering a ‘finder’s fee’ of up to £2000 to any staff member who recruits a friend into employment, you know there’s a real crisis. Web based recruitment software also reveals that recruiters are seeking a wide range of transferable skills to try and engage people into the hospitality industry from other sectors. Some surveys suggest that one in ten of the UK’s hospitality workers has left the sector since the first COVID-19 lockdown, meaning that while vacancies are soaring, applications for each position seem to have declined. One reason given is that many hospitality workers appear to have used their furlough period to retrain, or to volunteer in other areas which they have found more fulfilling. The long furlough period and inability to work from home have also turned many individuals away from the sector.