Intelligence: Actual Needed to Use Artificial

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Job recruiting has apparently become the latest field requiring the reintroduction of a once widely-known principle in the wake of the artificial intelligence revolution.

We are all fortunate that Suzanne Lucas took it upon herself to do so gracefully, but forcefully:

It's a tool requiring thoughtful application, not an excuse to slack off. (Image by Hitesh Choudhary, via Unsplash, license.)
...This is a problem with the recruiter's supervisor. If you tell the AI (or the standard Boolean search) that you need skill Y, which is transferable, then you'll find people.

More than a decade ago, Wharton professor Peter Cappelli shared a story about a company that had 29,000 applicants for a single position, and yet the applicant tracking system rejected all of them. Again, this is a problem with the recruiter and not the system.

AI is like any computer program: When you put garbage in, you get garbage out...

Is AI Rejecting Candidates?

Almost surely, as [applicant tracking systems] have jumped on the AI bandwagon. But, when they do, they don't explain exactly how they select candidates. James Zuo, a computer science professor at Stanford, explained that with AI and specifically ChatGPT, "These are black-box models. So we don't actually know how the model itself, the neural architectures, or the training data have changed."

This should be a concern for talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers because they remain legally responsible for their decisions -- except they don't know precisely how AI decides. [bold added]
This is, of course, true in the typically modern sense that AI is poised to cause companies all kinds of legal grief for running afoul of assorted paternalistic anti-discrimination laws.

More importantly, it can cost companies talent when they attempt to use the mis-named technology as a substitute for the real thing. A refreshing counter-example of an innovative recruiter who works with ex-military job candidates occurs within the piece. That company uses AI to enhance the abilities of its recruiters, rather than as a substitute for their thinking.

-- CAV

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