D&I skills needed to optimise artificial intelligence in recruitment

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be an efficient tool for recruiting candidates in workplaces across Australia, but new research has found many recruiters are unsure how to use AI to reduce rather than amplify bias.

Monash University and Diversity Council Australia, with Hudson RPO, are undertaking a series of ground-breaking studies exploring the impact of unconscious bias on recruitment and selection decisions that use artificial intelligence.

Released today, the first stage of the study, AI: Neither Friend nor Foe for D&I, asked hiring professionals, AI developers, academics and industry experts to share their insights into the use of AI tools in recruitment and their impact on diverse people.

DCA CEO Lisa Annese said that preliminary research shows that while AI can make recruitment fairer, hiring professionals and developers alike must have diversity and inclusion skills to ensure AI tools address bias effectively.

“Artificial intelligence can be an efficient, convenient, and supportive tool for recruiting professionals in workplaces across Australia,” Ms Annese said.

“But for AI to support unbiased recruitment, there needs to be more support for recruiting professionals on how to use these tools to eliminate rather than amplify bias.

“Developers say AI can remove bias from recruitment to drive workplace diversity and inclusion, but the research heard recruiting professionals were unsure how to customise the tools they use, which left them uncertain about their impact on bias in recruitment.

Monash University Professor Andreas Leibbrandt has led the AI Neither Friend nor Foe for D&I research, and said the findings suggest that for AI tools to disrupt biases in recruitment, users need to have at least a basic understanding of its functioning, limitations, and strengths.

“To generate this level of understanding, it is crucial that AI developers and providers, HR leaders and recruiters, and social scientists work together,” Professor Leibbrandt said.

Kimberley Hubble, Hudson RPO CEO APAC, said: “One thing this research points to is the need to be very clear about your talent acquisition strategy, which roles may benefit from an AI-based tool and where in the process you would use it.

“Like any technology, it isn’t about using AI for AI’s sake.

“Recruitment and HR leaders need to focus on driving outcomes and then working out where AI fits within this framework.”

Media Contact: Sonia Kohlbacher 02 7209 9080 media@dca.org.au