Application: AI decides who gets a job

Companies are increasingly resorting to impersonal online interviews when recruiting. Whether the decision of the algorithms is suitable is now to be examined. […]

If you want to apply for a new job in the near future, you might not be invited to a personal interview with a recruiter. Because more and more companies are resorting to impersonal online interviews, in which it is no longer people who decide on a possible attitude, but algorithms. Whether this practice is indeed free of prejudice and can only find the best for the job is now to be examined in more detail in the EU and the US.

Discussion about prejudices

“The demand for recruiting services, where applicants are interviewed remotely via laptop or mobile phone, has increased rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains at a high level even at a time when the economy is opening up again and there is a shortage of workers,” says a report by the Associated Press. From the point of view of employers, these systems entice to save money and time, are not susceptible to hidden prejudices and expand the range of potential candidates. “Many are now also using artificial intelligence (AI) to find out what applicants are capable of,” says the description.

However, experts are critical of this development. “Algorithms that have been programmed to find the best one for a job can also be prejudiced if they follow the guidelines of an industry where racial and gender inequalities exist,” says Aislinn Kelly-Lyth, research assistant at the University of Oxford. “If you apply for a job and you don’t get it because an algorithm is biased, you wouldn’t experience that,” the researcher points out. Kelly-Lyth is convinced that in a personal conversation one could recognize any discrimination much more easily.

Objective comprehensive examination

At the political level, the trend towards algorithm-based online recruiting and the concerns associated with it have not gone unnoticed. In view of the strong growth of such practices among employers, governments in both Europe and the United States have announced that they will conduct a comprehensive review of the matter. Among other things, it should be clarified which possibilities exist to regulate and control corresponding services by law.

In April, for example, the EU presented a proposal for a set of rules that would require providers of recruiting tools, where applicants are selected using AI and algorithms, to strictly comply with certain requirements. The main focus is on requirements for compliance with essential criteria such as accuracy, transparency and liability.

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