Artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting every industry, and recruitment is no exception.
Keen to make the most of AI’s offering, recruiters are drawn to the promise of cheaper, quicker, and more efficient ways to connect people to jobs. At a time when so many companies are facing talent shortages, a more efficient job market obviously sounds rather appealing.
However, is removing humans from the recruitment decision-making process the right thing to do?
It would certainly speed up the process of booking a contractor. But in an industry where human interaction is key, how much does a contractor, recruiter or employer want a machine dictating what they should or shouldn’t be doing?
Clearly, there are a number of benefits AI tools can bring to the industry. Administrative tasks such as reviewing applications, shortlisting candidates, scheduling interviews and sending reminders are time consuming. Automating these tasks saves time, making the hiring process more convenient for everyone.
Plus, the less time HR professionals spend carrying out routine and administrative tasks, the more time they have to focus on more productive and strategic work that relies on an interpersonal approach.
Beyond automation, big data can also be leveraged to track the disposition of employees. So-called ‘moodometers’ can be used to identify disgruntled staff and prompt necessary changes to help boost workplace retention.
Of course, the use of algorithms in recruitment is still in its infancy and there have already been high-profile instances of the tech not getting it right. Last year, Amazon reportedly abandoned its AI-driven online recruitment tools after they were found to be sexist.
The problem was that AI is designed to analyse patterns – even the ones you’d rather avoid. In this case, the system taught itself that male candidates were more suited to roles than female candidates.
Amazon’s trial highlighted why algorithmic fairness is so important. There is huge potential in machine learning, but there are some decisions these systems cannot yet make on their own.
This isn’t the only challenge businesses face when using AI for recruitment. The majority of AI-based tools are on a data learning curve, meaning that accuracy and reliability are not yet guaranteed.
This is seen in some candidate screening systems which disregard some applications based on writing format. Meanwhile, candidates who understand how an application tracking system works could ‘play the system’, including certain keywords the system is looking for so they appear more suited to a particular role.
As the recruitment industry moves towards a more AI-driven future, it’s important to remember the difference between machines helping the decision-making process and machines making those decisions for us. HR professionals need to recognise when it is appropriate to use one rather than the other and remember the hiring process needs a subjective human input to be successful.
Although AI in recruitment is here to stay, for now it’s OK for hiring managers to be (a little) sceptical about using too many AI tools in the recruitment function. The truth is that these tools open up new opportunities, but will have to work alongside human recruitment consultants to fully realise their potential.
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