AI in the hiring process: The biggest mistakes employers make

Plus, learn how we’re using AI the right way

5 minutes

July 21, 2023 Adecco

A woman sits at home looking pensively at her laptop.

AI might be today’s hot topic, but for years, artificial intelligence has been transforming how industries run.

One study found that only 30% of jobs won’t be impacted by artificial intelligence.

Recruiting is no different. Employers worldwide are increasingly turning to AI to streamline their hiring processes and find the best candidates efficiently.

However, while AI offers efficiency among other numerous benefits, it is essential to understand how its implementation in the hiring process creates serious drawbacks for employers. Learn about the cons of using AI in the hiring process, with a particular focus on AI hiring bias.

1. Unintentional AI hiring bias

Companies selling AI recruitment software often say their technology opens the door to a more transparent and inclusive hiring process. In reality, the opposite can be true.

AI algorithms are designed based on past hiring data. Unfortunately, that means the human biases that exist in traditional hiring practices can be inadvertently perpetuated by AI.

The algorithms may favor candidates from certain demographics or educational backgrounds, and that can lead to a lack of diversity in every sense. If a company's past hiring practices were biased against candidates of a particular race or gender, AI will mirror these tendencies and potentially exclude well-qualified candidates from marginalized groups.

2. Missing those essential soft skills

While AI excels at analyzing structured data and hard skills, it struggles to assess soft skills. Those indefinable traits like problem-solving, creativity, and adaptability that are key for a successful worker.

For example, consider a talent pool like veterans and military spouses. Their skills and expertise can often be hidden by employment gaps and military lingo. While a recruiter or hiring manager can recognize how resume bias impacts veterans, your tech might actually perpetuate it.

These skills are vital for cultural fit and team dynamics within an organization. By solely relying on AI to evaluate candidates, employers might overlook those who possess essential soft skills that are difficult to quantify on paper.

3. Lack of human connection

The hiring process can be a stressful experience for job candidates, and many find ease in human interactions. However, if they’re asked to record interview responses or be solely screened by computer programs, they might appear more underqualified than they really are.   

AI, despite its efficiency, lacks the human touch and emotional understanding that brings out the best in people – and that helps build relationships. In addition to worse interview performance, candidates might feel disconnected and devalued when their potential future employer relies solely on computers for evaluation.

AI in the hiring process often involves the analysis of vast amounts of personal data, including candidates' social media profiles, online presence, and even facial expressions during video interviews. Some have even found that AI tools gather private data on candidates without them even knowing about it. 

This raises significant privacy concerns, as candidates' personal information could be mishandled or misused, potentially leading to legal repercussions for companies.

4. Say good-bye to transparency

AI algorithms can be incredibly complex, making it difficult for employers to understand how certain decisions are reached. The opacity of AI decision-making can create skepticism and mistrust among candidates who may question the fairness of the process.

This can be especially true when screening resumes. More than 60% of Americans have never even heard of AI being used in the hiring process. But many AI programs use keywords to see if a candidate’s background matches with the job listing. That means you can miss out on perfect resumes that don’t use the same lingo as your team or they’ve used an unusual format.

How do you eliminate AI hiring bias?

Even with trepidation over AI, a Pew Research Survey found that 79% of Americans say that ethnic and racial bias and unfair treatment are a problem in hiring. When used correctly, it can be a valuable tool.

However – the unintentional biases, data-driven discrimination, and poor soft skills assessments are significant concerns that can undermine the effectiveness of AI in hiring.

In spite of the drawbacks, there’s no denying it brings plenty of benefits to employers, including:

  • Saving time
  • Reducing costs
  • Hiring many workers fast
  • Better job candidate experience
  • Matching the right candidates to the right roles

Together, these are critical to keep turnover low and productivity high. That’s why we use artificial intelligence to help keep job candidates engaged, while speeding up the hiring process to screen, interview, and assess potential candidate skills.

Have questions about AI? Reach out to us today and talk to your local team.