A human hand touches a hand coming from a computer screen

Evaluated by a robot. An experimental-ethnographic study of the automation of the recruitment process in a Swedish municipality

In a unique project the researchers will study the differences between an AI-based interview robot's and human recruiters' evaluations of jobseekers in a Swedish municipality during a year.

AI (artificial intelligence) is changing the way modern society functions in several domains. The automation of the assessment of individuals, such as in recruitment, has been identified as risky from an ethical perspective, as it is concerns assessments that affect people's life chances. Even though the few studies that have been conducted show that AI risks reinforcing already established patterns of inequality, the development in this area is driven by large cost reductions, as human assessors are more costly than those made by AI.

The purpose of the project is to investigate how assessments of job seekers made by AI-based recruitment systems differ from assessments carried out by recruiters. When in the process do differences arise, what type of differences are there, and why do they arise? For which social categories - gender, ethnicity, or age, do differences in assessments have the greatest impact?

The project is based on a unique opportunity to study a large Swedish municipality that for a year will use an advanced AI-based interview robot in its recruitment processes. The project combines an experimental approach, where we compare the interview robot's and the municipality's recruiters' evaluations of the same jobseekers, with an ethnographic study where we follow the municipality's work during the year when the robot is tested. This will provide a deeper understanding of the results of the experiment and of how recruitment processes change with automation.



Principal Investigator

Moa Bursell Associate Professor in Sociology and research leader at the Institute for Futures Studies

Project members

Lambros Roumbanis Associate Professor in Sociology