Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast emerging as a useful business solution across almost all industry sectors.
But what does this mean for recruitment? As it turns out, a great deal. HR specialists, recruiters and hiring managers are likely to see these developments directly affecting their day to day roles over the next few years.
Terms like & “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning” are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences. AI is the notion of machines carrying out tasks in a way we would consider “smart” but as AI takes data and uses it to inform decisions, Machine Learning takes it to a whole new level.
Therefore, the most exciting new developments are focused around machine learning. That is, software designed to read and interpret past data (and the decisions made around it) and to use that knowledge to make or shape decisions for the future.
How does this apply to recruitment? There is a huge amount to consider, when investigating the potential of AI in recruitment (for example video interview platforms that can automatically assess voice quality, energy levels and body language as well as the answers given to tricky questions) but, as it stands currently AI is successfully being used in the following ways:
With the development of software that scans the internet for online profiles we are seeing AI increasingly being used in the sourcing of applicants. The AI tools read and interpret an individual’s profile information and identify matches against job descriptions.
Software can also review “active” information such as job boards, and can now even look at “passive” information such as LinkedIn pages, Facebook and twitter feeds, about.me profiles, blogs and personal websites. This information helps to build a comprehensive profile of a potential candidate even if they are not actively looking for a new role.
Ayra is one of these tools – the software is used to scan the internet for potential candidates. As well as identifying the candidate, Arya will source their contact info, and provide an accessible breakdown of their skills and experience.
Any HR professional or recruiter will know that screening candidates can be incredibly time consuming, and other factors such as human error or bias can also come into play – sometimes resulting in strong candidates being missed.
Chatbots or automated assistants can take a shortlist of candidates and carry out the initial stages of an interview (for example gathering information on key skills, right to work information and interview availability)
Many larger companies have started using a version of this type of technology already and reported positive feedback from both recruiters and candidates.
What are the risks?
Like with any new technology, AI solutions do come with risks. One thing to consider is that when an AI bot uses data to learn, it will only learn based on what data it receives. So, the way the technology behaves is influenced, depends on the users it encounters. This was proven in 2016 with the AI twitter bot “Tay” - interactions with other Twitter users caused the bot to start producing racist and sexually charged tweets, leading to it being suspended.
Although “Tay” was just an experiment, it also provides a valuable lesson in the potential pitfalls of machine learning bots and the importance of monitoring the information that is fed to them.
Although intended to save time, AI requires some initial investment, and many HR professionals or recruiters could find themselves spending as much time or even more on monitoring and maintaining the technology than doing the job themselves. This shows that we have a long way to go before AI can completely replace human recruiters and whilst using AI tools can make life easier for professionals, we are still at a stage where the human touch is still relevant at parts of the process.
Introducing AI software into the recruitment process will often depend on the maturity of a business’s current recruitment process and the company size.
If a company already has a large in-house recruitment team or agency, then integrating a machine learning tool can be of huge benefit if used correctly. Smaller teams may find introducing this kind of technology costly and time consuming if the HR or recruitment team is small.
Many businesses currently outsource their recruitment and it could be tempting to bring the function back in-house using AI technology – but as yet the tools are not advance enough and even as they develop, will need a great deal of attention and maintenance.
Simon Wood from ClearHub, which specialises in supplying hand-picked, vetted and technically tested Jira, Confluence and DevOps contractors, said: “AI developments do present an exciting basis for the future of recruitment. However at the moment, the tools available currently are really best for making certain elements of the process easier, and not taking over the entire function.”
“If businesses do choose to use AI technology, they must ensure that the software is monitored and maintained as machine learning ‘gone wrong’ can be quite widespread and potentially damaging consequences for your brand.”
Written by Simon Wood from Clearhub