Algorithmic Hiring: Assessing the Pros and Cons

February 15th, 2019

By Gary Hinde, Toronto Technology Recruiter

Hiring companies and recruiters are always looking for new ways to hire more effectively and efficiently. Many have turned to technology to get an advantage and make better hiring decisions.

One hiring software company estimates that 72% of resumes are rejected before a person can have the chance to see and review them. Companies are increasingly using applicant tracking systems (ATS) and algorithmic hiring to make recruiting decisions.

“Companies are increasingly turning to software code to source new talent. Demand for these algorithms has spiked in recent years and this trend is expected to continue. This means a robot – rather than a human recruiter – could soon decide whether you land your next job,” says Ashley Nunes in The Globe and Mail.

There are pros and cons to using algorithms to hire. Here we’ll outline what algorithmic hiring is and look at some of the advantages and potential drawbacks.

What Is Algorithmic Hiring?

algorithmic hiring

Algorithmic hiring is the process of using a computer algorithm to assess candidate applications. The algorithm uses the data from candidate resumes, cover letters, and application materials to compare and contrast their fit for the job.

The Pros of Algorithmic Hiring

There is no doubt that incorporating technology into the hiring process can provide some benefits. They include:

  • Efficiency: Companies will be able to reduce the amount of time spent combing through resumes. They will be able to quickly weed out unqualified candidates and more quickly identify candidates worth interviewing.
  • Increased intelligence: More data will help companies gain a more detailed understanding of the type of candidates they are looking for. An ideal candidate profile backed by data can help companies pinpoint specific skills, abilities, and experience needed for the job.
  • Faster response: Companies will be able to quickly identify if a candidate is a contender or not, allowing them to respond. Candidates will know quickly if they qualify for an interview.

The Cons of Algorithmic Hiring

There are a number of potential drawbacks and areas of concern with hiring algorithms:

  • Time: It’s imperative that if you are going to use an algorithm to hire, you need to get it right. This takes time. You need to know what you want, and you need to have the right intelligence to input into the algorithm to ensure it is in alignment with your hiring practices.
  • Data accuracy: A difficult issue to overcome is the algorithm will be based on past data or information that is already programmed.
  • Bias: This is a key issue for recruiting in general. Algorithms can be just as biased as humans. There is the potential for bias when developing the algorithm, interpreting the data, and how data is analyzed.
  • Algorithm errors: Computers make mistakes. If hiring managers make decisions based on erroneous data, they could hire the wrong person.

Algorithmic hiring is still in its infancy. There are still many things that need to be worked out to make it a more effective and efficient recruiting tool. Algorithms should be used as one of the many tools companies can use to hire, not something to make a hiring decision.

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IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across the country. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Executive Search / Board & C-Suite, Technology, Media, Digital & Marketing, Accounting & Finance, Financial Services & Insurance, Cannabis, Startup, Data Science, Consumer, eCommerce & Retail, Operations & HR, Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Engineering, Legal & Professional Services, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Non-Profit & Sustainability, and Sales. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Gary Hinde

Gary is a Partner and Practice Lead of one of Toronto's most respected team of IT recruiters. He has a strong background in building and managing teams, and specializes in contract and permanent placements within the IT space. With over 15 years of IT Sales and Recruitment experience, Gary is committed to customer service and has a genuine love for working with people and solving business problems.