Tech Talks

When does AI become an invasion of privacy vs a helpful tool?

Having read an article recently on an AI tool that IBM have developed, that can predict whether an employee was likely to leave within 6 months within 95% accuracy, it got me thinking…

Is there a point when using AI becomes an invasion of people’s privacy or is it simply a tool that used in the right fashion can help organisations and hiring managers plan better for the future and hire right faster?
It is commonly known that AI has been used by businesses to help automate some lower skilled manual processes which has changed the parameters of some roles. However, given AI methods and tools are created from the collection of data, AI can help revolutionise not just skills and roles within a business, but can help intervene and predict future behaviours and trends that may disrupt a business.

Any good recruiter will tell you that recruitment is not rocket science, but what makes recruitment challenging is the people component. People make recruitment processes complex because they can change their mind about a role or company at any point. Whether you are a recruiter or hiring manager, you can ask as many questions as you can to alleviate the risk but truly understanding the human “psyche” through the value of their data could enlighten and minimise risk like never before.

Using people’s data questions the moral compass. We sign employment contracts to say companies may gain access to our data, such as e-mail or internet usage, but do we think this should be used for anything other than when our integrity and professionalism comes into question? Should this data be used to help predict when we are less engaged with the brand because we are thinking about a career move? Do we truly understand how our data is to be used and would we happily sign our company policies and contracts if this became common practice?

Whilst some of these practices make me feel personally uncomfortable because of the fear of the unknown, there are genuine reasons AI can help within recruitment.

Ad writing

It would be fair to say that a lot of recruiters find writing ads challenging to pitch in the right way. It can sometimes seem like a thankless task since ads don’t always attract the right candidate. We have all had situations where we have spent a lot of time writing an ad without any candidates applying that are right. The use of predictive analytics can help identify language we can use to help increase the number of eligible candidates to work through in order to increase chances of a successful placement.

Streamlining the Process

A typical permanent recruitment process takes anywhere between 4 – 8 weeks dependent on multiple factors, including screening and identifying candidates to interview, through to availability of hiring managers to interview. Typically, those candidates who are working give a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice which means a process can take up to 3 months to find a replacement hire. Three months without a key hire can have detrimental commercial outcomes. Creating efficiencies by using AI through the identification process can reduce the time to fill vacant roles and ease the burden on the business.

Reducing Bias within a Process

The people factor of any recruitment process lends to potential bias in decision making. AI can mitigate bias through the application of pure science. Given unconscious biases can influence our thinking to make a recruitment decision without us being aware, our ability to make a hiring decision can be interfered with. AI can eliminate such biases through identifying the success profile of the candidate and applying scientific methods to applicant data points to generate those that match most closely to that profile.

In summary, for those less informed of AI’s capability it may feel intrusive to our everyday existence but there are a lot of potential benefits. In recruitment, it can help us overcome barriers to our practices that can only improve the candidate and client experience. Through advertising, we can increase the number of qualified candidates applying which in turn gives hiring managers more choice as to who to hire. We can reduce the time to place candidates within businesses as vacancies are a cost in both productivity and revenue. Most important of all, we can helping eliminate both our own and hiring manager bias, by showing scientifically who is most likely to succeed. All feel like advantages to me!

To find out more about AI and recruitment, get in touch with Sarah White, Head of Digital, Data and Technology at Tribe, sarahw@tribegroup.com +64 27 505 3472