Ethics and AI in recruiting

Ethics and AI are on everyone's lips. Also in recruiting.

With the recently passed EU Artificial Intelligence Act, the legal framework has now been created.

In human resource management, characterised by AI and dynamic changes, the focus is on ethical considerations. Considering the philosophy of human behaviour is crucial for business decisions when dealing with candidates and customers. In this context, the ethical dimension of recruiting tools in the era of increasing automation through AI is highlighted, especially with regard to the "cultural fit" of candidates.


Looking at the demands placed on human resource management, the expectations placed on this area of responsibility are extremely diverse due to the rapidly changing and often complex external influences (including AI, economic or digital/technical changes).   


Ethics is an important topic in the context of recruitment and staffing. As a sub-discipline of philosophy, ethics deals with the prerequisites and judgements of human actions and is indispensable for the functioning of our society. This also applies to behaviour in the business context when it comes to making entrepreneurial decisions, e.g. in the area of human resources or in dealing with customers. It is already clear here how diverse the dimensions of this complex of topics are, as they can therefore affect different target groups (candidates and/or customers).   

On the one hand, the following remarks refer to the question of the extent to which recruitment methods or modern recruiting tools can be considered "ethical" and which parameters should be taken into account when selecting such tools. In daily business, we also need to scrutinise what "acting ethically" means for us as a recruitment agency when dealing with our customers.   


At a time when everything is becoming faster and more automated, companies are increasingly relying on AI-supported recruitment tools.

The goal is clear: to make the recruitment process as efficient and uncomplicated as possible.

The credo is to minimise effort and reduce costs so that HR departments have more time for "value-adding activities".   


The range of tech recruitment tools is diverse. They range from simple candidate pre-selection (such as the initial screening of applications) to comprehensive selection tools (interviews conducted by chatbots or computers). Active sourcing tools also work with specific algorithms that display a pool of candidates tailored to the user and suggest pre-selected talents. How exactly these algorithms work, however, remains hidden.

It is therefore very important to always be aware that AI-supported recruitment tools can bring benefits, but also risks and raise ethical questions. Especially when AI-supported decision-making comes up against social values, data protection and legal aspects. Sensitivity is therefore required when integrating such tools into internal recruitment processes and particular attention should be paid to the quality of the selected products. In order to ensure the all-important "cultural fit", ultimately it is primarily people who have to make decisions based on empathy.

We take an ethical approach when dealing with candidates: we ensure that tasks are meaningful and appropriate and communicate without embellishing. We correspond clearly and do not have any "token candidates" who actually have no realistic chance of getting the job, or fill positions with a stopgap. Out of respect for the candidates, we only place people who are up to the task. The candidate must be a "cultural fit" for the company and, of course, be treated impartially.


In terms of client relationships, "ethics" for us as external consultants means, in particular, exclusivity in the collaboration and the "Do Not Touch" principle regarding people who are employed by our clients.

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