Technology Trends in Human Capital: How A.I. is Changing Recruitment
September 24, 2020 in Technology & Tools
By Caitlin Rodgers
Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has become a major tool leveraged in the human capital space to help organizations develop solutions and achieve goals in the workplace. As A.I. has become an increasingly more powerful and widely used tool, we wanted to take a closer look at how it has been used to pave the way towards the future of human capital work. We interviewed I/O psychologist, Greg Haudek, who works for a recruiting network company called Suited that uses A.I. to improve the recruitment process for professional service industries.
Can you give a brief overview of Suited and your mission as a company?
Suited is an A.I.-powered recruiting network designed to help the most promising candidates from all backgrounds access highly sought-after opportunities in the professional services industries.
Our first product offering in the investment banking space has allowed recruiters and hiring managers in this highly competitive industry to understand candidates holistically and without bias. Using the power of machine learning and proven best practices from industrial-organizational psychology, we have created an assessment-driven ecosystem that enables hiring teams to expand the way they consider a person’s candidacy while simultaneously providing candidates with an easy way to demonstrate their raw potential.
How does Suited leverage artificial intelligence to improve the recruitment and selection process?
Suited applies artificial intelligence to identify the best candidates to bring into an organization’s recruiting process, without bias and with increased efficiency. The models we build identify links between traits (personality, values, innate abilities) and performance, and use those relationships to identify potential high performers among the candidate pool.
While this process is not inherently different from how humans assess candidates, A.I. has the added benefits of instantly considering much larger amounts of data and easily identifying very nuanced interactions between traits and performance.
For example, there is a strong perception that the more “curious” a person is, the more they will achieve. The thought behind this assumption is that when a person is more interested and engaged in what they are doing, the more likely they are to put effort into their work and do well. However, for complex tasks, our data shows that this is not always the case. In investment banking specifically, we find that when complex tasks are involved, a candidate or employee cannot stay focused if they have too much curiosity.
Thus, there is a non-linear relationship between curiosity and performance. These complex, non-linear behaviors amongst predictors and their interactions are not easily identified nor internalized by humans, but these behaviors are absolutely critical to the task of identifying the best candidates to bring into organizations. Suited is able to leverage A.I. to solve this problem and model data more objectively and predictively than traditional merit proxies, like GPA or university ranking. Additionally, we always rigorously test for adverse impact on our models to ensure that the A.I. and predictions are not just perpetuating bias or inequality.
How does your system work against unconscious bias?
Unconscious bias can easily creep into interviewing decisions because of the sheer number of applicants that companies get for a single job posting. Most companies don’t have the resources to holistically evaluate hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resumes. In that situation, recruiters and hiring managers are forced to rely on instinct to quickly determine which applicants to interview. Suited’s product helps alleviate this problem by ranking candidates based on their predicted probability of success at the specific company, which removes the need for gut decision making. Since all our models pass adverse impact to make sure there is no disparate treatment among gender or race/ethnicity, ranking candidates by predicted probability of success has the added benefit of expanding the diversity of looked-at candidates.
Another way that unconscious bias tends to slip into hiring processes is when limited information about candidates is available. This means that recruiters or hiring managers are forced to use only a few data points, or biased sources of information, to make decisions about which candidates to consider. Suited works against this by collecting and analyzing a wide range of information about each candidate and providing a much more comprehensive and holistic evaluation of the candidate than is possible than with resumes. Research consistently indicates that an effective approach to combating unconscious bias is to consider individual-level information about others, which is precisely what we do. Instead of only providing hiring decision makers with broad level information about a candidate (e.g., she attended Harvard) from a resume, we surface in-depth and unbiased information about each candidate (e.g., she is likely to be a good fit for this position because she demonstrates a willingness to take charge of a situation).
How is Suited’s process increasing diversity and inclusion?
Our process improves diversity by giving candidates a chance to demonstrate their qualifications and potential fit for a position in an equitable way. Suited has also opened up the historically closed-system of investment banking recruiting to a much wider pool of potential candidates.
Many roles within professional services are considered prestigious and are therefore highly competitive. Many investment banks, for example, have typically only recruited from a limited set of “target” schools, but many people in the industry are beginning to see the problem with this approach. Elite colleges are not racially, ethnically, or socioeconomically diverse enough to fill the pipelines of every single investment bank. Additionally, our data has consistently shown that university ranking has limited bearing on whether or not candidates have the potential to become successful employees. As more firms have begun to understand this as a reality, Suited has enabled students from other schools to be given a chance to demonstrate their potential in the same way those from Penn or Harvard have been able to for decades.
How do you think A.I. is changing human capital in the workplace?
A.I. is bringing sophisticated analyses and insights to human capital, providing better tools for managing the enormous amount of data that is a part of any organization. A.I. is bringing some computational efficiencies to collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data, from resume scraping for specific expertise to text analyses powered by chatbots. But that’s only part of the power of this technology. A.I. allows us to see interactions, dependencies, and outcomes that would otherwise be difficult to quantify. For example, we can use patterns in responses to a set of items to more accurately describe someone’s personality traits than we ever could before.
The short answer is that A.I. is making more things possible, and the scope of its potential seems to be increasing daily or weekly. That being said, I think the role of A.I. in HC is still evolving and will likely continue to do so for some time.
And this is not only the case for Human Capital! In a blog earlier this year, we explored how A.I. has had a profound impact on the future of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).
How has your organization or industry been impacted by A.I.? Share your thoughts about A.I. with us on LinkedIn!
To learn more about Suited, visit www.wellsuited.com.