How to recruit in full confinement? With the pandemic, companies are accelerating their digital transformation, in particular to adapt to widespread teleworking. And this movement is also affecting human resources departments, which are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to recruit.
In a recent publication, the Association for the Employment of Executives (Apec) observes a “boom” in recruitment solutions based on AI, a technology already used “by a large number of companies”, even if it remains ” at the exploratory stage “. Conversational robots – or “chatbots” – to make an initial sorting of CVs, even interviews analyzed by a robot, detection of emotions by video … At a time when many candidates are confined, these tools can facilitate recruitment .
A booming market
Randstad uses, for example, a pre-recruitment “chatbot” called “Randy”. It makes it possible to validate a certain number of prerequisites, before transmitting the most relevant profiles to the advisers, a truck driver having for example to show that he knows how to prepare a pallet before loading it. In the months after confinement, the tool was used about “three times more”, tells AFP Christophe Montagnon, director of innovation: a sign of a rise in digital uses but also of tensions in the employment.
Jérôme Ternynck, CEO of Smartrecruiters, a recruitment software company, tells him that the volume of applications has exploded with “five times more CVs”, which makes it “difficult” for companies to respond satisfactorily “without having use of AI “. The company offers both a chatbot called “SmartPal” and a CV analysis tool that identifies candidates “suitable for a position”.
“People say ‘it’s awful, it’s a machine that read my CV” but the machine has access to a lot more information than the recruiter and doesn’t discriminate “, not stopping for example on the sounding of a name, he says, believing that the fear of these algorithms “is not justified” as long as “one sticks to the skills”.
InterviewApp, for its part, specializes in automated video interviewing. Alone in front of his webcam, the candidate answers questions prepared by the recruiter in a limited time. Solutions make it possible to automate the analysis of the video, but the use of this tailor-made tool “still remains marginal”, indicates the president of this company, Julien Dargaisse.
“Fantasy of objective truth”
Apec believes, however, that “despite saving time and money”, AI “carries risks of discrimination and standardization of profiles”, the expertise of recruiters remaining “necessary during the final selection of candidates” . During a round table organized this week by the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (Cnil) on the place of AI on the job market, experts highlighted the ethical questions raised by these technologies.
For Laurence Devillers, professor of artificial intelligence at LIMSI-CNRS, certain tools such as the detection of emotions in the voice “are not reliable” for example for someone with a hair on the tongue. “As long as we do not have a clear assessment, we should not use sorcerer’s apprentice tools”, insists this “pro-techno”.
The human resources departments “are over-requested at the moment by their general management to use these tools”, “attractive” at first glance, observes Stéphanie Lecerf, HR Director of PageGroup France and president of the association “Equal skills “. There is, she says, a “fantasy of objective truth in algorithmic processing”, but it is “more complex”, in particular because they are designed by humans having “necessarily biases”.
After having tested certain tools to analyze a candidate’s emotions, she considers it “quite questionable” to draw conclusions from facial expressions. Ditto for the analyzes by robots of the interviews, where the tools developed are “not very reassuring”. AI “is not a magic wand”, replies Michel Cottura, responsible for piloting the strategy in this area at Pôle emploi, ensuring that the principle must be “intelligence at the service of humans and not inverse “.
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