Future Friday: The use of Artificial Intelligence in HR

The use of AI in HR can be a passionate subject.

On Wednesday, January 23rd, there was an online discussion of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in human resources. The lead for the discussion was Ben Eubanks who is the author of the book Artificial Intelligence for HR: Use AI to Support and Develop a Successful Workforce, which has been recently released. (I will be reviewing the book in the coming weeks.) Ben has also written a blog post on SHRM as part of this discussion. That post can be found here.


There were eight questions posted to prompt the discussion. These questions were:

Q1. What conversations, if any, is your organization having about AI—or AI for HR—as we enter 2019?
Q2. If you have already implemented some form of AI technology (such as digital assistants), how is it helping you to improve the HR function and employee experience at your organization?
Q3. In what areas have you implemented—or are you looking to experiment with—AI to create personalized employee experiences and communications (benefits, skills development, learning, training, etc.)?
Q4. Some companies are using chatbots to screen candidates. What do you think of the effectiveness of such technology?
Q5. What is your biggest concern with using AI for recruiting?
Q6. Do you think AI for recruiting is in any way unfair to job seekers? How/why?
Q7. What are your biggest concerns for how AI will affect HR in the future?
Q8. What advice can you share with other HR professionals regarding their own skills development and career development for the future of AI and all HR technology?

The breadth of reactions was pretty wide and passionate in many cases. You can read this discussion by going to Twitter and searching on #SHRMNext or just #NextChat and you will be able to read the discussion. Not everyone is bought into using AI in HR for some tasks.

Big use projected for recruiting

One of the biggest uses projected by Ben is the use of AI and chatbots in the recruiting process. It is seen by many as a significant time-saver but is seen by others as impersonal and dehumanizing. Others pointed out that many systems may be biased, using the inherent biases of the people who programmed the AI. Here is a sample of some of the reactions:

  • A4: this seems like a garbage in/garbage out situation. Great if the screening tool is setup properly to filter what it needs to filter (and can lawfully filter). Terrible if in the wrong hands. #nextchat
  • A6 – Professional Job Seekers adjust resumes to fit job descriptions… If you can work the system to get through, you can probably bullshit your way through a few interviews. How many All Star Candidates are lost because they are not professional resume writers?
  • With the onset of AI; the need & demand for resumes can be eliminated; by making the candidates respond to set of queries that probe their required & demanded credentials; ensuring no valid information is given a blind eye.

There were some very passionate comments about both sides. Some people are ready to embrace AI. Others are unsure or confused about getting started. Others still are adamant that AI takes the “human” out of Human Resources.
As in much of technology the use of AI in HR is inevitable. It is important to have discussions like this in order to be aware of and address people’s concerns about its use. It is good to see the discussion underway.

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