AI in Social Housing Recruitment: Observations and Strategies by ema MD Anne Elliott

In 2023, at ema, we began to notice a trend: an increasing number of CVs and cover letters crafted with the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI). This prompted us to do a deeper investigation into the broader implications of AI in recruitment practices, especially within the social housing sector. We’ve started a series of polls on LinkedIn – the first revealed that more than half of people would consider using AI to craft a CV.  As we delve into this subject, it’s crucial to explore how AI is reshaping the recruitment landscape, its potential to enhance processes, the challenges it presents and the strategies for ethical integration.

The emergence of AI-assisted applications in 2023 demonstrates a shift towards more technology-driven approaches in recruitment. Here’s a summary of what AI could mean for recruitment – both pros and cons:

Benefits of AI in Recruitment

  • Efficiency and speed: The adoption of AI will revolutionise the screening of applications, significantly reducing the time required for this process and enabling faster decision-making. This efficiency will invaluable, for example, in managing the high volume of applications in high demand roles.
  • Objective candidate evaluation: AI’s capacity to evaluate candidates based on predefined criteria offers a means to mitigate unconscious bias, fostering a more equitable selection process. This objectivity would ensure that recruitment is conducted fairly, based on merit and role suitability.
  • Scalability: The ability of AI to handle vast numbers of applications simultaneously addresses the challenge of scalability in recruitment. This feature is particularly beneficial for large-scale recruitment drives, enabling high standards of evaluation irrespective of application volume.

Challenges and Ethical Considerations

  • Risk of bias: While AI has the potential to reduce unconscious bias, there’s also a risk that it may inadvertently perpetuate biases present in its training data. This contradictions highlights the need for continuous vigilance and auditing of AI systems.
  • Loss of personal touch: The efficiency gains from AI come with a caveat—the potential diminishment of the personal touch in recruitment. An over-reliance on AI could lead to overlooking candidates’ unique qualities that aren’t readily quantifiable by algorithms.
  • Data privacy concerns: Implementing AI in recruitment processes necessitates a heightened focus on data security and the ethical use of personal information, ensuring that candidates’ data is protected and used responsibly.

Strategies for Ethical AI Integration in Recruitment

As we navigate the integration of AI into recruitment, a balanced and ethical approach is essential.

  • Ethical AI use: Establishing clear, transparent guidelines for AI use in recruitment is fundamental. These guidelines should ensure that AI applications are fair, transparent and accountable, reassuring candidates about the integrity of the recruitment process.
  • Blending AI with human judgment: It’s imperative to view AI as support, rather than a replacement for, human decision-making. This approach ensures that the nuances of individual experiences and personalities are adequately considered in the recruitment process.
  • Continuous monitoring and adjustment: Ongoing scrutiny of AI systems is crucial to ensure they remain effective and equitable. Regular reviews can help identify and correct any biases or inaccuracies, allowing for necessary adjustments to algorithms and selection criteria.

The increasing use of AI in the recruitment processes presents opportunities and challenges. As we, at ema, develop our understanding of AI and the implications, it’s clear that a thoughtful, ethical approach to AI integration is paramount.

As we navigate the complexities of AI in recruitment, we, at ema, are committed to an ethical, informed approach. Recognising both the potential and the challenges, we welcome dialogue and insights from those interested in exploring this further. If you wish to discuss AI’s role in social housing recruitment in more depth, please contact us.

Anne Elliot EMA Consultancy

Anne Elliott

Managing Director

01926 887272