26 September 2023

Merit Commissioner backs AI for APS recruits

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The Merit Protection Commissioner has launched new guidance material for Australian Public Service (APC) Agencies to use AI-assisted and automated recruiting tools.

Launching its Guidance material for using AI-assisted recruitment tools, the Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner (MPC) said the guidance covered AI-assisted recruitment myths; using AI and automation in recruitment; risking AI-assisted recruitment; and choosing the right provider.

“Advances in technology and a tightening labour market have led APS Agencies to increasingly utilise AI-assisted and automated recruitment tools in their recruitment processes,” the Commissioner, Launda Waugh said.

“Types of AI-assisted and automated tools include resume scanners, video interviews or psychometric tests which are reviewed by AI or an automated process,” Ms Waugh said.

“Of 66 APS agencies surveyed in 2022, 15 (23 per cent) responded that they had used AI-assisted and automated tools in their recruitment processes in the last 12 months.”

The Office said that as AI-assisted and automated recruitment tools were expected to become more prevalent in the future, providing guidance on how best to use the tools was crucial in order to ensure that recruitment processes continued to meet APS employment principles, particularly merit.

It said the tools may enable Agencies to increase the efficiency of their recruitment processes while mitigating some forms of recruitment bias.

“However, there are also a number of risks associated with AI-assisted and automated recruitment tools which may impact on the ultimate fairness and effectiveness of a recruitment process,” the Office warned.

“In particular, incorrect or negligent use of AI-assisted and automated recruitment tools can impede the operation of a merit-based recruitment process,” it said.

“Agencies should exercise care when engaging these tools, in order to uphold the merit principle.”

It said there should be a clear demonstrated connection between the candidate’s qualities being assessed and the qualities required to perform the duties of the job.

The Office said its guidance material advised Agencies on engaging AI-assisted and automated tools to mitigate risks, maximise benefits and ensure the merit principle outlined in the Public Service Act was upheld.

The Merit Protection Commissioner’s eight-page guidance material can be accessed at this PS News link.

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