Getting hired by a bot is unsettling

Samford student Savanah Needham identified an interesting recent WSJ article about the use of AI in hiring. Savanah writes:

In The WSJ, we learn that AI is being used for hiring employees rather than a traditional hiring manager, thus job applicants fear that they must impress a robot instead of relying on human interaction to get their dream job. The writer argues that job applicants deserve to know ahead of time how the algorithm will judge them and ought to receive feedback if they are rejected. Her proposal highlights the uncertainty that job candidates face in the newly AI-augmented hiring world.

We desperately need such a system. AI’s widespread use in hiring far outpaces our collective ability to keep it in check—to understand, verify and oversee it. Is a résumé screener identifying promising candidates, or is it picking up irrelevant, or even discriminatory, patterns from historical data? Is a job seeker participating in a fair competition if he or she is unable to pass an online personality test, despite having other qualifications needed for the job?

Julia Stoyanovich, WSJ

Robots can look at social media postings, linguistic analysis of candidates’ writing samples, and video-based interviews that utilize algorithms to analyze speech content, tone of voice, emotional states, nonverbal behaviors, and temperamental clues (HBR 2019). In just a few quick seconds, AI uses all the data it has on you to jump to conclusions. AI uses tools that claim to measure tone of voice, expressions, and other aspects of a candidate’s personality to help “measure how culturally ‘normal’ a person is.”

You spend a large amount of time proving to employers that you are not like the others, you’re different/better than other candidates…but now we need to try and convince a robot that we are “normal.”  

Researchers predict that face-reading AI can soon discern candidates’ sexual and political orientation as well as “internal states” like mood or emotion with a high degree of accuracy. This can be worrisome if the face reader claims that one is “too emotional” or assigns someone to a certain political party. 

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