After they or someone they know has been laid off, many people will be worried about their jobs during the holiday season. Thousands of people have lost their jobs at companies like Meta, Amazon, and others, and the list keeps growing. A recent report on American workers by Job list found that almost a quarter of those who are working or looking for work say they or someone they know has been laid off this year. you may come across AI-based algorithms, which are a new way for companies to find and hire people. And experts say that it’s not always clear how these algorithms affect the process.
A.I. is causing a “quiet but earth-shaking upheaval” in the recruitment industry. Researchers from NYU Tandon wrote in a recent project, “Many Fortune 500 companies use AI-based solutions to sort through the millions of job applications they get every year.” “The problem is that many companies don’t want to say what technology they’re using, and vendors don’t want to say what’s inside the black box, even though there’s evidence that some automated decision-making systems make biassed or arbitrary decisions.” They argue that companies that use hiring algorithms should be held responsible.
In addition to being hard to understand, algorithms have been shown to introduce bias and keep hiring gaps going. But there will soon be rules. In 2023, a law in New York City will go into effect that limits how AI tools can be used in the hiring process. However, it’s still not clear how regulators will be able to enforce this law.
Why do companies use algorithms to hire people?
Mona Sloane, a senior research scientist at the NYU Center for Responsible AI who worked on the project, says that companies use automated decision systems for two reasons: to sort through a large number of applicants or to find workers with specific skills or levels of experience. Employers who want to hire people for internships, sales jobs, or jobs in the service industry, for example, use algorithms to narrow down the number of applicants. But for niche tech jobs like software engineers, machine learning engineers, and data scientists, companies may use automated decision systems to find these workers and reach out to them even if they aren’t actively looking for work.
Denise Rousseau, a professor of organizational behavior and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, says that employers are known for not taking risks. As they narrow their choices, they often look for any reason to rule out candidates, such as long periods of unemployment.
The problems with hiring AI
Sloane recently found in a new paper that AI systems that were made to measure personality were not good tests. Even though not all companies use personality assessment tools when hiring, she is especially worried when tools are used in the hiring process without the recruiters or applicants knowing.
Sloane says that if people in human resources and people looking for jobs don’t know how AI affects the evaluation process, the algorithm could be amplifying bias and discriminatory practices without anyone noticing at first. And the people who are looking for jobs will have to pay for them in the end.
Currently, applicants are in the dark and have no access to information. Sloane says that recruiters don’t even know why some candidates are on page one of the ranking and others are on page ten. According to Sloane, recruiters don’t understand why certain persons appear on page one of the candidate search results while others appear on page ten. It has taken more time to figure out how to seek justice since “there is just a lot of openness about this.”
Sloane said she has talked to local, state, federal, and international regulators about how to control these algorithms, which is good news. And laws like the ones in New York City give her hope. International rules may also be on the way. She mentions a proposal from the European Union that could also limit how AI is used.
How to go about getting hired as an algorithm
But until these tools are better regulated, people looking for jobs will need to know how to get through AI-powered processes.
Sloane suggests ways to improve hiring algorithms that are based on AI itself. For one, send a version of your resume that is easy for a computer to understand, with a simple design and text. You might want to make more than one version of your resume so that both AI and humans can look at them. And before you send it in, you can use software like Jobscan and VMock to check and improve your resume for AI.
If your resume is at risk of being thrown out because it has long gaps between jobs, for example, you can make yourself look as productive as possible by going back to school or getting micro-credentials.
Sloane and Rousseau both suggested that people looking for a job interview connect with employees at the company where they want to work. This is because lawmakers are still figuring out how to properly regulate new hiring technologies. Rousseau says that when an employer looks at a job application, knowing that the person has a connection to the company could mean that they know how it works better.
Even without algorithms getting in the way, it can be hard to apply for a job. But while politicians figure out how to regulate this technology, job seekers and recruiters should know its limits and bring people back in to fix its flaws.
Read More: What is E-Recruiting, and why is it important?