Do Computers Really Assess and Reject Your Job Application?

Posted on Friday, April 9, 2021 by The CV WizardNo comments

It sounds sci-fi, but a recent BBC article explored the concept of a computer rejecting your job application. Do computers genuinely have this much power? Do they really decide whether you’re successful in recruitment or not? It’s a question increasingly being asked of recruitment agencies in London.

Computers in recruitment

Fundamentally, there’s no clear-cut answer. Different businesses, recruiting for different roles, use different levels of computer involvement when it comes to their hiring processes. We’re talking about two aspects: the processing ability of computers and artificial intelligence (AI).

A hiring manager could well end up with hundreds of applications for one vacancy. Right now, office support jobs in London are attracting dozens of CVs. It’s nearly impossible for a human to accurately screen so many applications. Here, the computer’s role, using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), is to apply algorithms to make short work of the shortlisting process. We recently explained how to write a CV to get you past Applicant Tracking Systems.

The second role of computers in recruitment is more complex. Here, we’re talking about artificial intelligence (AI) and how programmes are used to make decisions as if they were a hiring manager. In fact, in some ways, their “intelligence” goes far beyond that of a regular hiring manager, “reading” behavioural nuancesin a way that a human being can’t very easily or without bias.

AI can be used in recruitment at various stages and in different ways. In the recent BBC article, some examples were given. There are some “simple” online games, often about reasoning skills, but which may include psychometric testing. There are also computer-assessed virtual interviews that use AI to assess character, aptitude, and intelligence. These work in different ways, according to the programme. For example, some convert your interview answers into text and screen them for keywords, much in the same way as an ATS would screen your CV. Others are smarter.

Is computer-based recruitment good or bad for candidates?

The jury is still out on this one. There are some good arguments that a computer system can be programmed to eliminate bias, a well-known problem in recruitment that doesn’t necessarily get the best person for the job whilst also discriminating—the hiring manager recruits “in their own image”. So, on this score, you could argue that the hiring process is more objective when computers are used.

However, as a 2018 Amazon experience showed, computers aren’t without bias either.

At Love Success, we believe that ATS can be useful for hiring managers. They help get through the often overwhelming and intense shortlisting process when many applicants have applied for one role. Used correctly, screening CVs for keywords can create a very spot-on shortlist.

For senior roles, we can also see how AI recruitment methods can be helpful alongside human-to-human recruitment methods. They can give a broader and deeper picture of the candidate.

However, for the vast majority of office support jobs in London, we still believe that computers are nowhere near ready (yet) to replace hiring managers and their recruitment partners. It wouldn’t be fair on the candidates, and it wouldn’t get the right person into the role.

We’re human, we’re here!

At Love Success, we use recruitment tools to help employers where they have been evidenced as beneficial and fair. However, we take a very human-centred approach to recruitment. There’s no trying to get past a bot with us!


Love Success is a leading London PA & office support recruitment agency.
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