AI and its Relationship with Recruitment: The Good and The Uncertain
Whether one views uncertainty as an opportunity or an unnecessary obstacle will of course depend on how a person perceives their half-full (or empty!) glass. The unknown terrain that is associated with developments in technological advancement, however, will prove challenging to navigate.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its role in allowing businesses to better harness their potential and productivity levels has been a talking point for quite some time now. There are those who view it as a necessity to keep up with global advancements and others who see its inevitable conclusion as resembling a dystopian future. Ultimately, no one can really be sure how technology ¬will develop, and there are those individuals significantly more capable of understanding the intricacies of AI, like Stephen Hawking, who say that “AI is likely to be either the best or worst thing to happen to humanity”.
Whichever view you take, what cannot be underestimated is how endless the possibilities are in the context of AI. Recent research even suggests that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even yet been invented. A 2016 article by The Economist even posits that 47% of jobs will be automated by 2034. How immersed in technology the workplace will become and what revolutionary improvements we are yet to see is perhaps hard to predict, but it is clear that almost every facet of business, whether it be mining, automotive, e-commerce and even recruitment will need to adapt.
Below are some thought-provoking advancements that AI has already had, and may be yet to come, for the recruitment industry.
When I initially began my career in recruitment, I found the task of filtering a candidate’s strengths in accordance with the job description to be a challenge. This would become even more challenging when presented with a role that would naturally attract a significant volume of applicants. 65% of CVs for high volume roles are not even considered – which is an astonishing figure and perhaps indicates how truly competitive applying for a role can be. While I am usually satisfied that I am putting forward the best candidates for a specific role, I sometimes find myself thinking whether I have missed anyone that would be, for lack of a better word, perfect for the vacancy. Developments in AI aim to drastically improve this process and lend a recruiter some peace of mind.
These developments include using technology to ‘rediscover’ candidates on a recruiter’s database, some of which may have not been considered in months or even years. Further improvements also include the advent of automated sourcing, which allows recruiters to extend their reach well beyond anything that could be achieved by a manual search performed by a team of even hundreds of recruiters. There is even a developed technology that can analyze more than 300 million social profiles for relevant experience for a particular vacancy, which practically nullifies the possibility that the chance to connect with a truly excellent candidate may be squandered.
Rudimentary and administrative tasks make up a great portion of a recruiter’s day-to-day functions. Whether it be sending meeting confirmations, interview confirmations with clients or even just the general duties associated with emails, AI aims to save not only the recruiter their valuable time, but also the business itself. Automated and accurate email responses to ‘live candidates’ and the ability to schedule meetings using a bot are just some of the useful AI advancements we’ve seen so far.
However, one development within AI that is of particular interest to me is the introduction of a recruiter chatbot. Some of you may have read my previous article, where I wrote that upon arriving in the UK in November 2019, I found my job search to be quite daunting. Aside from this, I found the lack of a response from a recruiter or company I had applied to to be quite disheartening.
Interestingly, although perhaps unsurprisingly, 58% of applicants say the lack of communication can leave them with a negative impression of the company they applied to. The recruiter chatbot can potentially eliminate this impression by providing real-time interaction and updates to a prospective applicant. While these bots are still being tested, it presents a step forward in not only the recruitment process, but also the care that should be taken towards any applicant, whether junior or senior.
Diversity & Implicit Bias
A recent article published by our director, Jonathan Skerrett, highlighted the need to increase diversity within financial services organisations. Recruitment itself is a humanistic industry, one that requires empathy and the ability to listen. However, with humans comes the unfortunate possibility of bias, which lends itself to almost every industry. This is why it is promising to note that certain companies are using purpose-led solutions to assist recruiters in their diversity hiring endeavors. A relatively recent study found that of those who participated in the research, 44% had said that they had experienced some form of discrimination in their job searches. Of the same group who participated, 56% believed that AI may be less biased than human recruiters. It may take some time before AI can expertly remove an internal bias that a company may hold, but it appears that AI can theoretically be utilized to fight discrimination and increase diversity in the workplace.
I have set out in this article only a brief collection of those advancements within AI relevant to recruitment that I myself find intriguing. Of course, there are cons to the use of AI such as the cost associated with hiring a team of specialists to develop an internal program, the inevitable response some may have to relying on AI for such an important life choice and the foreseeable job losses that may be associated with AI in the years to come. However, technological advancement is about as inevitable as the sun setting in the west and its benefits may outweigh its drawbacks if utilized with honest intent and a clear purpose.