Could Computers Replace Hiring Managers?
We like to think of the hiring process as touchy-feely. It’s something that humans have done for as long as they have been forming businesses. Most hiring managers make the decision to hire based on their gut instinct about a person. But does that necessarily mean that people are better at it?
It turns out that the answer is likely a big, fat “no.” Recent evidence from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that robots, not humans, might be best place to make hiring decisions. The study that used data on more than 300,000 hires for entry level jobs, mainly in fast-food, call centers and industries with high turnover. These compared hiring decisions made by human managers to those made by a computer algorithm. They found that the computer algorithm was the clear winner, as evidenced by the fact that the people it chose. Those selected employees stayed in the position for more than 15 percent longer than those selected by humans.
Benefits of Computers vs Human Hiring Managers
This information could potentially be very useful for companies who want to save money on their hiring costs. High turnover is not desirable because hiring and training new people often costs a significant proportion their annual wage.
Michael Hoffman, head researcher, said that the reason the computer won came down to the hubris of managers. Managers just thought that some candidates were better than they actually were. Hoffmann claims, algorithms don’t discriminate and just go on the facts as they stand. This is truly unbiased hiring.
Should Computers Play A Bigger Role In Hiring?
You might argue that the experiment showed that computers can do a better job of the hiring process in a very special case. Managers in one sector may differ vastly, compared to managers in other industries. Obviously, it would take a far more sophisticated machine to decide whether or not to hire a person to a professorship or as a pediatrician.
Having said that, it is clear that businesses do actually need help when it comes to their hiring processes. More and more are taking advantage of applicant tracking systems . This is a new computer software designed to streamline the application process.
Danielle Li, a professor at Harvard Business School, thinks that this is the direction in which things are now going. We will see how computer assistance in the workplace will change the way people make hiring decisions. Time will tell whether it will result in better outcomes. She points out that it’s natural to think that you are getting good information from your personal interactions with somebody. But often those takeaways from our interactions are undermined by the results of statistical testing.
Nobody is suggesting turning over the hiring process to computers entirely. It is simply offering an alternative solution to hiring new employees in a fast-paced and ever-changing world of technology. Though in some cases, new is not always better. You would have to decide what works best for your business.