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AI and Diverse Recruitment: Pitfalls and Possibilities

David Law

Tue, 18 Apr, 2023

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 3 minutes

We live in exciting times. If your organisation wants to improve diversity and inclusion (which it should!), AI tools for recruitment offer a glittering promise for your talent function. But its revolutionary potential comes paired with pitfalls the inadvertent user might easily fall into.

As of the beginning of 2023, 67% of recruiters believe AI can have a positive impact on the hiring process. However, many also think that this could take away the human side of recruitment and even lead companies to overlook unconventional talent and diversity— if not used correctly.

So, with AI becoming more prevalent in our lives day by day, how can we ensure that it promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Why diversity in recruitment matters

Diversity and inclusion are essential for creating a positive and productive work environment, attracting top talent, and succeeding as a company in the long term.

Diversity in recruitment means hiring people from a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This includes but is not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. Inclusion means creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported, regardless of their differences. Both of these should be present at all levels of the organisation.

It’s a well-known fact that companies with a more diverse workforce have a much higher performance and profit margin. They’re more innovative and better equipped to solve complex problems. Plus, employees in diverse and inclusive workplaces are more engaged and satisfied, leading to lower turnover rates.

Advantages of AI in promoting diversity and inclusion

AI has the potential to eliminate human bias in the hiring process and decisions, which is a game-changer for promoting diversity and inclusion. It can also free up recruiters’ time: now they can focus on the more human and fine-tuned areas of the hiring process instead of slogging through repetitive tasks.

Besides, it can improve workplace accessibility for employees with disabilities and personalise candidate and employee experiences based on individual needs, leading to increased satisfaction and retention.

Challenges of AI in recruitment inclusion

However, AI is not without its challenges when it comes to diverse recruitment. One major challenge is the lack of diversity in AI development teams, which can lead to biased algorithms. An AI tool is only as inclusive as the team who creates it.

Additionally, AI may not always recognize and accommodate cultural differences, leading to exclusion. And relying too heavily on AI can lead to a loss of human interaction and empathy in the workplace— not good for employee motivation and employer branding.

Recruitment AI in the real world

So, despite AI being, in theory, stripped from human bias, it isn’t always foolproof when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion. 

In 2018, Amazon’s recruitment algorithm learnt (based on past application data) that male applicants were preferable. This led to deepening gender inequality and a press scandal.

But that’s not all. Facial recognition technology is less accurate when identifying people of colour, and even paired marginalised groups with lower-paid occupations. Google Translate has been criticised for its seeming bias in translating gendered pronouns.

Strategies: how to use AI in recruitment

AI tools aren’t all good— and they aren’t all bad! To ensure that your company’s use of AI promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace, our experts suggest:

1. Increase diversity in AI development teams

One of the biggest challenges in AI recruitment is the lack of diversity in the development teams that create the algorithms. This often results in biased algorithms that perpetuate discrimination against certain groups of people. By increasing diversity in AI development teams, you can help eliminate this bias and ensure that the algorithms you use are more fair and inclusive.

2. Audit AI algorithms for bias

Even with a diverse development team, it’s still important to audit AI algorithms for bias. This involves periodically analysing the data used to train the algorithms and identifying any patterns of discrimination. This way you can ensure that your AI tools are fair and impartial— and that they stay that way.

3. Emphasise human interaction over AI

While AI tools can be useful in the recruitment process, it’s important not to rely on them too heavily. Human interaction is still a crucial part of the hiring process, and it’s important to maintain a personal connection with candidates. Use AI tools for routine tasks, but prioritise human reviewing and oversight. This will benefit your employer branding and lead to better hiring.

By following these strategies, you can ensure that your company’s use of AI promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace, while also improving the overall efficiency of your hiring process.

Work with us to build cohesive, inclusive, and sustainable hiring processes. Write to us and build a better talent function today!

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