Survey says Australians don’t trust AI in recruitment; it is time to set ethical standards

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in Talent Acquisition has been a fascination for me for the past few years.
I have seen numerous AI-powered recruitment technologies come to market and they all claim to be unbiased and fact-oriented, and that they are able to recruit Talent in a fair and non-judgemental way.
While these sound all rosy and good for us in Talent Acquisition (TA), candidates, on the other hand, do not seem to feel the same way. A recent survey conducted by MYOB on Australian consumers found that only 23 percent of respondents thought it was acceptable to use AI in analysing job interviews.
Candidate trust in the use of AI for recruitment is just not there. As candidate experience comes back to the fore in response to the ongoing AI technological wave (based on what we noticed at the recent ATC2019), this is something we cannot afford to ignore.

Picture 1: Core Principles for AI

You might ask why is this important and relevant to us? Well, TA is an ongoing process of managing candidates and to do this effectively requires trust.
We need to ensure that the algorithms and how we use data for decision-making in the recruitment process are ethical and fair. It is also important to understand how far we should we be delegating the decision-making process to AI.
In essence, we need a set of ethical standards.
We do not have to look far for where to start – the Australian Government has created a discussion paper “Artificial Intelligence: Australia’s Ethics Framework” to explore this topic and they had come up with eight draft principles (see picture 1).
Looking at these principles, the ones that are the most relevant and resonate the most with me are 3, 4, 5 and 6. Why? To me, 1 is assumed, 2 is covered by 3 and 5, 7 is covered as part of the normal recruitment process including 3 and 4. Lastly, 8 I think is covered off as part of 5 and 6.
Based on these, here is what I have created for TA:

Core principles:

Your AI/ML-powered CRM must not be designed to disadvantage or exclude candidates and should be use in ways that minimise any negative outcomes.
When doing positive discrimination, you should always refer to the Positive Discrimination Guide by the Australian Human Rights Commission for a clear understanding of when you can do that.

Core principles:

There should also be an efficient process to allow candidates to challenge the use or the output of the algorithm and you need to be able to explain how you arrived at your decision.
All candidates must be made aware of the algorithms used to screen their applications and reassured that the data collected will be stored with their permission.

Core principles:

You must select AI/ML-powered assessment tools or platforms that are scientifically derived, verified and peer-reviewed.
You should make clear to your candidates the ownership of the assessment results and reassure that the data collected will be stored with their permission.
For assessments that were done without candidate’s expressed permission/knowledge (e.g. CrystalKnows), you must indicate the source of the data and be able to explain how you are using them to assess their suitability for the role.
Candidates need to be made aware of the algorithms used to assess their video interviews and offered an efficient process to allow them to challenge the use or the output of the algorithm.

Core principles:

You must ensure that referees are aware that their comments are subjected to sentiment analysis by your AI/ML-powered tool to assess and draw conclusions about the candidate’s character, competency levels for the role.
Your candidates should also be informed that you are using this technology to analyse the comments of their referees and this would contribute to your decision-making process.

Core principle:

It is your responsibility to ensure that your AI/ML-powered onboarding systems has a secure security system that will keep the new hire’s private data protected and confidential.
So what do you think?
These principles are not portrayed as a definitive list and I would love comments and additional ideas to add to my exploring this topic. Leave a note in the comment section below and let’s discuss!
Cover image: Shuttterstock

The upcoming Future of Talent retreat will explore these principles in detail and come up with a set of ethical standards for the use of AI in Talent Acquisition in Australia. If you are an internal TA executive for a corporate organisation, we would love for you to be part of this trailblazing event. Register your interest here.

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