What Happens When We Teach Machines to Think Like We Do?

Robots and AI can handle tedious recruiting tasks, but beware: They can discriminate just like humans

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek October 16, 2018

​Recruiting job candidates involves tedious, time-consuming tasks that some think are better performed by robots and other forms of artificial intelligence. A Russian startup, for example, has created Vera, a robot whose role is to hire humans for more than 300 companies, including PepsiCo and L'Oreal.

But does removing the human element create other problems? A recent report found that one experimental effort, which has since been scrapped, unintentionally favored male over female candidates.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles from its archives and other news outlets on this topic.  

On Leadership: Why Robots Aren't Likely to Make Hiring Calls Anytime Soon 

report released in October about an experimental project at Amazon to use algorithms and artificial intelligence to recruit workers was a reminder that such high-tech isn't always a cure-all.

The Reuters report said that the tool—an experiment that was scrapped by the start of last year— was trained to evaluate applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted over 10 years, most of which came from men. The system effectively "taught itself that male candidates were preferable," according to Reuters, including penalizing resumes that included the word "women's" or graduates from two all-women's colleges. 
(Washington Post) and (Reuters)  

The Robots Are Already Here: How Automation Will Shake Up Recruiting 

Recruiters are spending a significant portion of their time doing manual, tedious tasks that take them away from the more human parts of the job, like engaging with job candidates. Sourcing alone requires recruiters to spend hours putting together a complete picture of what a candidate has to offer.

With automation, recruiters can spend time strategizing to get the high-quality talent your company needs in the door, said Jon Bischke. He is the founder and CEO of Entelo, a San Francisco-based social sourcing and job-matching platform. 
(SHRM Online)   

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Introduction to HR Technology]

Will a Robot Recruiter be Hiring You for Your Next Job? 

Finding the right candidate for a job is labor intensive and rarely easy, which is why an increasing number of companies are turning to artificial intelligences to streamline the process.

"The benefits are huge," says Eyal Grayevsky, CEO of Mya Systems, which has created an AI recruiter called Mya.
(The Guardian)  

A Russian Robot That's Hiring Humans for Multinationals (video) 

Stafory, a Russian startup, has created Vera—a robot powered by artificial intelligence whose job is to hire humans for more than 300 companies such as PepsiCo and L'Oreal. Vera can make hundreds of calls simultaneously and interview job seekers over the phone or through video chats before narrowing the field to top 10 percent most promising candidates before zeroing in on the final candidate. 
(Economic Times)   

Meet the Robot That's Hiring Humans for Some of the World's Biggest Corporations 

Vera the robot calls applicants, gives them a rundown of the job description and sets up a video interview. Candidates who do well in the interview then talk with the company's HR manager for the final hiring decision. Vera is particularly useful in speeding up the vetting process for high-turnover blue-collar jobs—and sales positions that require measurable skills, like sales managers or sales representatives—according to one of the robot's developers.

In a World of Robots, Carmakers Persist in Hiring More Humans 

Car-industry employees concerned that robots will put them out of work needn't worry—at least for now. Carmakers in China and other emerging markets, where growth is strongest, favor human labor because it requires less upfront investment, said Steve Man, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong. 


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