Objectifying the Hiring Process: Human Judgment Must Be Shaped

February 18, 2021

The controversies about management-employee interactions are not efficient. Consider Google. Not only did the Timnit Gibru dust up sully the pristine, cheerful surface of the Google C-suite, the brilliance of the Google explanation moved the bar for high technology management acumen. Well, at least in terms of publicity it was a winner. Oh, the Gibru incident probably caught the attention of female experts in artificial intelligence. Other high technology and consumer of talent from high prestige universities paid attention as well.

What’s the fix for human intermediated personnel challenges? The answer is to get the humans out of the hiring process if possible. Software and algorithms, databases of performance data, and the jargon of psycho-babble are the path forward. If an employee requires termination, the root cause is an algorithm, not a human. So sue the math. Don’t sue the wizards in the executive suite.

These ideas formed in my mind when I read “The Computers Rejecting Your Job Application.” The idea is that individuals who want a real job with health care, a retirement program, and maybe a long tenure with a stable out” get interviewed via software. Decisions about hiring pivot on algorithms. Once the thresholds are crossed by a candidate, a human (who must take time out from a day filled with back to back Zoom meetings) will notify the applicant that he or she has a “real” job.

If something goes Gibru, the affected can point fingers at the company providing the algorithmic deciders. Damage can be contained. There’s a different throat to choke. What’s not to like?

The write up from the Beeb, a real news outfit banned in China, reports:

The questions, and your answers to them, are designed to evaluate several aspects of a jobseeker’s personality and intelligence, such as your risk tolerance and how quickly you respond to situations. Or as Pymetrics puts it, “to fairly and accurately measure cognitive and emotional attributes in only 25 minutes”.

Yes, online. Just 25 minutes. Forget those annoying interview days. Play a game. Get hired or not. Efficient. Logical.

Do online hiring and filtering systems work. The write up reminds the thumb typing reader about Amazon’s algorithmic hiring and filtering system:

In 2018 it was widely reported to have scrapped its own system, because it showed bias against female applicants. The Reuters news agency said that Amazon’s AI system had “taught itself that male candidates were preferable” because they more often had greater tech industry experience on their resume. Amazon declined to comment at the time.

From my vantage point, it seems as if these algorithmic hiring vendors are selling their services. That’s great until one of the customers takes the outfit to court.

Progress? Absolutely.

Stephen E Arnold, February 17, 2021


One Response to “Objectifying the Hiring Process: Human Judgment Must Be Shaped”

  1. ES on February 18th, 2021 10:14 am

    This paradigm where employers run the table on employment decisions is about to be flipped. The dehumanization of HR assures an organization’s demise. Prime example: usajobs.gov

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