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Robot wars: know your rights when it comes to recruitment

Sue Shellenbarger’s article on the increasing trend of recruiters deploying robotic screening of job applications gives rise to an interesting question for those of us in the EU in terms of how this squares with GDPR legislation and in particular an individual’s right not to be subject to solely automated decision making.

Now whilst Brussels legislators probably had scenarios such as credit ratings and mortgage application decisions front of mind when drafting the regulations, it is equally relevant in the sphere of recruitment where AI robots are automatically rejecting candidates’ CVs based solely on factors such as key word search.

In point of fact, the UK Information Commissioners Office published guidance on GDPR in respect of automated decision-making and profiling cites “e-recruiting practices without human intervention” as an example of automated decision making which would have a significant effect on individuals and would therefore give rise to legitimate grounds for an individual to object to such processing…in the all too typical scenario that their carefully crafted CV submission was met with a wall of silence from employers and/or recruitment agencies.

Whether an individual raising such an objection – and being able to prove they were screened out on the basis of automated processing alone – would be likely to raise many waves in the world of recruitment is questionable, but it would be interesting to see what would happen if a larger group of disgruntled job seekers raised a GDPR “class action” against recruiters / agencies who deploy such automated profiling practices.

At Peru Consulting all of the resumes we receive are reviewed by expert ‘Peruvians’ (this being a collective noun describing Peru employees, not a pet name for an AI Algorithm!). Peruvians involved with candidate selection and interview include our Talent and Operations Manager, the Management Team and our individual experts who are skilled in an area relevant to the candidate’s application (e.g. IT Strategy and Architecture, Sourcing and Commercial Management, Digital Transformation, etc).

This personal touch helps to ensure that the right candidates are shortlisted based on their knowledge, experience, cultural fit and interpersonal skills, not just by virtue of a keyword search, which in any event can be easily “gamed” by applicants. When you apply for a role at Peru Consulting, your CV may be reviewed by ‘Roberts’ but never by Robots!

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