Is Automated Hiring Ruining the American Job Market?
In today’s modern world, our ever-evolving technology and increasing dependency on electronics has caused some major shifts in our day-to-day lives. The American job market is no exception. After the turmoil of The Great Resignation and the rise of “quiet quitting,” employers and employees alike are still trying to regain their footing in post-COVID America—especially with the rise of automated hiring systems in the current job market.
A surge in remote and hybrid work has left many job seekers confused and overwhelmed, especially when faced with a series of rejections. Recent social movements (such as BLM and the Women’s March) have renewed Americans’ attention on troubling economic disparities that many workers face during their job search, such as:
- Wage gaps
- Discriminatory hiring practices
- Income inequality
- Unethical employer behavior
- Biased recruiting strategies
- Hostile work environments
- Sexual harassment in the workplace
- Workplace discrimination
While many perceive automated recruiting techniques as less biased, there’s a chance that these systems are doing the exact opposite. Whether we’re aware of it or not, many Americans are affected by automated algorithms every day, from social media posts to dating apps to which advertisements are shown to us online.
While technology can be advantageous to both companies and American workers, there are still instances in which these technological advances can work against employees, often posing unfair divides, obstacles, and hoops to jump through. This is why it’s more important than ever for American employees to understand their rights in the post-pandemic job market.
If you’re one of the many people who decided to jump ship in pursuit of greener pastures on the job horizon, the last thing you want to do is jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. A surge in remote and hybrid work has left many job seekers confused and overwhelmed, especially when faced with a series of rejections.
Are you being discriminated against due to an automated hiring process? It’s important for job-seeking applicants to recognize signs of discrimination during the job hunt and understand how automated hiring practices can affect your ability to achieve career security.
The Dangers of Automated Hiring Systems
Our ability to physically walk into a business to request or deliver a job application no longer exists in the same capacity. Today, electronically submitted resumes are often scanned for key words, phrases, and qualifications that may singlehandedly dictate whether we’re the right fit for a given position.
Resume-based hiring practices can severely limit candidates who shine in other areas, as they often don’t receive adequate opportunities to elaborate on past career experience or simply give employers an idea of their personalities. In this manner, human beings are being reduced to a two-dimensional, one-page description on paper that may or may not be a comprehensive representation of who they are, let alone whether they would be an invaluable asset to a company.
Consider the following reasons why these closed-loop automated hiring processes can unfairly discriminate against candidates during the hiring process. Automated hiring systems can:
Instantly weed out applicants with gaps in employment.
Automated searches and scans that follow someone’s resume submission might rule out some job seekers before they even have the chance to introduce themselves. As you know, extenuating circumstances can play a key role in our ability to be accepted by an employer, a university, a program, and various other roles in life.
More often than not, humans are granted the opportunity to at least elaborate on any extenuating circumstances that may be negatively affecting their perceived capabilities on paper alone. For example, a student who fails out of a college will likely be offered an opportunity to submit an essay of explanation regarding why they were dropped from the school, how they’ve grown, and how they intend to succeed if readmitted to the university. Unfortunately, many automated hiring systems don’t offer job seekers the same courtesy.
If a candidate has a one-year gap in their employment so they could care for a sick or dying relative, for example, there’s a chance that the hiring system will weed out that person before they have the chance to explain themselves or show an employer that they’re actually a superb fit for the position.
For this reason, discriminatory hiring isn’t the only thing at stake. Employers also risk shooting themselves in the foot by unfairly rejecting applicants who may indeed be the best fit for the job opening.
Exhibit ageism by preventing applicants from listing prior job experience.
In some cases, job adverts exhibit blatant discrimination. Some companies incorporate discriminatory or exclusive language in order to target people of a particular race, age, gender, or other trait. Design and description play a vital role in determining which candidates feel confident enough to apply for a posted position.
Although prejudices can be based on various traits (such as religion, race, and sex), ageism is a common issue when it comes to hiring practices. For example, automated systems restrict job seekers from listing previous work experience that falls below a certain date or year, potentially limiting qualified candidates from proving they’re qualified at all.
Moreover, the older population is less inclined to use technology at the same frequency as younger generations, presenting an unfair obstacle for many older job applicants who lack experience using various systems and programs.
Discriminate against people with learning disorders, mental health conditions, and other disabilities.
The number of employers who choose to implement personality tests and personality-based assessments can also discriminate against certain applicants. This is foundationally problematic because such assessments are often geared towards neurotypical candidates, and often unfairly discriminate against applicants who have learning disorders, mental health conditions, and disabilities.
If a company relies initially or even solely on an automated system to weed out candidates based on personality test results, there’s a chance that deserving applicants won’t have the chance to get one foot through the door. Those affected by mental disorders and other disabilities are often weeded out from the start.
Discriminate against lower-income candidates and people of color.
Automated system analyses can rule out applicants of color hours or days after submitting their resume. Why? First, it’s important to consider the type of people who design these automated systems in the first place. More often than not, such programs are being created by a population that is dominated by White cisgender males.
What does this mean for those who don’t fit into that particular category? Unfortunately, even automated hiring systems are subject to the same biases that humans can exhibit. Consequently, these programs can have a negative effect on candidates of color by:
- Incorporating video analytics (such as analyzing facial expressions during interviews)
- Relying on resume screening to predict job performance
- Natural language processing systems are prone to favor traditionally White names
If you’re uncertain of racist hiring practices as a result of automated technology, consider the way Amazon’s automated hiring system exhibited gender discrimination in 2017. The system was shut down within one year after the program unfairly discriminated against women, automatically downgrading applications that included the word “woman” or “women’s” (such as “Women’s Rugby Team”) in submitted resumes and application responses.
While economic inequality makes people of color more likely to be categorized as low-income or working-class, anyone in the low-income bracket is at risk of being discriminated against by automated hiring systems. As you can imagine, job seekers who fall within a lower income bracket can face hurdles that middle- and upper-class candidates aren’t familiar with, as many working-class people have limited access to technology or limited experience using the software and programs.
Our Firm Seeks Justice One Client at a Time
If you feel like you’ve been unfairly discriminated against during your job search, you may be entitled to pursue legal action by filing a discrimination claim. Federal law holds employers accountable when it comes to using fair hiring practices, processes, and systems.
If you suspect that unfair biases have impacted your ability to earn or retain a job, our skilled employment law attorneys can help you seek the justice you rightfully deserve. At Donati Law, PLLC, we’ve spent over 35 years successfully fighting to protect the rights of wronged employees. We pride ourselves on tireless advocacy and always strive to level the playing field when our clients find themselves unfairly discriminated against.
Are you a victim of biased hiring practices? Our firm is here to help you achieve the financial security you rightfully deserve. Call Donati Law, PLLC at (901) 209-5500 to schedule your initial consultation.