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Editorial Team
10 Jan 2020



AI enables HR to accelerate the recruitment process

Artificial intelligence is making inroads into recruitment faster than you could imagine! Recruiters and candidates alike need to prepare themselves for what lies ahead

Imagine yourself as a recruiter, with a super-reliable agent – let us call him Man Friday (like the fable) – by your side. Friday helps you in doing a lot of things without nary a hiccup, such as:

  • Screens resume with zero bias
  • Identifies the best candidates in record-making time
  • Schedules interviews without a fuss

Friday is the assistant I need now!

Before you get all excited, Friday is no human – Friday is Artificial Intelligence (AI), the manifestation of the future where AI makes our lives easier and better.

But what if AI does not stay your assistant for too long, and instead becomes your replacement? Is this a possible scenario? There must be something that can be done to make technology work to our advantage and to embrace a future with AI.

Is AI all that powerful?

Of course… but there is a significant rider. AI is very powerful, but as of now, it is potentially very powerful. Machines so far cannot, on their own, understand speech, learn and plan, and solve problems. According to Matt Alder, a British HR thought leader, “We’ve got algorithms to match the right people to the right jobs; we’ve got some aspect of machine learning and forecasting, and we’ve also got elements of smart automation creeping in.”

Can AI really improve recruitment?

Yes, and it is already at work. You will increasingly see recruiters using AI for the first round of shortlisting applications, determining whether the opening is even shown to you! AI tools are often trained on data collected about previous applicants and can reduce the effort recruiters expend to complete the hiring. In fact, last year, LinkedIn surveyed hiring managers and recruiters, of whom 67% said AI was saving them time. Also, 76% of recruiters believed that AI would have at least a somewhat significant impact on recruitment.

For instance, several AI-based interview platforms are currently at work. These use parameters such as sentiment analysis, facial recognition, natural language processing, machine learning and speech recognition. Deep learning delivers a human-like conversation to the candidate, clearly understanding context, multi-part statements, changed answers, or interjections, with the capability to change the direction of the conversation accordingly.

What are the steps involved in AI-based recruitment?

The steps are similar to regular recruitment, but there is a boost in AI power at each stage. A typical recruitment process involving AI looks like the following:

  • Automated CV parsing i.e. resume shortlisting
  • Chatbot screening: chatbots answer initial candidate questions and provide immediate feedback
  • Video interviews: facial features, moods, expressions, and intonations of the interviewees are analyzed by AI to select the most suitable candidates. Human recruiters receive the best matches, along with the AI’s own notes on individual candidates.

It looks like AI is quite helpful for recruiters!

It sure is! AI-based recruitment is advantageous in the following ways:

  • More candidates evaluated in lesser time
  • Access to talent from across the globe
  • A deeper, more thorough analysis
  • Determining if a particular personality will fit the job
  • Preventing biases that can impact the fairness of the recruitment process
  • A more ethnically-diverse talent group employed at the company
  • Reduced need for recruiters to respond to emails and phone calls from candidates

Why should candidates care for AI in recruitment?

Because they too stand to gain! AI helps candidates too, in the following ways:

  • Quicker answers, responses, and information increasing the enthusiasm to work with the company or leaving candidates with an appreciation for the professionalism of the process
  • The chance to express themselves more clearly, particularly in AI video interviews
  • Shortlisting and interviews that can be conducted anytime and anywhere
  • Flexibility to participate through a desktop PC, a laptop PC, or even a mobile phone
  • The chance to practice sample questions before the actual AI interview
  • Selection from lesser-known colleges, in addition to those in the top tier. For instance, when Unilever built AI into the pre-hiring stage, there was a jump from 840 to 2,600 universities represented

So let us get AI into recruitment now!

Hold on, for all is not quite hunky-dory. There are some limitations that need to be taken account of. Read on below:

  • Candidates can become excessively self-conscious – to their detriment – due to the perceived accuracy of AI interviews
  • Different individuals react differently to certain setbacks in their lives, and they can explain their dispositions to the interviewers in live interviews, not in AI interviews
  • Physical scarring can affect facial expressions, which an AI interviewing system may not account for
  • A lot of data is needed for the AI to learn how to screen resumes as accurately as a human recruiter
  • AI is trained to find patterns in previous behavior, which also means it can learn human biases that may already be in the recruitment process

What is the future, then?

According to Michael Haberman, an HR consultant, “Augmented Intelligence, rather than totally replacing people at work will be used to make them more effective. I think this may be the best use of AI for HR.”

The idea, going ahead, needs to be to look at AI not as a replacement but as an augmentation to human aptitude and efficiency. Organizations may soon need to rebuild their recruitment processes, rendering some positions as redundant or hiring based on different specialties and skillsets. Recruiters will need to evaluate which of their skills is more likely to remain valuable, and these are likely to be about relationship-building and persuasion.

AI in recruitment is not to be feared, but to be welcomed. All we need to do is to stay aware of the possible changes, and hone our skills accordingly!

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