Is there a role for AI in recruitment?

Human Resources 29th October 2019

Artificial Intelligence is surely the number one tech buzzword of the decade. Each week another story emerges about how this technology is rapidly taking over almost every single aspect of our lives. 20 years from now, will we all be sunning ourselves on the beach or standing in 5-mile dole queue? That’s not the question we’re answering in this blog. Instead, let’s look specifically at the issue of recruitment. Let’s explore the potential role of AI in recruitment and its impact on the recruitment process.

In recent years, Artificial intelligence has appeared in the form of chatbots, video interview platforms, and even smart tools for crafting recruitment ads. What benefits might these developments bring?

A streamlined process
AI might certainly save some time by streamlining your recruitment process. AI systems can be adept at gathering masses of data and analysing it. For example, chatbots can be programmed to ask candidates certain questions before the actual interview even begins. Then, unsuitable candidates can be eliminated much more quickly.

Less danger of human biases
We covered human bias in our last blog. It still plays a massive role in recruitment. All too often, the influence of personal prejudice, unconsciously or otherwise, can make it hard for the recruitment process to be entirely fair. Often, even unconsciously, some candidates are chosen over others based on their age, gender, race, appearance, rather than purely on their skills and experience. Artificial intelligence can go a long way to resolving the issue. AI doesn’t see through stereotype-stained spectacles. It analyses the competency of the candidate based only on their knowledge and skillset.

Improved Candidate Experience
Candidate experience is a crucial factor for those applying for a position in your company. How they are treated at interview has a massive bearing on how they feel about the prospect of joining your firm. Poor response times and making of arrangements can be a real turn-off.

AI technologies such as chatbots and virtual assistants can dramatically improve this aspect of the recruitment process. By giving your applicants a channel through which to interact with your company, you’ll be providing them with a smooth and easy experience.

AI gives you time and space to look after other aspects of your business
Simply, Artificial Intelligence can free you up to concentrate on vital everyday business processes.

These benefits of AI might seem, on the surface, attractive. But, as you might expect, the world of AI in recruitment isn’t all roses.

Reliant on certain keywords
AI is far too dependent on certain keywords. When it scans a pile of applications, it looks for words and phrases that help select the best candidates for the position. However, it’s easy for candidates to outsmart the system. All they have to do is to use the obvious keywords in their application and Ai will believe they’re a good fit when, in fact, they may well not be.

Underestimating the human factor
Looking at an application is rarely sufficient for deciding whether a candidate would make a good fit. Your company may be looking for specific skills or experience. An AI-powered process may well fall short in the subtleties of the search.

Think of an example from the world of translation. Say you need a document translating.  You can either do it with an automatic translator or by hiring a professional. A program may well misinterpret many phrases while an expert translator, used to working within the specific niche, will know precisely what turn of phrase is required.

Reduced Accuracy and Reliability
AI technologies are still in their early stages. There’s little immediate sign that they will soon be able to perform sufficiently accurately to replace human beings in the recruitment process. In many areas, it remains highly unreliable. There’s also the danger of inaccuracies caused by poor implementation. An AI tool is only as good as the human who implements it. Inaccurate setting up could easily result in misinterpretation of candidate applications. Talent can easily slip through the recruitment net.

Requires an Improved Skillset
Implementing AI technologies within your business requires a whole new skillset. Upgrading your people’s skills will cost time and money. This kind of major changes requires attention and resource that you may well ill-afford to spare.

Recruitment is about people
Developments in Artificial Intelligence are exciting and maybe inevitable. But there’s little sign of these new technologies taking over any time soon. All the evidence is that there may be certain improvements that AI can bring to the recruitment process.

But – and it’s a big ‘but’ – recruitment is about people. People are unique. No two individuals are the same. There are often extraordinarily subtle factors that differentiate us. It’s true that people can make mistakes in their judgements. But machines can make even bigger mistakes. The cost of such mistakes can be massive. Far better, for the foreseeable future, to leave judgements about people … to people.

Here to help
As employment specialists, we understand the ins and outs of the recruitment process. We’re here to support you in every aspect of people management.

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