Is It the Apocalypse for HR & Recruitment?

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) often paints a disturbing picture. We visualise robots, invading workplaces and pushing us out. If you work in HR or the recruitment industry, you can't ignore the use of AI creeping into the function. But, is this the beginning of the end for us?

Look at the positives

Before we decide whether to arm ourselves to fight the robots, or run for the hills, let's look at what they can do for us. AI can find active candidates for you by sending a relevant and targeted communication based on people's searches, interests and preferences. To some degree, AI can also target passive candidates by screening social media profiles to analyse information to predict when someone may be considering leaving a job. For us humans to do that would take a lot of effort and time, it would make life easier if machines could do this for us.

The power and speed of technology are incomparable to that of humans. It can screen a mountain of CVs before you've had the chance to skim read one. Using data and facts, it can filter the candidates that don't possess the expertise and skills you require. An advantage of this is it can reduce the risk of unconscious bias by focusing only on the facts that present themselves.

Can a robot analyse personality?

Technology has advanced to enable interviewing software, analysing the candidate's responses. But, can a robot examine an interview? HireVue is one example, using AI to interpret facial movement tone and word choice, and a ranking algorithm to inform recruiters of the best candidates. A useful tool for first-round interviews, but would we trust AI to make a final decision? Would this disadvantage candidates who find it unnatural to sit in front of a screen, and skew the result. On the other hand, it may make candidates feel less nervous and take away the anxiety attached to interviews, which can also impact performance.

When we interview, we don't just look at the facts, otherwise what would be the point of an interview? Our emotions and gut feelings come into play. These help us to judge whether the candidate would be a good cultural fit for the business. Robots do not have emotions, personalities or the ability to make judgements. A candidate which looks great on paper, might not be the right fit for the business, will AI be able to identify this? An algorithm can't replace a gut feeling.

The candidate experience

Working in HR and recruitment is demanding. HR professionals and Recruiters are often working on many roles at one time and have deadlines and pressure shooting at them from all directions. As a result, many touch points with potential candidates are missed. The processing time can be extended, and candidates can be left feeling frustrated by this. AI can speed this up by automating meeting schedules and sending updates. This can keep candidates engaged and speed up the entire journey from application to hire, if implemented carefully.

There is the danger that too much automation can isolate candidates and make, what is often a very personal decision and journey, seem impersonal. We can all identify with the frustration of calling a call centre and finding it impossible to speak to a human. If this happens, candidates may feel like a number and form an unfavourable opinion of the business, questioning if the company cares when there is no personal touch.

AI technology is progressing daily. We can't fight it, but why should we? It's up to us how we set up and use the technology that is available. AI should be embraced to strengthen and empower HR and Recruiters. The tasks that AI will automate are time consuming and mundane. Our time will be free to focus on the strategy and planning side of recruitment, making the whole function stronger. Robots can support us instead of replacing us, for now.

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