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Automated Hiring at Amazon
Wicks, Andrew C.; Budd, Linnea P.; Moorthi, Ryan A.; Botha, Helet; Mead, Jenny Case E-0470 / Published February 2, 2021 / 6 pages.
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Product Overview

In this fictionalized case, the protagonist is the director of talent and recruitment at Amazon and had been in charge of developing an artificial intelligence (AI) hiring tool that could shape the future of recruiting practices throughout the world. However, she begins to question the ethical implications of this tool. While the employees hired via this AI tool were performing exceptionally well, almost all of them were male, and she wonders how the tool she had helped create led to this result. There was no way to get around the fact that the hiring tool was gender biased, and the options are limited. The company could continue to use the tool as it currently existed, undoubtedly leading to a promotion for the protagonist. Or she could insist that Amazon invest more into the research and development of the AI tool, in hopes of creating an unbiased product. However, this option would be exorbitantly expensive in terms of both time and money and would reflect poorly on her efforts to produce this tool. A third option was for Amazon to scrap the AI hiring program altogether and return to traditional methods. The use of AI and automation was controversial, so perhaps showing the public that Amazon was putting people first would improve the company’s image. The protagonist had to make a recommendation to senior management soon, and was uncertain what that should be.


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  • Overview

    In this fictionalized case, the protagonist is the director of talent and recruitment at Amazon and had been in charge of developing an artificial intelligence (AI) hiring tool that could shape the future of recruiting practices throughout the world. However, she begins to question the ethical implications of this tool. While the employees hired via this AI tool were performing exceptionally well, almost all of them were male, and she wonders how the tool she had helped create led to this result. There was no way to get around the fact that the hiring tool was gender biased, and the options are limited. The company could continue to use the tool as it currently existed, undoubtedly leading to a promotion for the protagonist. Or she could insist that Amazon invest more into the research and development of the AI tool, in hopes of creating an unbiased product. However, this option would be exorbitantly expensive in terms of both time and money and would reflect poorly on her efforts to produce this tool. A third option was for Amazon to scrap the AI hiring program altogether and return to traditional methods. The use of AI and automation was controversial, so perhaps showing the public that Amazon was putting people first would improve the company’s image. The protagonist had to make a recommendation to senior management soon, and was uncertain what that should be.

  • Learning Objectives