4 powerful AI for HR examples that show promise, minefields

HR is already using AI to streamline the hiring process and save money on talent retention efforts. Here's what CHROs, recruiters and hiring managers should know.

AI and machine learning have reached Taylor Swift-level hype, with AI for HR arguably in the brightest spotlight. But there's hype, and there's reality -- and, in today's climate, it can be difficult to determine which is which.

To that end, here are four ways AI for HR is being used -- and why not everyone is a fan.

1. Mentoring facilitation

As companies struggle to retain talent, learning and development (L&D) initiatives will only become more important. Mentoring is an important category of L&D, and tech vendors have taken note. To this point, an article in Human Resource Executive highlighted the AI-driven app Ellen, from San Francisco-based Next Play. Ellen fosters mentoring both by facilitating the creation of partnerships and by offering resources and reminders post-mentor/mentee pairing.

Some worry a tool such as Ellen replaces human connection with technology and will result in less effective mentoring, while Next Play maintains the AI tool can help democratize mentoring and give more people a chance to grow.

2. Diversity and inclusion promotion

Job descriptions contain a plethora of subtle messages about company culture, including its inclusiveness -- or lack thereof. A job ad containing the phrase "seeking rock stars" may suggest to female job seekers that the company has a "bro culture." AI tools can help illuminate such missteps.

One example is Textio, which analyzes writing for gender bias and other unintentional messages. It suggests alternative wording, serving as an AI-powered writing coach on diversity and inclusion. The tool has a number of users, including online travel booking company Expedia Inc. and online real estate company Zillow Group, which has seen an 11% increase in female applicants through its use of the tool.

3. Candidate screening

Finding the right talent is a major hurdle for virtually all organizations. To help, AI companies are creating tools to scan resumes, online job profiles and job queries much more quickly than humans can. These AI recruiting tools are automating the candidate search process by surfacing the best candidates to the top of the pile.

Since promoting diversity and inclusion is seen as one primary benefit of using AI in HR, it's ironic that bias is one of the main dangers of AI screening tools, a problem that forced Amazon to abandon a sexist recruiting engine. Indeed, AI algorithms can reflect biases of the people creating them, and machine learning can adapt to reinforce such biases.

4. Video interview analysis

As companies target less time spent on the interviewing process, video interviewing software has become increasingly popular. HireVue Inc. takes that concept further by adding AI. Its video interviewing system uses voice and facial recognition technology, along with a ranking algorithm, to size up candidates.

The company says its algorithms are superior to people in finding the best candidates. But the "black box" aspect of its algorithm highlights the danger of HR managers trusting technology in such a critical area.

This article is part of a content exchange between TechTarget and Human Resource Executive, which produces the HR Technology Conference.

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