The Pros and Cons of Using AI in Recruitment

The Pros and Cons of Using AI in Recruitment: Legal Concerns and Future Impacts on Talent Management in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed various aspects of our lives, offering significant simplifications and efficiencies, especially in professional environments. One area where AI has shown immense potential is in recruitment. However, while AI can streamline and enhance hiring processes, it also brings forth serious legal and ethical concerns. This article explores the benefits and challenges of using AI in recruitment, focusing on the tourism and hospitality industry, and highlighting the legal implications and their impact on future talent management.

As someone who has specialized in HR and Talent Management for the past 24 years, founding USEH International and heading its operations since its foundation, I have witnessed firsthand the evolution of recruitment practices. Our global operations, working closely with the travel and tourism industry, universities, overseas recruitment agencies, and government agencies, have given me unique insights into the benefits and challenges of AI in recruitment.

The Benefits of AI in Recruitment

  1. Efficiency and Cost Savings:
    • AI can automate repetitive tasks such as resume screening, candidate evaluations, and even first interviews. According to a study by Deloitte, AI can save recruiters up to 23 hours per hire on screening resumes and conducting interviews. This automation can save recruiters considerable time and resources, allowing them to focus on more strategic aspects of hiring. Hilton Worldwide, for instance, reported a 75% reduction in time-to-hire by implementing AI-driven recruitment solutions.
    • With AI taking over the grunt work, recruiters can now spend more time building relationships with candidates. Isn’t that what hiring should be about – connecting with people?
  2. Improved Candidate Selection:
    • AI can enhance the selection process by extracting and evaluating resumes based on specific skills and experiences relevant to the job. This targeted approach can improve the quality of hires by focusing on the most qualified candidates. IBM’s Watson Recruitment, for example, has been shown to significantly improve the accuracy of finding qualified candidates, as proven by case studies showing increased progression to interviews and successful candidate predictions.
    • Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of resumes? AI can help you sift through the noise to find the gems.
  3. Reduction of Human Bias:
    • One of the most significant advantages of AI is its potential to reduce human bias in recruitment. By relying solely on data, AI can cut unintentional prejudices that might influence human recruiters, thereby promoting fairness in the selection process. A Harvard Business Review study found that AI can be designed to reduce bias in hiring by focusing on objective criteria and avoiding human biases.
    • AI can be designed to reduce bias in hiring by focusing on objective criteria and avoiding human biases.

The Drawbacks and Legal Concerns

  1. Algorithmic Bias:
    • Despite its potential to reduce human bias, AI is not immune to biases. These biases often stem from the training data used, which may overrepresent or underrepresent certain groups. Such biases can result in unfair outcomes, disqualifying potentially excellent candidates. While AI aims to drop human bias, it can sometimes inadvertently mirror existing inequalities. For example, Amazon reportedly scrapped an AI recruiting tool that demonstrated bias against women due to being trained on historical data dominated by male resumes.
    • Have you ever wondered if the technology you rely on might be inadvertently perpetuating biases?
  2. Overlooked Candidates:
    • AI may overlook qualified candidates due to its inability to reason like humans. Candidates with unique qualifications or those who use non-standard language in their resumes might be disregarded, leading to missed opportunities for both the candidate and the employer. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that some recruiters using AI have reported challenges with AI tools overlooking qualified candidates due to algorithmic limitations.
    • Could a star candidate be slipping through the cracks because of AI’s limitations?
  3. Legal Compliance Issues:
    • Companies using AI in recruitment must navigate complex legal landscapes to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy, military service, and genetic information.
    • State and local governments have enacted specific regulations governing AI usage in employment, such as Illinois’ Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act and New York City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools Law.
    • Are you confident that your AI tools are compliant with the latest laws and regulations?
  4. Impact on Individuals with Disabilities:
    • The use of AI in recruitment must also follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). AI tools that inadvertently screen out individuals with disabilities who can perform the job with reasonable accommodations risk violating the ADA. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance on how AI applications can violate the ADA and Title VII, outlining practices for employers to prevent discriminatory impacts.
    • Employers are responsible for ensuring that their algorithmic tools comply with ADA requirements, even if these tools are developed or administered by third-party vendors. Reasonable accommodation must be provided to ensure fair assessment for all candidates.
    • How inclusive are your AI hiring practices when it comes to candidates with disabilities?

Specific Challenges in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry

The tourism and hospitality industry uniquely relies on a diverse workforce with a wide range of soft skills, cultural sensitivity, and language ability. These attributes are critical for providing excellent customer service and ensuring a welcoming environment for guests from all over the world. However, AI’s ability to assess these qualities can be limited.

  1. Assessing Soft Skills:
    • Soft skills such as communication, empathy, and problem-solving are essential in hospitality roles but are challenging for AI to evaluate accurately. While AI can analyze certain aspects like language use and social cues from video interviews, it may miss the nuanced human interactions that show these skills effectively.
    • Can AI utterly understand the warmth and individualized touch a candidate might bring to customer interaction?
  1. Cultural Sensitivity and Language Proficiency:
    • Cultural sensitivity and multilingualism are often key requirements in hospitality. AI can evaluate language ability to some extent, but it may struggle with understanding context, idiomatic expressions, and the subtle differences in language use that are crucial for effective communication.
    • Moreover, AI systems trained on culturally homogenous data sets may not effectively assess a candidate’s ability to navigate and respect diverse cultural norms and practices.
  • How well can AI recognize and appreciate cultural nuances? Is AI equipped to accurately gauge a candidate’s ability to communicate fluently in multiple languages?

Strategies for Mitigating Legal Risks

To mitigate the risks associated with AI in recruitment, companies should adopt several strategies:

  1. Vendor Due Diligence:
    • Conduct thorough due diligence when selecting AI vendors. Ensure that the vendors know and follow relevant anti-discrimination laws and guidelines.
    • Have you asked your AI vendor the tough questions about bias and compliance?
  2. Bias-Mitigating Techniques:
    • Implement techniques to detect and mitigate biases in AI algorithms. (“Best Practices for Fair and Transparent AI Solutions – LinkedIn”) Regular audits and adjustments can help address unintended biases and improve the fairness of AI tools.
    • When was the last time you audited your AI tools for bias?
  3. Education and Training:
    • Proactively educate HR and IT teams about the potential for AI discrimination and the legal requirements surrounding its use. Ongoing training can help teams stay informed about the latest legal developments and best practices.
    • Are your teams equipped to manage the complexities of AI in recruitment?
  4. Internal Documentation:
    • Maintain detailed internal documentation of AI tool usage, decision-making processes, and compliance efforts. This documentation can be crucial in defending against potential legal challenges.
    • Is your documentation robust enough to protect you in a legal challenge?

Real-Life Case Study: AI in Action at USEH International

At USEH International, where we specialize in screening applicants for the travel and hospitality industry, we are currently developing an app that uses AI to enhance our recruitment processes. This app aims to automate and streamline tasks such as resume screening and candidate evaluations while considering the potential legal and ethical implications of AI.

As we design and implement this app, we are paying close attention to the issues of algorithmic bias and legal compliance. Our team is actively working on integrating bias-mitigating techniques and ensuring that our AI tools follow relevant anti-discrimination laws, including the ADA. We are also committed to providing training for our HR and IT teams to oversee the complexities of AI in recruitment effectively.

We are actively developing AI capabilities to better assess soft skills, cultural sensitivity, and language ability, recognizing their critical importance in the hospitality sector.


The use of AI in recruitment offers significant benefits, including increased efficiency, cost savings, and reduced human bias. However, it also presents serious legal and ethical challenges that companies must address to avoid discrimination and ensure compliance with laws. For the tourism and hospitality industry, which relies heavily on a diverse and skilled workforce, understanding and navigating these challenges is crucial. By implementing strategies to mitigate legal risks and embracing the advantages of AI, companies can harness its full potential while promoting fair and inclusive hiring practices.


Burcin Turkkan, M.B.A., CHE  



Recruitment Hiring Employment Human Resources Concept

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