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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Williams

Top 5 legal risks of using AI in recruitment

New and emerging technology has its promises but should not blind us to compliance issues.

In the words of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, "I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal."

While HAL's assurance is futuristic, today's assurance lies in the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform the hiring landscape.

AI technologies, with their applications in inclusive recruitment, skills-based hiring, and the broader context of recruitment, promise enhanced efficiency and informed decision-making. However, as we journey into this AI-driven future, we must also navigate the legal and ethical terrain cautiously.

I recently wrote about how the integration of AI in recruitment has brought forth a paradigm shift, reshaping how employers and recruiters identify talent. Whilst this is an incredibly exciting time for our sector, we must proactively manage the risks and be aligned in how we address them.

In this blog, we delve into the pivotal aspects of using AI in recruitment, including inclusive recruitment and skills-based hiring, while keeping a close eye on the legal risks, guided by UK law, that employers must heed.

1. Inclusive Recruitment: Breaking Down Barriers

Inclusive recruitment is a cornerstone of modern hiring practices. AI is crucial in promoting inclusivity by assessing candidates based on skills, qualifications, and potential rather than demographic factors. It's a tool that has the power to break down traditional biases and foster diversity in the workplace. However, it also poses risks:

Legal Perspective: The Equality Act 2010 in the UK obligates employers to ensure that AI systems do not discriminate against candidates based on protected characteristics such as age, gender, or disability.

2. Using AI in Recruitment: The Transparent Imperative

The adoption of AI in hiring processes introduces complexity, especially when it comes to transparency. AI algorithms often operate in the shadows, making it challenging for candidates to understand the reasoning behind their selection or rejection. Transparency is vital for ethical recruitment:

Legal Perspective: The UK's Data Protection Act 2018 enforces transparency in data processing, including AI-driven recruitment. Employers must provide candidates with clear explanations of how AI influences hiring decisions.

3. Skills-Based Hiring: A New Frontier

Skills-based hiring is the bedrock of AI-powered recruitment. It enables employers to identify candidates with the exact skills required for a role, transcending the limitations of traditional CVs. However, it is not without risks:

Legal Perspective: While skills-based hiring is a promising approach, employers must ensure that the AI systems they use accurately assess relevant skills, complying with the UK's Consumer Rights Act 2015, which mandates the accuracy of product descriptions and claims.

4. The Challenge of Contextual Understanding

AI, though powerful, sometimes falls short of grasping the nuances of human attributes and context. Resumes may not always capture the full extent of a candidate's potential or cultural fit within an organization, leading to overlooked talents:

Legal Perspective: UK law underscores the importance of fair recruitment practices. Employers should exercise human judgment to assess candidates' context and broader potential.

5. Guarding Privacy and Data Security

The use of AI in recruitment necessitates collecting and processing vast amounts of personal data. To uphold privacy and security, organizations must establish robust data protection measures:

Legal Perspective: The UK's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a critical data privacy framework. Employers must ensure compliance by safeguarding candidate data throughout the hiring process.

Incorporating AI into hiring processes offers remarkable advantages, from inclusive recruitment to skills-based hiring. However, employers must balance efficiency and ethics to harness these benefits while mitigating legal risks. Ensuring fairness, transparency, and compliance with UK law are paramount. Human oversight should always be the guiding force in this evolving landscape, guaranteeing that AI-driven hiring remains equitable, transparent, and accessible to a diverse pool of talented candidates.


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At Clu, we're reinventing how job seekers find jobs by helping Employers get great at skills-based and inclusive hiring.

Find out more by getting in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you.


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