Will AI Create a Golden Age of Sourcing? Part III

Artificial intelligence and the impact on social sourcing, and the legal and ethical considerations that arise.

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Jul 11, 2023
This article is part of a series called Will AI Create a Golden Age of Sourcing?.

Where Does This Leave Social Sourcing?

AI technology has the potential to drastically enhance social media research in talent sourcing and candidate research. Here’s a few of my ideas about how it plays “game-changer”:

AI can quickly scan through vast amounts of data. With millions of active users on social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, AI can help recruiters analyze a larger pool of potential candidates more quickly and accurately.

With improved candidate profiling, AI can aggregate data from different social media platforms to create a comprehensive profile of a candidate. This might include their professional accomplishments, their interests, their networks, and even their personality traits based on their posts and interactions. Take a look at how some of the newest messaging tools are doing this.

What about social listening? AI-powered social listening tools can track mentions of specific keywords or phrases, allowing recruiters to find candidates who are talking about relevant topics or showing interest in their industry. Just think of how you’ll recruit in near real time on Twitter.

However, the use of AI in social media research does raise some ethical and legal considerations. It’s important to respect candidates’ privacy and not to use their social media data in a way that could be perceived as intrusive or discriminatory. Also, candidates’ online behavior should not be the sole determinant in the hiring process—it should be one of many factors considered.

As AI technologies become more integrated into the recruitment process, it’s likely that we’ll see a shift in how candidates manage their digital footprints. Candidates may become more mindful of their online presence, knowing that it could be analyzed during job applications. Ultimately, this could lead to a more professional and authentic online environment.

In conclusion, while AI has the potential to revolutionize social media research in recruitment, it’s important to balance its advantages with ethical considerations, ensuring that it’s used to create a fairer and more effective recruitment process.

Danger, Will Robinson!

As beneficial as AI has been in transforming talent sourcing and candidate research, it’s not without its challenges and critiques. Personally, I’ve got a few concerns about the rise of the machines.

For starters, what about the bias in AI systems? As previously mentioned, while AI has the potential to minimize bias in recruitment, it can also inadvertently perpetuate or amplify it. If the data AI systems are trained on is biased, the system’s decisions can reflect those biases. This could potentially lead to unfair hiring practices.

Could we become over-reliant on algorithms? I cannot help to think about how whole generations of recruiters were reliant on job boards, and I wonder if that over-reliance will rear it’s head again. For instance, algorithms are great at scanning through data quickly, but they might not always capture the nuances a human would. Over-reliance on AI can risk missing out on good candidates who might not fit perfectly into predefined criteria but could bring other valuable qualities to the role. Additionally, even though AI can streamline much of the hiring process, it can’t replicate the human touch essential to recruitment. Factors like cultural fit, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence are often best assessed through human interaction.

As we race towards our AI future, I cannot help but wonder about the legal and ethical considerations. The use of AI in recruitment also raises legal questions. For instance, how is candidate data being stored and protected? Are AI hiring practices compliant with anti-discrimination laws? AI’s decision-making processes can be a black box, making it hard to understand why the AI made a particular choice or recommendation. This lack of transparency can be a problem, particularly in a field as sensitive as recruitment.

Overcoming these challenges requires a balanced approach that leverages the benefits of AI while recognizing and addressing its limitations and potential pitfalls. This might include using AI to augment rather than replace human decision-making, ensuring transparency in AI processes, and committing to regular auditing and updating of AI systems to avoid bias and ensure fairness.

What Does The Future Hold?

First, there’s the danger of surveillance capitalism. With AI having the capability to mine vast amounts of data on potential candidates, there’s a real risk that it could be used to gather more information than is ethically or legally permissible. This could be seen as a severe invasion of privacy, a corporate ‘Big Brother’ if you will, always watching, always gathering data.

Second, the “losers” in this situation could be those who are less digitally active or savvy. Those who don’t maintain an active digital presence, whether by choice or by circumstance, may be overlooked by AI systems that rely heavily on online data.

Lastly, let’s not forget the implications for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) techniques. AI has the potential to significantly amplify the scope and speed of OSINT, making it an even more potent tool for candidate research. But again, this brings us back to the same ethical and privacy concerns.

So, are we looking at a dystopian future of recruitment where AI is the puppet master, pulling all the strings? Not necessarily. Used responsibly, AI could be a powerful tool to democratize opportunity, breaking down geographical boundaries and minimizing bias.

But as with any tool, it all comes down to how it’s used. And in the world of talent sourcing and candidate research, we’re the ones holding the reins. Let’s make sure we steer this ship in the right direction.

This article is part of a series called Will AI Create a Golden Age of Sourcing?.