Part 2 – Avoiding Pitfalls of Using AI Recruiting Platforms | mOp-Ed

By Mark Oppenheim

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Part 1 describes the pitfalls of over-reliance on AI and algorithmically driven recruiting platforms.; Part 2 of this series describes how candidates and nonprofits can leverage recruiting social media platforms despite their shortcomings.


Why Platform Distrust is Justified

Having myself run projects to develop the architecture, data models, personalization features and transaction infrastructure of early social media systems, I’ve got a healthy distrust of social media and algorithmically driven recruiting platforms. My distrust centers on a social media revenue model that conflicts with the recruiting interests of users.

Social media systems drive and monetize user interactions. Truth and efficiency are not the objective. These platforms hide the fact that user data is sold on the open market, and that access to a user’s gaze is manipulated and prioritized for a price. Yet recruiting platforms are everywhere, and have become a central component for how people connect.

Despite the manipulation and flaws described in Part 1 of this article, m/Oppenheim as a recruiting firm does itself use these platforms in limited ways by following four rules.  These rules enable us to derive some benefits from these resources while minimizing harm to searches that are inherent in AI and algorithmically driven recruiting platforms.

RULE 1: We are mindful that a) items displayed by these platforms, b) content that seems to be created by users, and c) what we are prompted to view is all manipulated by AI and algorithm to fulfill platform interests.

Don’t trust that you are seeing all options – you are not. You are not seeing all candidates, and you are not seeing all jobs for which you are qualified. You are not seeing the best jobs for you or the best candidates for your company. You are not necessarily seeing truth. You are not seeing complete or even the most useful information. What you are seeing is whatever advances the interests of the platform as determined by the platform’s algorithms. Moreover, the highest bidder is buying the platform’s ability to show you what that bidder and the platform want you to see.

It doesn’t mean what you are seeing is completely misaligned to your purpose as a user, just that what you see is more aligned to the platform’s purpose than it is to yours. Currently the platforms do not seem to purposefully expose users to untrue or purposefully skewed information … although like other platforms they could subtly do so if a financial purpose is served. Other social media companies like Twitter/X and Facebook are reported to have algorithms that reward misinformation that drives traffic. Recruiting platforms do not generally advantage misinformation, because doing so doesn’t fit into their business model.  They certainly do advantage particular information streams for the sake of their own profitability.

RULE 2: Recruiting platforms provide certain kinds of reference information that MIGHT be accurate and MIGHT be useful. Emphasis is on MIGHT.

Information that MIGHT be accurate and useful include:

  • Location of a person or workplace;
  • For candidates, basic information on career segments such as dates of employment, employing company or organization, titles for positions held, some information on job responsibilities;
  • For jobs, basic information on job title and responsibilities;
  • Educational credentials, degrees, licenses and certain technical competencies – information on competencies tends to be more usable for certain professions (eg. software developers describing the development platforms they use).

Note that it’s really easy to fabricate all of the above. You can literally create a completely fabricated profile right now. Go ahead! Some users will create multiple profiles and expose different and incomplete sides of their experiences or of particular jobs on offer. Some profiles are set up to fabricate an identity and invite connection for nefarious purposes. And even when the information is accurate, it’s rarely as useful as it seems. Having a conveniently searchable title isn’t the same as having a relevant track record.

To help both candidates and orgs using these platforms, we also advise eliminating adjectives in both posted resumes and job descriptions where possible. Almost every candidate and every job will, at some point, mention certain words and phrases like “strategy” or “strategic.” Everyone is a “great communicator.” Everyone is “visionary,” and every job requires a “visionary leader.” I’ve yet to meet a leader who isn’t described as “imaginative,” “entrepreneurial,” or “experienced.” Great candidate credentials and great positions are signified by facts and metrics, not by over use of adjective to the point of cliché.

RULE 3: Use candidate interviews to unpack the candidate’s detailed knowledge of workflows, metrics, operating context and accomplishments relevant to your org.  

In environments where one could mostly trust that resumes were actually constructed by candidates, interviews of the past had a somewhat different purpose and could focus more on style and charismatic communication. Today’s resumes are so often shaped and then selected by algorithm and AI, that it’s not a sure thing that candidate materials reflect their own knowledge. Interviews and deep dive analysis of candidate claims must be far more rigorous in today’s recruiting environment.

We’re not talking about a one-and-done interview session conducted by a smart HR person.  Interviewers need to understand and be able to trace in detail the workflows used by candidates to achieve outcomes claimed on resumes.  Recruiters need to understand metrics and systems used within a practical operating context. Interviews are not just about verifying information.  The interviewer must seek gaps and probe for attributes, weaknesses and fit issues.

It is doubly important that this generation of recruiters gather intelligence on candidates from trusted sources outside of the ecosystem of a particular platform.  Recruiting platforms verify little, so recruiters must check and verify claims through neutral third party observers. Doing this is well worth the investment of time and expertise, and it reduces risk to organizations.

RULE 4: Recruiting platforms are not the best way to communicate with potential candidates.

While m/Oppenheim will sometimes use recruiting platforms to communicate with the very few folks we have difficulty reaching, we do so only as a last resort. Heavy use of platforms as a communication intermediary, along with the convenience of just waiting for a response, tilts candidate pools toward favoring those investing most time engaging with a particular platform. Those people are not necessarily the most accomplished leaders.  Accomplished leaders tend to invest their time in other ways.

We target people who invest their time in delivering outcomes for their orgs.  Mostly we collecting intel from those in the know.  We source people in the know by phone.  We ask questions and delve deeply into detail.  We certainly don’t just focus on those who are easiest to engage. Better results for orgs prove out the effort, and justify the investment.


We view each recruiting platform as just one of many indexes of people.  Each such index is incomplete, often inaccurate, and shaped by that platform’s interests.  Such indexes are useful but limited tools.

We keep in mind that resumes are increasingly shaped by algorithm or created through AI.  The resume isn’t the actual candidate and profiles can contain false, misleading or incomplete information.  There is simply no short cut to performing a deep dive analysis into a candidate’s ability to deliver future outcomes within your organization’s operating context.

m/Oppenheim’s mission isn’t to be a profitable extension of one or more recruiting platforms.  Our mission is to identify great leadership options for nonprofits and their Boards.  We continue combining cutting edge and rigorous person-to-person toolsets, we remain updated on nonprofit practice, and we help clients use our rigorous search approach to explore leaders and strategies that deliver stronger nonprofit organizations.

mOp-Ed, Recruiting, Technology