The Project

Artifical Intelligence and Recruitment Bias

Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems be used in Reducing Recruitment Bias?
Cohen T.
Strategic Human Resource Review (2019)

AI refers to a broad class of technologies that allow a computer to perform tasks that normally require human cognition, including adaptive decision making (Tambe, Cappelli & Yakubovich, 2019). Recent technology advancements have resulted in a rise in the use of AI technology for recruitment purposes by organisations. However, the majority of them have experienced issues to do with bias. For example, Amazon in 2018 discovered that their AI technology for hiring was biased against women, which they subsequently dropped.

In this paper, using industry cases and expert analytics, the authors sought to provide insights into how artificial intelligence can be used to eliminate bias in the employee screening process of recruitment.


Practical Takeaways

  • Certain AI systems can be used in eliminating bias from the start. Such systems (e.g. Textio) help in giving an organisations job description writing a score for inclusivity, uses linguistic data to monitor tone, suggests more effective and inclusive language and integrates with recruiting platforms.
  • Companies can use AI systems for specific tasks such as resume screening for facts, hence eliminating potential human bias. Human bias oftentimes come into play when screening resumes e.g. applicants not been shortlisted because of their names.
  • AI systems can be used to source for diverse candidates across a much larger pool. For example, some AI systems use social media to scan employee’s networks and see if anyone they know would be a good match for open positions. The more people your employees connect with, the more expansive your potential talent pool becomes.
  • Using robots for preliminary interviews can help reduce unconscious bias. For example, some companies use chatbots to qualify potential candidate and flag then for more in depth interviews focusing strictly on their credentials without ever asking or considering their race, gender etc.
  • Enhanced video analysis: to reduce unconscious bias and quantify soft skills, some companies are turning to AIs like Knockri to screen and shortlist applicants. Candidates are filmed answering questions given to them by their potential employer. Afterward, the footage is scanned and analysed by the AI to determine the candidate’s enthusiasm, empathy, honesty and communication skills. The AI has been specifically programmed to not see race. This helps create a more equitable hiring process while still determining which candidates are the best fit.
  • Use AI cautiously, including it with other forms of recruitment strategies, as it could still possess bias as humans are the ones selecting the data and building these systems, hence could potentially include unintentional subconscious bias into the systems.


Cohen T. (2019) How to leverage artificial intelligence to meet your diversity goals
2019, Strategic Human Resource Review, 18(2), 62-65.

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