It will be fascinating to see whether automatic systems and technology, of the sort that has become rife in some parts of the recruiting sector, survive after the introduction of GDPR. The new act gives the right for candidates to challenge supposedly “objective” decisions made by automated systems. That could tie recruiters up in more knots than the supposed time it saves them.

I have always found it strange, as often it is difficult to prepare rules that preclude or include automatically candidates from any recruitment process. Sure, there are obvious ones such as franchise experience for technicians, even automotive experience for managers, or degree qualifications where this is a graduate role.

But many automated systems go way beyond that, looking at the sorts of words candidates use in their CVs, what they say in their personal statements, what their job title is. And there are so many inconsistencies and variables in this type of approach I fail to see its use. Not because the technology cannot handle it, but because the person setting the parameters in the first place normally uses unconscious bias to set them. “We must have someone who is dynamic and forthright”, “Literacy and numeracy are essential for this role”, “They must have at least 10 years motor industry experience”.

If you are using such arbitrary, inconsistent benchmarks then you are likely to get challenged. “Dynamic” is often used as a synonym for young – age related discrimination is illegal and can be challenged. “Numeracy” or even “Literacy” might well discriminate against those who are dyslexic. “10 years experience in the automotive industry” automatically discriminates against anybody below the age of 26.

Automated systems are only as good as the person setting them up. But they are nowhere near sophisticated enough yet to be any substitute for an experienced, knowledgeable professional who knows exactly what they’re looking for. And so long as that person is sensible, open-minded and disciplined their decisions are much less open to challenge than an automated system that has been set up badly in the first place.

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