Can Recruitment Learn from the A-Level Algorithm fiasco?


By Mel Day, CEO

Mel Day, CEO

If you’re unfortunate enough to read lots about the science behind recruitment – and indeed the future of recruitment – as sadly we at Marketing Moves regularly do, you’ll know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruitment is the next big thing.

By way of example, AI recruitment software company HireView raised $25million USD way back in October 2013. 

What is Recruitment AI?

For the uninitiated, AI in the recruitment process is the use of algorithms to select the best candidates for the job. And a bit like Daniel Craig’s response “or not pulled” with Q in Skyfall, a recruitment algorithm is more importantly in charge of who not to select – which will often account for over 99% of all applicants.

Marketing Moves wrote two articles about it at the start of the year:

Will AI and VR make interviews fairer? Or more like something out of 1984?

Future Recruitment Technology: A cautionary tale of tech in the hiring process

A Level Playing Field

So it was with great interest that I watched the events surrounding the A-Level fiasco unfold, whereby an algorithm was used to create a grade for each pupil. The algorithm had just three data sets: 

  • The student’s estimated grade (from the mock exam)
  • A ranking compared with every other pupil at the school within that same estimated grade
  • The school’s performances in each subject over the previous three years

Compared to the thousands of inputs from a candidate’s social media profile or CV, you would think that just three inputs left little room for error. 

But no, when the grades were announced, 36% were a grade lower than the teachers’ prediction, and 3% were two grades lower – affecting 38,000 pupils. Following the uproar that ensued, the government announced that grades would be based on the teachers’ original estimates after all. 

Recruitment needs the human touch

All this goes to show that even with as much AI as you could possibly want or need at your disposal, we still need the human touch when evaluating people – and the same is exactly true in recruitment as it is A Level marking. 

That’s why at Marketing Moves, you can rest assured that every application is read by an actual human being, using years of experience to make that hiring call.

If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, or looking for the next piece in your marketing department jigsaw, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Melvin Day
Mel Day, CEO

To discuss in confidence how Marketing Moves can support your organisation’s growth, please contact Melvin by any of the means below.

+44 (0) 20 3911 6757
+44 (0) 7967 678 002

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top