Chatbot or human – who makes the best recruiting choices?

One position available, 1000 applications. More and more large companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to increase the efficiency of human resources, especially when looking to recruit suitable personnel. One area where chatbots can come in handy is giving potential candidates a first impression of what the job will entail and helping them gauge how well they are actually suited for the role. The Adecco Stiftung für Arbeit und soziales Leben (Adecco Foundation for Labor and Social Affairs) funded a three-year project at FAU on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots and Recruitment”. He studied the relationship between humans and machines in human resources, obtaining valuable insights into different topics such as the ethical aspects of these digital systems and the extent to which people are willing to accept them.

Researchers from the FAU Digitalization in Business and Society Endowment Chair conducted interviews with potential users and stakeholders in the field of human resources as well as with experts in the field of AI. The Nuremberg research team led by Prof. Dr. Sven Laumer now has summarized their findings in a report which is both practical and academic. Researchers believe that chatbots are dialogue systems suitable for making processes in the field of human resources more efficient, but are concerned that chatbots must become more intelligent and able to respond to users in a more individual way. Even though algorithms can help HR departments make a decision, recruiters still tend to be skeptical about relying entirely on data. The study indicated that users prefer humans to machines when it comes to sensitive questions about personal data or when it comes to making relevant recommendations for the future. Another interesting finding is that AI is more widely accepted if decisions are seen as fair. Keeping this in mind, the researchers developed and tested a multidimensional fairness model. The study also suggested that candidates tend to view companies that offer digital recruitment as an innovative and attractive potential employer.

However, one aspect that still needs to be addressed is the active avoidance of discrimination. It often happens that discriminating characteristics (such as demographic characteristics) are applied in models that serve as the basis for generating recommendations. This highlights the importance of a high degree of transparency, which in turn would increase the accountability of AI-assisted recruitment.

The project was funded by the Düsseldorf-based Adecco Foundation, which focuses on new approaches to work and social affairs. According to the director of the Adecco Foundation, Janine Bischoff, “the future of work has been one of our main issues from the beginning”. “We were happy to provide funding for this exciting topic.” In order to be able to continue research at FAU on digitization and to follow up on the research started by the Adecco-funded project, Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Stiftung will fund a research laboratory focusing on the future of work from February 2022. .

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