The benefits and dangers of using AI in recruitment

When it comes to hiring and firing, artificial intelligence (AI) has an image problem. Many of us don’t like the idea of ​​entrusting decisions that could seriously impact people’s lives to machines, especially when we couldn’t. necessarily understand how and why they do what they do.

But what if it turned out that machines were actually able to make decisions in a way that was fairer and less prone to bias and prejudice than decisions made by humans? For many who work on the problem of applying artificial intelligence to recruitment and HR, this is the goal. And to go further than that, is it possible that AI could help overcome the challenges of today’s rapidly changing hiring landscape? The shift to home and remote working caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, as well as related developments such as the “big resignationrequire HR departments to navigate and anticipate complex and ever-changing employee behavior patterns.

These are the types of patterns that AI excels at recognizing, understanding and predicting. This is why Google is so good at predicting what you want to search for, and Netflix is ​​so accurate at predicting what you want to watch next – 80% viewing on the streaming service is apparently driven by recommendations!

Still, while we might be happy for a machine to help us choose the next movie to watch, we might feel a bit uneasy about it deciding whether we can have a job or not – or which workers a company should hire or fire. .

I was reassured to learn that these are concerns shared by Frida Polli, CEO and Founder of Pymetrics – one of the leading AI-based recruiting platforms. I was recently joined by Polli for a conversation in which we discussed the ethical implications of this type of technology, as well as how it is evolving to help companies understand concepts such as “soft skills”. . These are concepts that can be key to understanding how well a candidate might fit a certain role, but are often poorly conveyed through traditional recruiting data collection channels, such as resumes and interviews.

Fundamentally, by helping organizations better understand what candidates have to offer in this regard, they can lead to less biased and more effective hiring decisions. It’s a view shared not only by Polli, but also by one of his company’s customers – Tan Moorthy, global head of education, training and assessment at Infosys. Moorthy also joined us in the conversation.

Moorthy says, “If you look at what’s happening with technology skills, the lifespan of their relevance goes down on the one hand, and then we have automation that removes roles that people can play.

“What that means is… you have to find ways to make people co-exist with machines. This is the critical need…you need to recruit the right talent [and] it is therefore important to bring in people not based on their diplomas but on their skills.

At Infosys, this understanding of today’s employment challenges led to the establishment of the Reskill and Restart program. The program is built around a free online platform that matches employers and trainers with job seekers and potential hires based on their skills and interests rather than their background and background. training. So far, it has empowered hundreds of people to retrain for profitable and rewarding careers in the tech industry.

Pymetrics has played an important role in this process with its innovative AI-based employment decision-making tools.

“I fully understand the concerns around AI. It’s up to tech providers like us to prove we’re fair…but once we can do that, it’s critical that companies start leveraging some of these platforms. — like Reskill and Restart and Pymetrics — which can really help address these general labor market issues,” Polli tells me.

Polli took the time to walk me through some of the principles behind how Pymetrics specifically works. By assessing soft skills – such as a person’s communication and decision-making ability, as well as their empathy, generosity or altruism – smarter decisions can be made about who might be suitable for particular roles. . This does not necessarily mean that it differentiates between “good” and “bad” people, as might be implied by the fact that it assesses, for example, altruism.

“What’s amazing… is that everything can be personalized,” she says.

“I get the question all the time, ‘what soft skills do people need?’ – but that’s not a thing – the soft skills you need to be a successful entrepreneur, a successful accountant and a successful CIA agent are completely different… and what’s nice about [AI] is that we can be very prescriptive and personalized in our recommendations.

“I may not have the soft skills profile to be an accountant because I’m action-oriented and not very methodical, but… an entrepreneur – I can do it.”

This new way of assessing potential is potentially very valuable in a world where machines will inevitably make humans superfluous in certain roles – such as drivers and machine operators – and free them to take on different, potentially more rewarding tasks.

“The 1980s are over… ‘oh, if you are this, then you will do this, and you will be successful – and if you are not, you are out of luck…technology allows us to do that,” Polli said.

Moorthy says this type of intelligent assessment and personalized recommendation is crucial to the role Infosys hopes to play in re-skilling tomorrow’s workforce.

“We need to look for people in different professions – who want to move into technology and create a pathway for them to get there,” he tells me.

“Recruitment will therefore need to look for people who have…the ability and desire to learn new things…and the ability to say, ‘I transferred these skills from my last job in this profession or industry.’ Transferable skills will therefore be important, and recruitment will need to constantly look for ways in which we can identify people who have these transferable skills, so that they can learn and become the talent of tomorrow.”

You can watch my conversation with Frida Polli, CEO and Co-Founder of Pymetrics, and Tan Moorthy, Global Head of Education, Training and Assessments at Infosys, here.

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