The most time-consuming part of hiring is the recruiting process, so it’s no surprise recruiters are excited about the potential to deliver on-target candidates more quickly and efficiently. While artificial intelligence (AI) in recruiting has become more popular with the evolution of ChatGPT, in reality, its promise—and problems—has been around for a long time.
Five years ago, for example, Amazon scrapped an AI recruiting tool when the company discovered it was incorporating gender bias due to the historical dominance of men in tech. Because generative AI is based on patterns and previous information, it’s natural for old biases to creep in, and vigilance is key. Still, when leveraged properly, AI has the potential to help de-bias the recruiting process.
There are a few key risks and opportunities recruiters should be aware of as they consider incorporating AI into their process.
1. AI is great at following directions but doesn’t allow for nuance.
Many recruiters choose to use AI tools for their prescreening process, and there’s an opportunity there for AI to help remove some human bias (like name or location bias) that might otherwise crop up. That said, relying on tech for prescreening can also remove the nuances of experience. Examples here would be telling the AI tool you need 4 years of experience, which might screen out candidates who don’t have that experience but have other attributes that make up for it.
Just as it’s problematic when human recruiters don’t check their own biases, not screening the AI tool for biases has its own risks. If recruiters don’t use the tools at their disposal properly and input the right prompts to remove bias, they might increase their recruiting gaps and miss opportunities.
2. AI is often treated as a source of truth, but in reality, it requires critical thinking.
We’ve all heard the stories of ChatGPT introducing lies and inaccuracies in answers by now. Many new to AI consider it a source of truth, but in reality, AI output must be fact-checked. Often, AI output isn’t sourced, but it’s being treated and normalized as factually correct. Organizations using AI in their recruiting and HR process should therefore continue to look at it critically and use it not to replace their thinking but to help round it out.
3. AI can be used to help write de-biased job descriptions and interview questions.
Just as you can ask ChatGPT to write a job description in a way that a 5-year-old would understand, you can ask it to write a description that’s inclusive, equitable, and gender-neutral. The output from AI is only as good as its prompts, so companies that are serious about integrating AI tools into HR and recruiting should also consider training their staff on how to write effective, inclusive prompts.
Similarly, if you’re bringing in candidates for a specific skill like problem-solving, you can ask ChatGPT to generate the top 50 questions for that skill. This list will need editing and review to be specific to your organization, but it also brings a fresh perspective to the interview process in minutes instead of hours and helps ensure organizations don’t recycle interview questions that don’t work well.
AI and ChatGPT have tremendous potential to streamline recruiting efforts and even help de-bias the overall recruiting process. A de-biased process increases diversity across the organization, as well as enables the employer team to rely on facts rather than opinions when finding the best candidate by reducing systemic, unintentional, and pervasive biases. Organizations introducing AI in recruiting should focus on strong policies around how AI is used, training on writing prompts that take inclusion into account, and critical thinking about the output.
Christie Lindor is the Founder of Tessi Consulting, a Certified B Corp diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy-centered firm focused on partnering with organizations that want to create diverse, high-performing, and inclusive cultures. Before Tessi, Lindor was a seasoned management consultant advising Fortune 500 clients at some of the world’s top consulting firms, including IBM, Deloitte, and EY.
In the span of her 20 years in corporate consulting, Lindor has partnered with hundreds of organizations in 30 industries in 10 countries across 4 continents at the intersection of IT, strategy, and human capital. A TEDx speaker, college professor, and bestselling award-winning author, her work on workforce inclusion and culture has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and TheWall Street Journal.