The Legal and Ethical Implications of Using AI in Hiring  

26 April 2019:

Digital innovations and advances in AI have produced a range of novel talent identification and assessment tools. Many of these technologies promise to help organizations improve their ability to find the right person for the right job, and screen out the wrong people for the wrong jobs, faster and cheaper than ever before.

These tools put unprecedented power in the hands of organizations to pursue data-based human capital decisions. They also have the potential to democratize feedback, giving millions of job candidates data-driven insights on their strengths, development needs, and potential career and organizational fit. In particular, we have seen the rapid growth (and corresponding venture capital investment) in game-based assessments, bots for scraping 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.

While these novel tools are disrupting the recruitment and assessment space, they leave many yet-unanswered questions about their accuracy, and the ethical, legal, and privacy implications that they introduce. This is especially true when compared to more longstanding psychometric assessments such as the NEO-PI-R, The Wonderlic Test, the Ravens Progressive Matrices test, or the Hogan Personality Inventory that have been scientifically derived and carefully validated vis-à-vis relevant jobs, identifying reliable associations between applicants’ scores and their subsequent job performance (publishing the evidence in independent, trustworthy, scholarly journals). Recently, there has even been interest and concern in the U.S. Senate about whether new technologies (specifically, facial analysis technologies) might have negative implications for equal opportunity among job candidates.

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Source: Harvard Business Review

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