Grounding AI in Reality: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Recruiting
By David Sokolow, Founder and CEO of WeFind
February 9, 2017
It’s difficult to write about artificial intelligence (AI) without getting caught in a sea of buzzwords. Machine learning. Natural language processing. Deep learning. Neural networks. We could go on for a while...
There is a tidal wave of tech hype around the topic, and in this environment it’s hard to assess what’s actually having an impact versus what’s just clever marketing.
The reality is, when it comes to AI’s impact on recruiting, the same core things matter that have always mattered: are you hiring the right people to help your company grow?
AI’s impact on recruiting will be measured by how well it helps companies answer this question. If tech companies and HR organizations prove that AI can effectively connect companies with better people, then it will be transformational. If not, it won’t.
The barriers to artificial intelligence in the recruiting space
When it comes to managing and hiring people, it’s challenging to jump head first into any new technology. Other industries such as transportation are being transformed by AI, why not recruiting?
The reason is simple: People
You can use facial recognition software to evaluate potential hires in a video interview, but do I need to tell the candidate about this? You could use NLP to monitor sentiment of a candidate’s past performance reviews, but am I legally allowed to do this?
Large amounts of data are a key ingredient to making AI successful, and in people management data on individuals is highly sensitive and protected. The social, legal, and moral implications of leveraging AI to improve recruiting are large, and every AI product has to account for this in development.
The short term impact of AI: Recruiter turned marketer
The first space where AI is already having an impact is talent evaluation. Emerging tech companies, including WeFind, leverage AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing to provide better talent recommendations to recruiters. We’re able to mine large amounts of data to provide insightful recommendations to companies, and our models get smarter over time as we get more and more feedback from recruiters and hiring managers.
These recommendations save recruiter time from combing through a mountain of resumes, and they ultimately provide candidates a better experience by ensuring they are only connected with relevant opportunities.
As talent evaluation becomes driven more by technology, a recruiter’s job will shift closer to that of a marketer. Instead of spending time evaluating a candidate (or customer), recruiters can spend more time optimizing where they find top candidates and convincing that candidate to join their company. Savvy recruiters will focus on channel optimization and creative messaging to improve the candidate experience and ultimately their employer brand.
The long term impact of AI: Who you hire
The more global impact of AI on recruiting will be on who companies to choose to hire. This is happening already with startups and software engineers. In the past, software engineers used to be a must-have for all startups to get off the ground. Now, with the growth of platforms such as Shopify and Wix, many startups can launch full-scale businesses without the need to hire one engineer.
The example above is just automation of routine technology, but AI can take this a step further with many roles. Instead of hiring a secretary, what if I just used a Google Assistant. Instead of hiring a customer service representative, why not just leverage a Watson Virtual Agent. These roles are just the beginning, more sophisticated roles in accounting and legal are projected to come in the near future.
This second impact shifts recruiting beyond solely a talent acquisition function to a larger resource acquisition function. Executive leaders and talent acquisition leaders will need to think about how they solve their resource needs in flexible ways. What roles can we get by with a tech tool? What needs a freelance consultant? What needs a full-time employee?
What do you do now
AI brings to life many opportunities for large companies and startups that should be explored. The most immediate step for companies to think about is how you are leveraging the data you have access to today. Every individual you hire, every performance review you evaluate, every promotion that occurs is another data point to improve your talent lifecycle. Companies like IBM leverage this data and AI to improve retention, but the opportunities are even broader. At WeFind, we’re helping companies leverage user data to open a new talent pool for them and better inform who is a talent match for their company.
The companies that will win will be those that optimize the use of their data assets, test new technologies and measure them against how well they are helping their company grow overall. How companies find talent will be different 1 year from now and even more different 5 years from now. AI may be a central driver of this or it may not, but regardless companies should test it to find out.
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