As employers turn to AI for hiring, employees remain wary

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Artificial intelligence is creeping its way into many aspects of the hiring process as human resources professionals increasingly turn to technology to help with their tasks.

But if it were up to workers, that may not be the best development.

The vast majority (69%) of workers think AI should not have a role in certain hiring tasks, according to a new survey of 2,029 adults by Yoh, a staffing provider that is part of Day & Zimmermann. What parts of the process do employees want tech to butt out? Selecting the candidate chosen for a position, assessing truthfulness, delivering job rejections and screening resumes were the top tasks mentioned by employees.

“News stories talk about to how AI and automation are shifting the very nature of work in everything from retail to engineering,” says Matt Rivera, Yoh vice president of marketing. “They are wary because the changes are coming fast, and because it’s complex technology, not everyone knows what the changes are.”

See also: AI is changing the HR profession. But it’s not replacing HR professionals

The survey results paint a bleaker picture on HR technology, which many point to as the panacea of streamlining hiring and other administrative tasks.

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The vast majority (92%) of the more than 800 C-suite and HR leaders and 1,700 professionals surveyed by global talent acquisition and management firm Randstad Sourceright said they believe technology enhances the attraction, engagement and retention of talent. That’s up from 79% who said the same in 2016.

Randstad also found that roughly one-third (37%) of HR professionals use AI, big data and machine learning to reduce bias. About 34% say they use the same methods to source and attract diverse candidates.

See also: Employers going on an HR tech ‘buying spree’

L’Oreal, for instance, uses a chatbot to save recruiters time during the first stage of the process. It handles routine queries from candidates, and checks details such as availability and visa requirements. AI software that scores applicants based on their answers to open-ended interview questions.

The Home Depot also said recently it is using use an unnamed technology developed by staff engineers to help fill 80,000 associate positions. While details are scarce, a spokesperson for The Home Depot told Employee Benefit News the tech was launched this year and is meant to track applicants through the stages of the hiring process. There are approximately 2,000 U.S. stores and more than 100 distribution centers hiring seasonal, part-time and full-time positions, the employer says.

“For some hiring tasks, AI technology is able to work faster and to a higher level of accuracy,” Rivera says. “Whether scanning through databases of candidates or scanning resumes of applicants, artificial intelligence is augmenting the abilities of recruiters and enabling hiring managers to make more informed hiring decisions and do so much quicker than ever before.”

Employee distrust of AI doesn’t come without cause, though. In some cases, using algorithms in hiring has amplified human biases, though proponents say that an algorithm based on an unbiased model can eliminate human biases in hiring.

To help alleviate employee concerns, HR managers should be upfront about their use of AI through training and communicating how it will be used.

Continuing the human element in hiring is vital, too. HR professionals should make clear that the technology isn’t replacing recruiters or the human element of hiring, but simply augmenting a company’s existing recruiting function.

“Recruiters and hiring managers should still be front and center when interacting with candidates,” Rivera says. “When AI or similar technology is part of the hiring process, it’s critical that recruiters are upfront about its role and how it’s helping to improve outcomes and ensure a better fit for both the candidate and the company.”

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