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Top 5 issues of AI, employment law and the hiring process

Employment Law
Top 5 issues of AI, employment law and the hiring process

The emergence of artificial intelligence has definitely led to a reflection on its potential repercussions on human resources management. There are, of course, legitimate questions regarding the true significance of AI and its many components. Apart from those questions, however, which require more profound reflection, are the concrete consequences of these new technologies on the hiring process. In addition to their impacts on the actual performance of employment tasks, there are major impacts on several aspects of the initial stage of the employment relationship, which is the recruitment process.

We will examine here five of these major impacts.

1. Search profile

Employers can gather a wealth of information on an individual, and they are no longer limited to the conventional curriculum vitae and the references provided with it. In addition to what is published on the web deliberately or with the user’s consent, searches on the various social media platforms can yield a plethora of information on an individual user’s interests and opinions. This information is, rightly or wrongly, being used by employers to identify potential employees corresponding to the employer’s ideal candidate profile.

2. Filtering

This could lead to a pre-hiring-interview filtering process on the basis of the “electronic footprint” of applicants. Conversely, those looking for a job can use such information to create a profile that they feel — based on information available online about the employer — best matches the skillset and values the employer prizes. The greatest benefit of using such information, however, is the expediting and increased effectiveness of the hiring process, which is universally recognized as a costly and time-consuming step for human resources management.

3. Absence of limits

The capacity of AI programs to analyze huge amounts of information on many different platforms is virtually infinite and limitless. The programs can also isolate the relevant information sought by users, without any imposed privacy safeguards. The mining of this data through algorithms and other automated solutions thus allows employers to facilitate the recruiting process and take a more predictive approach.      

4.  Interaction between candidate and employer

A study of these various considerations reveals significant changes in the interaction between the candidate for a position and the employer. As mentioned above, the process for securing employment, as it currently exists and is being transformed by AI tools, is changing the selection process leading to the hiring stage. For proof of this, one need only compare the current state of knowledge with the technological tools that will soon be at the disposal of every recruiter. There is a major gap between the meagre AI tools employers had at their disposal and the major transformation currently underway. The hiring process is currently based on a subjective component; i.e., the candidate’s evaluation by the recruiter. Going forward, this will not only be assisted but eventually taken over by AI-based tools.

5.  Reviving anonymity

This trend toward automation of the hiring process is equipping recruiters with AI tools for selecting candidates and identifying skillsets. These new possibilities may, however, provoke heated reactions, as they allow employers to make associations between certain characteristics specific to each individual, and they could potentially be misused. On the other hand, it is possible to view the automation of the recruitment process as a way to counter certain biases and accentuate selection criteria that are genuinely linked to the skillset required for the position. While many are currently calling for job applications to be filed anonymously, the emergence of AI may add a new perspective to this debate.

Nicola Di Iorio is a partner at Langlois lawyers in Montreal.