AI - Artificial Intelligence

AI in Recruiting: Risks and Legal Challenges

Government agencies and worker advocates have voiced strong concerns that AI tools can discriminate against job applicants when they are built using data that reflects existing biases. Indeed, AI models learn from existent employees’ traits and apply this knowledge to select job applicants. Some firms even use chatbots to interview candidates and AI “predictive hiring” is used to analyze candidates’ vocabulary, speech rate, tone, facial expressions, personality, etc. to predict candidates’ probability of success. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces laws banning workplace bias, has warned employers that they can be held legally liable if they fail to prevent screening software from having a discriminatory impact.

Last January 2024, President Biden issued an Executive Order to manage AI, demanding that firms strengthen AI safety, security, protect Americans’ privacy, advance equity and civil rights and stand up for consumers and workers.” This Executive Order requires disclosure and reporting requirements for developers, assessing AI’s risk for critical infrastructure. It also requires Cloud storage firms to report on any computing modeling training to foreign entities.

In its “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People” the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy states that automated systems have proven unsafe, ineffective, or biased. The report asserts that algorithms used in hiring and credit decisions have been found to reflect and reproduce existing unwanted inequities or embed new harmful bias and discrimination. It declares that unchecked social media data collection has been used to threaten people's opportunities, undermine their privacy, or pervasively track their activity--often without their knowledge or consent. To advance President Biden's vision, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has identified five principles that should guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the American public in the age of artificial intelligence

Lawsuits are starting to surface.  Workday, a screening job applicant platform used by many firms, is facing a class action lawsuit that alleges that Workday’s platform discriminates based on race, age and disability in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws.

iTutorGroup, a China-based tutoring firm (a unit of Ping An Insurance Group Co of China -HK-2318) recently settled a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which alleged that iTutor developed an online recruitment software that discriminated based on age by screening out woman aged 55 or older and men who were 60 years or older.

Research on AI in Recruiting

Research on recruiting has grown exponentially in recent years and in general critically explore the problems associated with AI recruiting practices from a legal, technical and ethical dimensions. Specifically, research results strongly suggest that indeed AI recruiting is not only “inconsistent and ineffective” but it has the potential of discriminatory hiring decisions. Also, research indicates that human hiring practices and recruitment decisions by experienced recruiters are better than the “inconsistent algorithm recommendations” generated by AI. 

Due to the huge impact of recruiting decisions on people’s lives, it is crucial that companies understand both the opportunities and the potential risks that AI recruiting technologies may create and how algorithmic decisions may be in complete disagreement with what they want to achieve.


Bechtel, M., Chief Futurist, Deloitte: Generative AI: Force Multiplier for Human Ambitions. 2024 

Hunkenschroer and Lutge 2022. Ethics of AI Enabked Recruting and Selection: A Review and Research Agenda. Journal of Business Ethics, 178, 977-1007

Lacroux and Martin-Lacroux. (2022) “Should I Trust Artificial Intelligence to Recruit? Recruiters’ Perceptions and Behavor when Faced with Algorithm-Based Recommendation Systems during Resume Screening”. Frontiers in Psychology. July 2022, V13, 895997.

Mobley v.  Workday Inc, 2024. US District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3-23-cv-00770.


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