AI won’t replace recruiters, but will make them more effective
Just as technology has helped improve marketing, sales and operations efficiency, HR is changing with the new technologies emerging around artificial intelligence. So will AI ever replace recruiters?
Recruitment experts such as Katrina Kibben, Managing Editor of RecruitingDaily, predict that AI will facilitate the selection, sourcing and evaluation of candidates and collaborators. But other experts, such as consultant and futurologist Michael Haberman, talk about increased intelligence, where artificial intelligence technologies will be used to improve human capabilities rather than replace everyday tasks.
We agree with the experts that say AI cannot replace professionals whose position requires social skills, empathy and negotiation techniques. I think the question we need to ask ourselves is not "Will the AI replace the recruiters?” but “How can AI help to improve the efficiency of recruiters?“ In light of this, here are three areas in which AI is already changing the role of the recruiter:
- Automate the selection of resumes
In sectors where recruiting volumes are large, such as distribution or service, most recruitment teams do not have the time to manually review all CVs received for a given position.
The automated selection of resumes accelerates the recruitment process, while promising to improve its quality, thanks to machine learning functions. In this scenario, the AI "learns" what the specific needs of a certain position are and what qualities are required to support it.
Intelligent CV selection can analyse CVs by using public data sources (e.g. previous employers, social media profiles) to determine the skills and personality of candidates. Similar to recruitment methods based on anonymous CVs, AI can eliminate unconscious biases in the CV selection process, as it will ignore the candidate's nationality, gender and age.
Automatic CV processing is now used by companies that have to hire a large amount of people. However, one of its major limitations lies in the fact that it needs enormous volumes of data to learn how to select CVs as a human would.
- Increase the candidate's commitment
The vast majority of jobseekers receive no news after sending a resume, and in a market centred on the candidate, seducing talent by improving the application process can prove useful. Artificial intelligence "chatbots" can help recruiters save time by promoting interaction with candidates in real time.
Chatbots dedicated to recruitment use natural language processing to ask questions and ask candidates about the job, learning from each interaction. The software itself improves to give answers more clearly and better evaluate the needs and desires of the candidates.
The technology could benefit any recruiter who gets too many applications to be able to interact with everyone. Of course, technology cannot yet fully imitate a human conversation. This is why in many cases the company cannot solely use AI for their recruitment.
- Use AI for online interviews
Online interviews via video conferencing are becoming more popular because of their convenience and effectiveness. They can now be improved by using AI algorithms that can analyse the choice of words, language and facial expressions of candidates in order to assess their emotions and identify their main personality traits.
This form of AI will make the recruiter more efficient by providing additional information. For instance, the AI system can report back on the candidate’s ability to adapt to the position or corporate culture. Thus, the recruiter can capitalise on more objective evaluations of the candidates before deciding whether or not to devote time to a face-to-face interview. Yet there is a clear ethical question on the usage of such technology that needs to be clarify, otherwise there is a risk of backlash. The first point to start with would be to be transparent with candidates on the usage of such technologies, and get their approval to avoid any compliance risk, and more importantly loosing their confidence in your organisation.
It is clear that AI will become a must for HR. But the "fuel" of the algorithms – the data – raises questions that no company should dismiss: What personal data of a candidate’s can the company keep? How long should it be kept? How to protect them in the long term? With the new European regulation (GDPR) coming into force in 2018, it remains for companies to prepare and develop a data governance model.
Ultimately, AI can already handle low value-added administrative tasks, such as the CV filter, but there is no indication that it will replace a recruiter capable of engaging and interviewing a candidate. One thing is certain: understanding the potential and limitations of this new technology puts us in a good position to make the most of it in order to gain efficiency, speed and agility in our daily tasks.