Relying On AI For Hiring May Be Doing You A Disservice

Korn Ferry, a management consulting firm and publisher of assessments headquartered in Los Angeles that employs over 8000 people in 53 countries, published an interesting and worrisome article in their June edition of “Briefings Magazine”.

Their article, “The Frenzy To Find Work” raises concerns about and problems created by, the use of AI in recruiting.  Korn Ferry reports that [the] “new technology aimed at improving job hiring hasn’t worked as intended, stymieing both candidates and hiring managers.”

The statistics they’ve presented are pretty dire.

  • More than 40 percent of large firms are using some sort of AI in their recruiting process, according to the Society of Human Resources Professionals.
  • Applicant-tracking systems (AI-powered and otherwise) reject 75% of résumés.
  • 67% of large companies say that lack of talent is the main reason they haven’t filled open positions.
  • 61% of job seekers describe the online job search as time-consuming and frustrating.
  • The average length of a job search is 5 months in the United States.

All of that, despite there being more than 9 million open positions in the USA last year, a number never seen before the pandemic.

But wait, there’s more!

The odds of getting an interview after applying are just over 1 in 5, and after that the chance of being hired is about 1 in 3 according to the US government.  This means that the odds of a single application resulting in employment are about 8%.

Research also shows that AI systems reproduce human bias (something that they were designed to eliminate).  According to the Society of Human Resource Management, “AI tools, ranking two otherwise equivalent candidates, were 26 percent more likely to rate a disabled person lower – even if the job wasn’t physically demanding.”  In another study of AI recruiting, resumes with distinctly Black names were consistently downgraded and those with distinctly Asian names were ranked higher than resumes with Black names twice as often.  Although AI automates and addresses some recruiting problems, it creates and exacerbates others.

What all of this boils down to is that things are a bit of a mess out there – for both desperate employers and eager job candidates.  Not surprisingly, these are exactly the kinds of things we hear from our clients as well.  When it’s not the issues above, then it’s unreliable resumes, lack of work ethic, abysmal interpersonal skills, technological incompetence, or an inability to make it through the probationary period.

Clearly, leaving it all to the ‘machines’ isn’t working and they’re obviously a poor substitute for a pair of human eyes.

According to Korn Ferry’s Senior CHRO partner, the solution is clear:

“You need to put the ‘human’ back in Human Resources.”

There’s no silver bullet, one-size-fits-all solution, nor any guarantees when it comes to the hiring processes.  It’s a mixed bag of ‘best practices’, trial and error, and simply ‘what works best for us’.  AI can absolutely be part of that process, but the human component cannot be removed from it.

That is where assessments come (back) into the picture.  One of the things that AI can’t do is evaluate soft-skills.  It can’t determine if an applicant works well with others, has a calm demeanor, will be reliable or honest, if they can manage time, or multi-task effectively, but assessments can.

Luckily there are thousands of assessment tools available, in ever increasing numbers and job-role/skill specificity to tap into.  They’re mostly inexpensive, almost always available in one-offs, without commitment, and are properly validated to ensure reliability, legality, and accuracy.

Whether you need to assess predicted on-the-job behaviours, hard skills, soft skills, interpersonal communication, team working ability, IT or computer competence, honesty, reliability, or industry-specific competencies in hospitality, nursing, sales, mechanical maintenance, customer service, retail, or general personality…

There’s A Test For That!

Creative Organizational Design has been helping employers address problems like those described above for nearly half a century.  They have over 5000 ‘solutions’ to bring to bear, and the expertise to help you find the right one for your unique needs.

Assessments aren’t a panacea any more than is AI, but I guarantee that the judicious application of good quality skills, aptitude, and attitude assessments will alleviate some of your problems, and help you identify better candidates, and to hire better employees.


David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering nearly 50 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has nearly 5000 different product titles available. Creative Organizational Design has assessment tools designed to help employers screen out other people’s rejects, assess skills, aptitude, attitude and ‘fit’ within an organization. For more information about the options available and help selecting the best tools for your needs please contact us because no matter what personnel challenges you’re facing – there’s a test for that!  Please send comments about this article to

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