In a recent interview with Talent Select AI, Michael Campion, PhD, Herman C. Krannert, Distinguished Professor of Management, and Emily Campion, PhD, Assistant Professor of Management & Entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa, break down artificial intelligence (AI) in the hiring process and how Talent Select AI helps to improve efficiency, increase equity and objectivity to support DEIA initiatives, and drive better hiring outcomes.
Note: Michael Campion and Emily Campion are consultants working with Talent Select AI to validate the technology and processes. Neither is an employee of Talent Select AI.
AI in the Hiring Process
The modern hiring process presents multiple challenges, including inefficiency, lack of objectivity, and unconscious (or even direct) bias.
“AI scoring allows us to measure things that we haven’t been able to do before, such as text information in applications and resumes, as well as questions in an application or interview,” Michael Campion explains.
“The result of all of this should be a more accurate and complete assessment of candidates that should improve job performance, reduce adverse impact, fairness of candidates, and better reactions from managers who won’t be burdened with excessive scoring.”
“Humans, unlike machines, are subject to mood effects or environmental factors that might influence how we perceive and evaluate information.”
Hiring requires sifting through resumes and applications to extract job-relevant information, which is time-consuming and repetitive if there is a large hiring tournament. Then, companies must aggregate all this information along with assessments and tests.
Emily Campion explained that AI is helpful in two buckets of tasks: if an assignment is repetitive and time-consuming or when we want to synthesize information from divergent sources.
“Humans can do both of these tasks, but we are sometimes very limited in our cognitive energy to complete tasks consistently and fairly across candidates,” she explained. “Humans, unlike machines, are subject to mood effects or environmental factors that might influence how we perceive and evaluate information.”
“Computer algorithms do this so much better than we do because they don’t tire out or have other thoughts entering their mind – they don’t have distractions or preconceived notions that influence how they look at a resume or how they look at someone’s job experience.”
At Talent Select AI, we can provide a more accurate and holistic view of candidates, far beyond traditional measures of success. Learn how we do it.
Misconceptions about AI and Bias
Most people don’t understand AI, and as a result, they imagine the worst.
“The biggest misconception about AI in hiring is fear of the unknown,” Michael Campion stated. “The way these processes work is very simple and logical. They’re just tools for objectively scoring job-related information and are fairer than human judgments.”
Not all AI is created equal, and some types, such as facial recognition, have been shown to perpetuate bias.
But Talent Select AI uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to provide an unbiased assessment of each candidate. Talent Select AI is designed to strip out any personally identifying information specifically. And the technology has been heavily validated to ensure the absence of bias or adverse impact.
“The algorithm is designed to avoid all subjectivity and unconscious bias, a big advantage over human judgment,” he said. “It also helps to surface candidates who may otherwise not be identified and don’t have typical work experiences or backgrounds but have the same skills and abilities… it does not measure demographic characteristics such as where someone grew up, the name of their school, or even their academic major.”
“The biggest misconception about AI in hiring is fear of the unknown”
Emily Campion noted that the job search process is already fraught with misunderstanding. Job seekers may not always have a good idea of what organizations are looking for, they might not always know why they don’t get a job, or, they might not always understand why they do get a job.
Employers want to hire fit people they can retain because turnover is costly, and employees must work to make money to live. So, hiring decisions are not just low-stakes decisions that don’t have consequences.
“Because there is so much confusion and this black box in hiring where candidates don’t always know what organizations are looking for, adding technology, especially AI that we may not fully understand or can’t understand, makes it all the more confusing.”
“Therefore, it is all the more important that people understand why these decisions are being made. So, adding this AI technology that people feel they can’t understand, which I would argue they can with enough time and explanation, makes it even more confusing and evokes a more affective reaction.”
A More Holistic Candidate Assessment – without a Traditional Assessment
Using Natural Language Processing, Talent Select AI measures words that reflect underlying skills and abilities. In addition to the Big Five / OCEAN and Great Eight, Talent Select AI measures proprietary traits that add value beyond traditional competencies and personality traits, including enthusiasm, grit, proactiveness, and empathy.
“These aptitudes are needed in virtually all jobs,” Campion explains. “Great Eight competencies were named the “Great 8” because they are so commonly required, and the Big Five personality traits are used to summarize all of the job-related and other personality traits that have been researched over time to capture the range.”
But Talent Select AI takes these traditional personality and competency measurements to the next level, adding enthusiasm, proactivity, grit, and empathy – all of which predict a candidate’s success. And it does it without having to administer a single test.
“Enthusiasm reflects a trait that is always positively viewed in any candidate, especially in an interview context,” says Campion. “Proactivity measures motivation, really plain and simple. Grit is long-term motivation because it represents resilience, self-determination, and a tolerance for delayed gratification. And finally, empathy compliments the others by bringing out the more human side of candidates.”
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