AI meets HR: the reinvention of the human recruiter

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From asking Alexa for an update on the weather to choosing a playlist for your morning run based on Spotify’s latest recommendations, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a vital component in our day-to-day lives.

As AI continues to transform our personal lives, we can expect to see an increase in the adoption and integration of this emerging technology into the office – with talent acquisition professionals at the forefront of this change.

So much so, our latest global survey on the future of recruiting found that many companies have already welcomed AI and big data into their hiring processes. The majority (63 per cent) of talent acquisition professional stated AI has changed the way recruiting is done in their organisation.

Providing higher-value services to hiring managers, creating a better candidate experience, as well as helping organisations build a best-in-class workforce, AI has presented recruitment professionals with a unique opportunity. 

But one questions remains, what impact will AI have on the current role of the recruiter?

With AI picking up most of the cumbersome work, recruiters’ time will be freed up to focus on the more meaningful work associated with their roles. But that means they will need to capitalise on this by looking at developing and fostering skills which technology cannot match. 

Pinpointing the right talent

Marrying AI's unparalleled capacity to analyse vast swathes of data with human intuition and creativity can make recruiting the right candidates a far easier task.

From freeing up time for strategic thought and relationship-building to helping talent acquisition professionals better understand their markets, the clever use of technology provides an exciting path for the recruiter of the future.

Whilst AI solutions may not yet be capable of acting as general all-purpose assistants, it is proving invaluable when focused on specific and easily definable tasks, which often includes many of the cumbersome tasks in recruiting.

Sourcing suitable candidates, for example, requires an AI that can analyse a vast expanse of websites, social channels and digital job-boards and qualify the available data on a candidate against the job criteria. 

And the proof is in the pudding. Almost 7-in-10 (69 per cent) of talent acquisition professionals find that AI as a sourcing tool garners higher-quality candidates.

Other time-consuming tasks such as scheduling interviews and implementing assessments can also be handed over to AI tools, freeing up professionals time to qualify candidates more thoroughly and take a more personal approach with applicants.

But what effect do these developments have on candidates? Well, if deployed effectively, they can make job hunting both easier and fairer by making it far more meritocratic – eliminating unconscious bias makes way for a more diverse and inclusive process.

While this is dependent on the data set and how it is used, if correctly calibrated, machine learning can be gender, ethnicity, and class blind. This opens the door to talent that might never have been considered previously – creating a level playing field for applicants and giving businesses a higher chance of selecting the right talent equipped for the job.

Moreover, the clever use of technology can make the candidate experience far smoother, with automated communications and scheduling taking much of the painful administrative tasks out of the job-hunting process.

With the power of AI, candidates no longer need to do all the work, there is now a much greater chance that employers will find passive candidates, previously an exercise that relied on the ‘post-and-pray’ approach to sourcing and a candidate spotting the opportunity.

The changing role of the recruiter

By automating administrative and process-orientated tasks, one thing is clear: technology is enabling recruiters and HR professionals to spend more time using their creativity, judgement, and analytical skills to identify the right candidates. And in many cases technology is actually augmenting these very human capabilities, often by uncovering previously hidden or unavailable data.

In fact, 64 per cent of talent acquisition professionals said AI and big data has changed how their organisations recruit, with a further 87 per cent saying they are “excited” by the prospect of working more closely with AI.

As emerging technologies such as these continue their proliferation, top recruitment partners will be able to streamline their services into one single sign on platform, encompassing virtually all aspects of recruiting including sourcing, assessment, scheduling, creating accurate compensation models and following up with candidates for future opportunities.

However, because we’re living in a digital revolution as significant as the industrial revolution, we’re seeing business models, industries and working practices transform, with jobs that didn’t exist a few years ago being created.

So where do humans fit in? 

Despite a very controversial news agenda, fear not: emerging technologies such as AI and big data will not replace the recruiter. Rather, it will re-invent what it means to be one.

The availability of AI technologies demands that recruiters expand their skill sets, engage in more collaborative relationships with hiring managers and provide strategic guidance on talent management in concert with their client’s business strategies.

For instance, a recruiter whose primary skill set is identifying good candidates on the internet will find their value diminishing over time as AI systems essentially take over that function. In place of that skill, the recruiter will need to become an expert in AI technology outputs in order to provide clients with deeper and more impactful data analytics that will help them make better talent decisions.

A partnership that works

Talent quality is becoming an increasingly important competitive differentiator in the business world. By harnessing the best available technology tools, recruiters can help their clients to develop a smart and effective talent strategy and build a workforce for long-term success.

But, it will be down to HR professionals to adapt fast and learn how these technologies can help them quickly and effectively source higher-quality candidates.

After all, it’s not a question of if AI will change the role of the recruiter; it’s a question of how. As many of the mundane tasks become increasingly automated and streamlined, recruiters will need to become more strategic in how they engage and connect with candidates.

Indeed, businesses that are quick to invest in AI and big data can expect to see higher quality of hire and lower turnover rates.

Jan Mueller, Global Vice President, Marquee Accounts & Managing Director, EMEA Solutions, Futurestep
Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock