Companies across the world have been implementing AI into their hiring processes, and the use of AI is only gaining momentum. This technology can have its benefits, such as the ability to quickly analyze hundreds or even thousands of job applications. However, there is also added room for error and unintended bias. Organizations should reconsider using AI in the hiring process because it gives many candidates, especially women, a disadvantage when applying to jobs.
According to a Bizwomen article, “The automated hiring programs that filter applications are rejecting those applicants early in the process based on employment gaps on resumes, or a missing experience.”
Immediately disregarding applicants with career breaks puts thousands of women at a disadvantage. Many women had to leave work in the last two years due to COVID-19 to take care of children or sick loved ones.
A gap in employment does not mean a candidate would underperform at their job. People may spend career breaks by gaining new skills and certifications through online courses. Even raising children requires numerous skills that can be beneficial in any job: creativity, patience, multitasking, organization, and more.
Unfortunately, there is even evidence that AI disregards those essential soft skills. According to a report by Harvard Business School, “most workers credit themselves with having skills in areas like communication and their capacity for social engagement. Such skills are difficult to assess through algorithmic analysis of job applications, interviews, and assessments.”
Some may think AI eliminates human bias because it is a computer that is making decisions. However, a human still must program the AI, which can lead to unintended bias. According to SHRM, “Experts say decisions made by human recruiters about applicants have long been fraught with their own unconscious bias, and, because the datasets used to train AI systems are based on human decisions, the resulting algorithms could be just as likely to encourage discriminatory choices or disparate impact unless this issue is mitigated.”
The Harvard Business report notes that “ironically, employers almost universally acknowledge that these negative filters cause them to inadvertently exclude qualified candidates some, if not most of the time.” It is time for businesses to be more honest about their hiring practices, and more open to the talent that nontraditional candidates have to offer.
Companies must be conscious of any biases during the hiring process, whether that be from humans or AI programs. If biases are not addressed, women and other minorities could face a huge disadvantage in the hiring process. Organizations could miss out on candidates that would be a great addition to their team. While AI does have its place in the corporate world, it might be time for your organization to rethink how it’s using technology when hiring.