Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is a hot topic in the world of tech, but it’s still very much in its infancy. In recruiting, A.I. is typically used to analyze people’s facial expressions and voices to determine their “employability.” 

The artificial intelligence system is programmed to analyze an interviewee’s facial movements, word choice, and tone of voice using the camera from a candidate’s computer or cellphone. The A.I. tries to compare applicants, and may try to group candidates into tiers based on their likelihood of success in the role.

But when A.I. is applied to the world of video interviewing, it’s not without its shortcomings (for now at least).

The Dangers of AI-driven Candidate Assessments

There are serious concerns over A.I. in recruitment, particularly in video interviewing. For example, A.I. recently landed one software company in hot water. As reported by The Washington Post, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a prominent rights group, is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop the “biased, unprovable and not replicable” results of A.I. video interview assessments.

Another article by The Washington Post points to other concerns from researchers who are equally skeptical of A.I.’s ability to predict employability. Critics interviewed by The Post argue that A.I. is:

  • “Digital snake oil — an unfounded blend of superficial measurements and arbitrary number-crunching that is not rooted in scientific fact”
  •  “Profoundly disturbing”
  •  “Really troubling”
  •  “Worryingly imprecise”
  •  “Notoriously prone to misunderstanding meaning and intent”
  • “Woefully unprepared for the vast cultural and social distinctions in how people show emotion or personality”
  • “Dehumanizing, invasive and built on flawed science that could perpetuate discriminatory hiring practices”

Yikes. If all this wasn’t enough, the use of A.I. in recruiting also makes for a bad candidate experience. Interviewees who took the A.I. test told The Post it “felt alienating and dehumanizing to have to wow a computer before being deemed worthy of a company’s time.” They “felt uneasy about having to perform to unexplained AI demands.” Several even outright refused to do the interview.

Another pitfall of A.I. recruitment can result from poor video quality or a bad internet connection. If an applicant’s video quality isn’t perfect, the algorithm could make a mistake. The same potential problem applies to poor audio connections; automated audio transcriptions are not 100% accurate yet, which can lead to the wrong keywords being picked up and incorrectly interpreted by the A.I. engine.

Structured Interviews: A More Intelligent Choice

The premise behind A.I. is well-intentioned. It is technology meant to make hiring more efficient and less biased. But, as we’ve learned, it sometimes falls short of that objective.

That’s why many recruiters and companies are opting for structured digital interviews instead of A.I..

Structured interviews ask the same questions in the same order to all job applicants. While this hiring methodology exists within traditional hiring practices, it can be complicated or jeopardized by human error. By digitizing the structured interview methodology and including it in video interviews, the process becomes much more reliable. 

One software company, VidCruiter, has chosen to double down on structured digital interviews instead of A.I. for a number of reasons, including:

  • Structured digital interviews are scientifically proven to work;
  • Pre-defined, reliable scoring criteria is baked into structured interviews to ensure all candidates are evaluated objectively;
  • Structured interviewing leaves a data trail that can help identify if someone is consistently making biased choices
  • It minimizes the chances of discrimination and helps protect against costly legal fees from unfair hiring practices;
  • Structured interviews double the odds of hiring the right person for the job!

Why Artificial Intelligence Isn’t So Smart

Technology can certainly make recruiters’ lives easier, but there’s too much at stake to employ A.I. during the hiring process at this time. A.I.-driven candidate assessments arguably save too much time through dangerous shortcuts.

Digital structured interviews still help companies, organizations, and government lower costs and turnaround times for new hires, but not at the cost of autonomy. As people in the HR industry, we must not remove the human from human resources. 

Recruiters and hiring teams should decide who’s best for the job—not computers. Deciding the path of applicants’ careers is too important to leave to artificial “intelligence,” at least until the benefits of A.I. outweigh the current risks.