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Is Artificial Intelligence the Future for Psychometrics?

3 ways using artificial intelligence could change the selection process



In 2023, the UK Government pledged around £1 billion of government funding to support research in artificial intelligence (AI) and according to an executive summary of UK Businesses, around 15% of all companies are currently using at least one AI technology. This is expected to rise to nearly 35% by 2040. So, what is artificial intelligence and how can we expect it to reshape the psychometric and assessment industry?


According to John Mcarthy in 1955, a key pioneer of artificial intelligence, AI is the “science and engineering of making machines intelligent”. Since his original research, AI has become one of the most talked about concepts of technology and has branched into a range of industries. One area in which artificial intelligence is being used is within recruitment.


Typically, psychometric assessments are used in the selection process to help hiring teams determine the suitability of a candidate by measuring distinct areas such as their personality and cognitive ability. Often, hiring teams will have hundreds of applicants to assess, each of whom will need to be manually evaluated and screened.


The combination of artificial intelligence and psychometric assessment in the selection process creates an interesting alternative for evaluating the job fit of candidates. 


Should we embrace this change, or stick to what we know? Listed below are three potential benefits of artificial intelligence and the impact it could have on the selection process.


1.       Remove human bias


Without the correct training or interventions, many sources of bias can infiltrate the decision-making process when selecting a new hire. For example, hiring managers may weigh a candidate’s suitability differently based on information that is not relevant to their potential job performance such as: whether they personally like them, pre-disposed prejudice, or pressure to fill a role.


If programmed correctly, artificial intelligence can remove human bias by collating objective data on the candidate (such as their psychometric assessment results, qualifications and experience) and assessing their suitability for the role, which ultimately leads to a fair and balanced evaluation of every applicant.


2.       Reduce costs and resources


According to research from LinkedIn, a recruiter can spend upwards of 30 hours a week carrying out each step of the hiring process, including searching for candidates, administering psychometric assessments and conducting interviews. Artificial intelligence is available 24/7 and can be used to sort through thousands of data points instantaneously, leaving more time for hiring teams to focus on other aspects such as successfully integrating the candidate into the role and providing sufficient feedback to each applicant.


3.       Quickly identify top performing candidates


Psychometric instruments which incorporate AI-powered technology can be used to collate data points, such as cognitive ability and personality traits, into a comprehensive report highlighting the candidate’s strengths and development areas. AI can then be used to objectively measure the skills that are required to be successful in the role and the candidates that match these skills can be automatically identified.


It should be noted that hiring decisions can heavily impact an individual’s life, and despite some of the clear benefits, there is still work to be done. For example in 2018, Amazon was forced to stop using their AI assisted screening tool (originally implemented to search for potential candidates), due to its bias in favouring language that is typically used by males and selecting candidates who were neither qualified or suitable for the position available. In addition, there is also a risk that using AI to support the selection of new hires will decrease the diversity of the workforce by removing the input of differing ‘human’ perspectives and selecting candidates with the same or similar skills and attributes.


Psychometric assessments currently provide a powerful and objective insight into a candidate’s suitability for a role. However, it is important to recognise the additional benefits that AI could bring, whilst being cautious of the ethical implications that go hand in hand. Ultimately, the fast-growing possibilities for artificial intelligence are likely to make a huge impact in the selection process over the coming years.

 


Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, (2023, March 16). Government commits up to £3.5 billion to future of tech and science.[Press Release]. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-commits-up-to-35-billion-to-future-of-tech-and-science


Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, (2022). AI activity in UK businesses: Executive Summary. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ai-activity-in-uk-businesses/ai-activity-in-uk-businesses-executive-summary


Dastin, J., (2018, October 11). Insight - Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women. Reuters.  https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN1MK0AG/


Maheshwari, R., (2023, Aug 24) Advantages Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) In 2024. Forbes Advisor. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/in/business/software/advantages-of-ai/ 


Linkedin Business Solutions (2019) How Small Businesses Attract and Hire Top Talent. Retrieved from: https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/resources/talent-strategy/smb-attracting-top-talent 



Hunkenschroer, A.L., Luetge, C. (2022) Ethics of AI-Enabled Recruiting and Selection: A Review and Research Agenda. Journal of Business Ethics. 178, 977–1007. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-022-05049-6

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