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How AI is transforming recruitment

By Marcus Lambert

The global challenge for HR teams is finding the right person for a variety of roles from a pile of remarkably similar applications that contain the all-too-familiar list of industry buzzwords. Meanwhile, candidates desperately try in vain to avoid becoming just another faceless name on a CV.

The current recruitment process is in desperate need of a digital upgrade.

Many believe that Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform recruitment. The reality is that this emerging technology is still in its infancy. Many new AI solutions are solely focused on the early aspect of recruiting. But it has the potential to impact recruitment far beyond the sourcing and screening of potential candidates.

Recruiter and computer unite

The winds of change have already provided a taste of what’s to come. For example, Monster’s résumé assessment tool already leverages machine learning to give candidates valuable feedback on their résumés’ content. The articles that appear on your LinkedIn newsfeed will also be determined by an algorithm rather than a human editor – making work opportunities much easier to find, assess and/or acquire.

The shortage of tech skills and the predicted 1.8 million unfilled IT jobs by 2022 will force recruiters to dramatically improve their candidate and employee experiences sooner rather than later. Textio is an excellent example of an AI-driven tool that uses NLP to enable teams to produce gender neutral and much more unique job descriptions. Elsewhere, the Google Job API powers the Johnson & Johnson career site – ensuring only relevant results are delivered to job seekers.

Eventually, we can also expect to see AI engrained in the onboarding and training aspect of employees. It’s not a case of when AI technology will begin to transform the entire recruitment process. It already is. In a digital age where data is often crudely referred to as the new oil, it could play a big part in securing your dream job.

Despite an increasing awareness around online privacy, the fact remains that many online sites such as Facebook know our likes, dislikes and search history. Although these practices are questionable, it does make it easier for recruiters to deliver highly targeted and efficient ads.

AI algorithms will eventually enable recruiters to deliver their message to the right person, on the most suitable device, at the right time and based on their online activity. The ability to find out who is browsing the company website or searching for similar positions will quickly prove to be invaluable for recruiters.

Finding the person behind the profile

Many candidates are documenting and sharing almost every aspect of their lives online. When this wealth of publicly available information is fed into AI and machine learning algorithms, recruiters can get a much clearer picture of who a candidate really is when they step away from their carefully curated profile or CV.

A candidate’s digital footprints will leave a trail straight towards their online presence, lifestyle, values and aspirations. When you add all this together, recruiters can help determine if a candidate is a good cultural fit for their client too. The best part? Much of this work will be performed automatically.

When sifting through a pile of résumés, technology is making it much easier to find the diamond in the rough. Many believe that emerging technologies are creating a “Moneyball for HR.

How AI will transform the interview process

There are already examples of AI being used as part of the interview process. Don’t be too surprised if an algorithm will determine the success of your next job interview. The rise of facial recognition software and voice pattern recognition will enable machines to explore your personality and person behind your smile – whether nervous or confident.

Your passion, sincerity, disagreement and a myriad of other personality traits will be put under the microscope to explore the characteristics of every candidate. The experience economy is already responsible for marketers changing their campaigns dynamically as a result of their customers’ emotional reactions.

It can only be a matter of time before more recruiters leverage the same technology to judge the reaction of their next candidate during the interview assessment process.

Removing bias from the employment landscape

There have been reports that AI has a problem with bias. However, the problem is not with the so-called rise of the machines. Rather, humans unwittingly add bias AI assumes as fact when making decisions.

Today’s headlines focus on how users corrupted Microsoft’s Tay chatbot or how Amazon was forced to scrap their ‘sexist AI’ tool. But it merely highlights how humans can often bring more problems than solutions to complex technologies. On the bright side, employers are already using AI to stop bias in hiring and make it easier to build a diverse workforce.

Recruiters will need to understand how machine learning works and exercise extreme caution to ensure any data they feed into the software will not inherit human bias. But the road to business transformation will inevitably require them adapt their hiring practices as well.

It’s about people, not technology

People are the most valuable asset in every business.

It’s widely believed that diversity and inclusion in your workforce is the only way for your organization to understand the diverse audience that it serves. When removing bias from recruitment, we also need to retire our fear of technology by educating ourselves around the opportunities and tangible results that AI can offer businesses.

Contrary to popular opinion, machines will not replace humans. But they will be working very closely together. The reality is that we can expect computers and recruiters to work seamlessly alongside each other to find the best person for the job.

HR teams are already embracing a variety of automation systems. Ironically, AI is making the hiring process more ‘human’ by eliminating mundane and repetitive tasks so that recruiters can focus on human relations. The result should eliminate bias, improve the candidate experience and bring back a human element to HR.

The combination of data accuracy provided by AI and human soft skills around emotions and behaviors are slowly becoming a dream team that will completely transform recruitment together.

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