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The rise of AI-driven hiring: How robots can help overcome our labour market challenges

(Image credit: Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock)

The internet and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have started to fundamentally change all aspects of our personal and professional lives - and we’re only scratching the surface.

The UK government recently published a major review of the UK’s AI industry to better understand the scale of the future possibilities. The report, Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry, looked at how AI can bring major social and economic benefits – from improving healthcare to boosting productivity – and predicted it could unlock £630 billion for the economy.


When it comes to hiring, AI holds huge potential to transform the way people search for jobs and how organisations hire. 

Historically the odds have been stacked against matching people with the best fit jobs for them.  Unequal access to job information, human biases, pressures for immediate income (or the need to fill a job) and the inefficiency of old processes are a few of the hundreds of reasons why most people are probably in the wrong job. These are complex challenges to solve.

The first wave of digital revolution removed some of these barriers by giving job seekers unprecedented access to the vast number of roles open at any one time. Aggregating all the jobs for use with an easy to use search engine has changed the way information is disseminated and gone a long way toward democratising access to jobs. 

However, with millions of jobs online finding the best fit job without AI is like finding a needle in a haystack.

At a time when Britain faces chronic skills shortages and stagnant productivity, it’s more important than ever that people are equipped with the tools that can help find the best role of them. 

This is where AI can play an increasingly important role.

Data from job search behaviour, data extracted from millions of CVs and reviews and other sources are used to train algorithms to overcome some of the complex challenges with job searches today.  It can predict which jobs are the best fit for a job query, personalise the job search results, and protect job seekers from redundant and fraudulent activity during the job search process.

Predicting the best roles

By overlaying historical behavioural data with insights into labour market trends, the task of matching searches with specific jobs can be made much easier. Working together with human supervision, algorithms can fill in the blanks that often exist in the job descriptions. It can predict salaries, classify unusual job titles and make many other predictions to show only relevant jobs to jobseekers.  For example, if someone searches for a “software engineer”, having the right algorithm could also show results for jobs that are looking for “coding wizards”.

At Indeed we also use job seeker behaviour to train our machine learning algorithms to predict if a job is a reasonable candidate based on commute times and local geography. By monitoring jobs clicked on by seekers the platform can learn where people desire a job relative to their search location. Without knowing train schedules or commute times or bridge locations, user behaviour will guide where jobs are most likely a good fit.

Data in CVs and job descriptions are unstructured – these documents are text heavy and don’t tend to have a consistent structure, making them difficult for computers to digest.

AI’s Natural Language Processing can extract critical information that paints a personal picture of what a candidate desires or can make the requirements of a job description available as a checklist the system can process. These AI techniques provide contextual clues to provide personalised search results that match the job seeker’s goals and experience.  In this way, AI is helping the almost of half of job seekers who currently find job searches too overwhelming and too time-consuming by personalising their searches.

Our research shows that job seekers are recognising and valuing the uses of AI in these ways to help overcome the common challenges they currently face in finding a job. As many as a quarter would like to see it used more if it improves their chance of finding the right role.

Humans will remain at the heart of hiring

But a word of caution. While AI can help identify the best potential hires out of millions of CVs, it doesn’t provide a silver bullet for job seekers or employers.

The most effective matches will always have a role for humans. No one would buy a house based on a Right Move posting. Potential buyers have to walk in and decide if they can and want to live there. The same logic applies to finding a job or candidate.

AI can bring job seeker and employer together, but making the decision on whether the fit is right remains a very human endeavour.

With new challenges facing the labour market, it’s increasingly important for candidates, companies and the country’s economy that job seekers are equipped with the best chances of finding the right matches. 

Research shows us that the appetite among applicants is there. They want to see AI used more for job hunting help – and are more comfortable with robots providing job support than they are with these new technologies being used for news reporting, healthcare support or self-driving vehicles.

The opportunity is clear.  Now it’s up to our industry and policy makers to work together to further understanding of AI, share our learnings and expertise, and inspire confidence in its use.  Only then will be able to bring the full benefits to the labour market.

Raj Mukherjee, SVP Product, Indeed (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock

Raj is SVP of Product at Indeed, the world’s largest job site. He’s responsible of building tools that improve the job seeker experience. Previously, Raj was responsible for product and strategy at Microsoft and worked on the Enterprise Platform team at Google.