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Responsible AI: Ethics and automation in recruiting

September 28, 2021
iCIMS Staff
5 min read

Professionals in the talent field can have an incredible influence on both the lives of individuals and the ecosystem of the workforce at a larger scale. The hiring process shapes the world’s capacity for innovation, transformation, and accelerated progress across industries and geographies—and AI helps to fuel that change.  

AI has the potential to help transform hiring; however, it’s important to acknowledge its shortcomings. It isn’t the be-all-end-all. Certainly, it can mature to be an immense asset to your business, but not all technology is equal when it comes to ensuring its AI remains ethical.  

According to a study by ZDNet, 78% of HR professionals say they are “poorly equipped to ensure the ethical implications of using new AI systems,” and 65% said they aren’t confident in their processes for adhering to responsible AI regulations. Luckily, there are hundreds of frameworks outlining what it means to use AI responsibly, published by organizations globally dedicated to responsible AI governance frameworks.  

To align with these frameworks, it’s key to choose AI technology that follows the industry’s gold standards, which can in turn empower your teams with the knowledge and resources to embed ethical hiring throughout their processes. 

Hold recruiting processes to a higher standard

AI is particularly valuable in the current hiring landscape to reduce time to fill; hiring is kicking into overdrive as more people resign. Some 55% of people in the workforce say they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months (Bankrate). With speed and more touchpoints with a higher volume of candidates, it’s more critical than ever to ensure efficiency, quality, diversity, and ethical hiring practices. However, only 22% of organizations have an AI ethics board to help enforce a responsible AI framework (ZDNet). Due to recruiting teams’ extra workload, ensuring a fair hiring process can fall off the radar without a designated team focused on ethical AI. 

Along with a responsible AI committee, you should also consider implementing recruiting technology to provide you with guidance and assurance that your talent acquisition solution promotes fair hiring at each step of the talent lifecycle. Let’s see what it looks like to use ethical AI throughout the hiring process. Imagine you’re in rapid growth mode and hiring more than usual. You take a look at your dashboard and see that time-to-fill is up 35%, you’re losing candidates from historically excluded groups after the screening process, and there’s higher turnover than last quarter. 

You then task your team to be all-hands-on-deck for sourcing. To ensure you are hiring ethically, your sourcers will find candidates in the CRM with relevant profiles solely using objective data, which in turn improves the diversity of their passive talent network. 

Your recruiters are hard at work to fill your hundreds of open roles, having to screen hundreds of resumes to fill the top of the funnel, and looking for quality profiles in that list. With that many jobs and applicants, that’s a task beyond human scale. Luckily, AI can make it easier by surfacing and prioritizing candidates that most closely fit the job requirements. 

Plus, the candidate recommendations include explainability to show you why those particular profiles were surfaced, so they get more insight into how recruiting AI works. Transparency leads to confidence when sending profiles to their hiring managers, which gets you one step closer to filling the roles. 

On top of the bias mitigation and explainability, your team can feel comfortable knowing their recruiting technology prioritizes data quality, ensures privacy, adheres to global regulations, and reduces avoidable risk throughout the recruiting funnel. You don’t have to worry about unfair algorithms behind the scenes so you can focus on hiring for those open jobs quickly. 

Responsible AI at iCIMS 

iCIMS provides peace of mind to our clients by educating them on fairer recruiting practices and providing technology that helps make ethical hiring simpler. We follow five responsible AI pillars that align with your organization’s values, privacy needs, and technical standards: 

  • Explainability and interpretability – in-product explanations behind AI-powered recommendations to promote transparency and education 
  • Data quality – reduced sources of error and ambiguity with high-quality data to provide a stronger recruiter experience 
  • Bias and fairness – AI that only takes objective candidate data into account and continuous bias detection and mitigation to help promote diversity 
  • Robustness –a preventative approach to risks so your teams can reduce any unexpected harm to your hiring process 
  • Accountability – support in audits, risk assessment, and mitigation actions to empower teams to stay on track with ethical hiring 

iCIMS weaves responsible AI throughout the iCIMS Talent Cloud, and we commit to evolving our AI according to best practices and global regulations. That way, we empower our global clients to use their recruiting AI to their advantage and the benefit of all candidates—across how they attract, engage, and hire top talent—to help weather the storm during the labor market shift. 


AI is ubiquitous, powering everything from a life-saving medical diagnosis, self-driving cars—all the way to your next Netflix viewing marathon. At this point, this technology facilitates so many aspects of our lives that there’s no looking back. The clear advantages that AI provides in our personal lives, like convenience and efficiency, translate seamlessly to our work lives. 

Just as you choose the songs you want to listen to or suggest Netflix show marathons, recruiting technology should always be human led, with AI enhancing the velocity and precision by which you screen and move candidates through the funnel. With that in mind, it’s essential that talent acquisition professionals learn what it’s good at, what it isn’t, and how to create a more ethical hiring process for everyone. With the right technology, organizations can feel empowered to use AI responsibly so they can build a diverse, qualified workforce at scale. 

This is part one of our Responsible AI blog series, so stay tuned for additional educational pieces on how to recruit ethically. 

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