Robot recruiters: can bias be banished from AI hiring?

robots recruiters
robots recruiters

Michael Scott, the protagonist from the US version of The Office, is using an AI recruiter to hire a receptionist.

Guardian Australia applies.

The text-based system asks applicants five questions that delve into how they responded to past work situations, including dealing with difficult colleagues and juggling competing work demands.

Potential employees type their answers into a chat-style program that resembles a responsive help desk. The real – and unnerving – power of AI then kicks in, sending a score and traits profile to the employer, and a personality report to the applicant. (More on our results later.)

This demonstration, by the Melbourne-based startup, resembles the initial structured interview process used by their clients, who include some of Australia’s biggest companies such as Qantas, Medibank, Suncorp and Woolworths.

The process would typically create a shortlist an employer can follow up on, with insights on personality markers including humility, extraversion and conscientiousness.

For customer service roles, it is designed to help an employer know whether someone is amiable. For a manual role, an employer might want to know whether an applicant will turn up on time.

“You basically interview the world; everybody gets an interview,” says Sapia’s founder and chief executive, Barb Hyman.