Enabling Talent Acquisition through Ethical AI

By Alex Gosney, CEO, Nutral.


Artificial intelligence has disrupted every area of our lives — from the curated shopping experiences we’ve come to expect from companies like Amazon to the personalised recommendations that channels like YouTube and Netflix use to market their latest content. But, when it comes to the workplace, in many ways, AI is still in its infancy. This is particularly true when we consider the ways it is beginning to change talent management. To use a familiar analogy: AI at work is in the dial-up mode. The 5G WiFi phase has yet to arrive, but we have no doubt that it will.

In a recent survey by McKinsey, nearly 90% of executives state they are experiencing a current skills gap and expect it to continue over the next few years. Even more worrying is the fact that less than half of the executives in the survey felt they had a clear idea of how to solve the problem. With the global AI recruitment market is anticipated to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6% by 2027, Industry analysts appear to expect the robust use and wide application of AI within recruitment and talent acquisition.


To be sure, there is much confusion around what AI can and cannot do, as well as different perspectives on how to define it. In the war for talent, however, AI plays a very specific role: to give organisations more accurate and more efficient predictions of a candidate’s work-related behaviours and performance potential. Unlike traditional recruitment methods, such as employee referrals, CV screening, and face-to-face interviews, AI is able to find patterns unseen by the human eye.

Many AI systems use real people as models for what success looks like in certain roles. This group of individuals is referred to as a “training data set” and often includes managers or staff who have been defined as “high performers.” AI systems process and compare the profiles of various job applicants to the “model” employee it has created based on the training set. Then, it gives the company a probabilistic estimate of how closely a candidate’s attributes match those of the ideal employee.

Theoretically, this method could be used to find the right person for the right role faster and more efficiently than ever before. But, as you may have realised, it has become a source of both promise and peril. If the training set is diverse if demographically unbiased data is used to measure the people in it, and if the algorithms are also debiased, this technique can actually mitigate human prejudice and expand diversity and socioeconomic inclusion better than humans ever could. However, if the training set, the data, or both are biased, and algorithms are not sufficiently audited, AI will only exacerbate the problem of bias in hiring and homogeneity in organisations.

In order to rapidly improve talent management and take full advantage of the power and potential AI offers, then, we need to shift our focus from developing more ethical HR systems to developing more ethical AI.

To lead the way in this area, organisations using AI for talent management, at any stage, should start by taking the following steps.

  • Educate candidates and obtain their consent. 
  • Invest in systems that optimise for fairness and 
  • Develop open-source systems and third-party audits. 
  • Follow the same laws — as well as data collection and usage practices — used in traditional hiring. 

To make the above happen, however, businesses need to make the right investments, not just in cutting-edge AI technologies, but also (and especially) in human expertise — people who understand how to leverage the advantages that these new technologies offer while minimising potential risks and drawbacks. In any area of performance, a combination of artificial and human intelligence is likely to produce a better result than one without the other. Ethical AI should be viewed as one of the tools we can use to counter our own biases, not as a final panacea.


Sources: See Hyperlinks


Unite People’s Value Proposition is the first of its kind across the industry, bringing a fully automated solution for talent management that is powered by the expertise of recruitment and procurement professionals.


Our proposal builds on the notion “reimagine recruitment” which addresses key challenges you will be facing such as the skills/labour crisis, a period of record investment into the infrastructure market, and digitisation of processes that could rapidly change the way you attract, engage and deploy talent. 


If you would like to understand more about our offering and would like to book in your free talent acquisition review then please contact Alex Gosney.



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