Repost of an article that I wrote for LinkedIn. You can find the original at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ai-recruitment-good-bad-ugly-james-burgess/
In a recent article on The Undercover Recruiter, it was estimated that AI will replace 16% of HR jobs in the next 10 years. This is arguably unavoidable given the undeniable advantages offered by a fully-integrated AI. When Boston Dynamics can create a robot called Atlas that can do parkour of all things using Artificial Intelligence, it really isn’t that hard to imagine that AI would have useful applications to the online (and offline) components that make up the recruitment lifecycle. Just as with everything in life, there’s an upside, but also a trade-off.
- The Forbes Coaches Council have theorised that AI will be able to ensure best fit through analysing a candidate’s online presence. In a world where we increasingly share our lives online, this will give employers the advantage of mapping out a candidate’s proclivities — both positive and negative.
- AI can, quite simply, save time. Forbes have cited examples such as Filtered, which offers the advantage of auto-generated coding tests. David Leithead at Morgan McKinley has also written about the value of AI in taking low-level, administrative tasks off of the plates of recruiters.
- AI can effectively match candidates, utilising algorithms to match the strongest candidates to open requirements, based on those that have submitted their resume and, incredibly, those who are actively open and even regularly looking. LinkedIn is a perfect example of this. LinkedIn Recruiter shows not only those who are currently looking but also those who are more likely to respond to contact based on their activity across their user journey.
- Artificial Intelligence being what it is, the candidate experience does not escape unscathed. Anthony Hughes at Coburg Banks poses an interesting question about allowing a machine to judge a person’s personality. He cites a BBC article in which a candidate mentions feeling that AI was actively hindering his employment prospects, and Hughes goes on to point out that AI will also not offer candidates the feedback that they deserve when taking the time to apply and interview with a potential employer.
- David Leithead also makes a compelling point in relation to time-saving. Whilst time will likely be saved in the long-term, every recruiter knows well how fast the industry moves on a daily basis. He mentions the fact that it will be a case of machines and humans working in concert, rather than competing with each other. The implementation of sophisticated AI systems will require the upskilling of staff in order to fully realise the potential of this harmony between the recruitment professional and the recruitment AI, and this will come with a cost — both financial and that relating to time. In recruitment — as cliché as it sounds — time really is money in many cases.
- There is also the opinion, undoubtedly shared by more than a few people, that AI could be a step too far where privacy is concerned. Forbes have also articulated the idea that Artificial Intelligence could lead to ‘cyber-snooping’ on the part of employers; willingly or not. Our Twitter presence can already be compiled into a personality profile based on use of certain words and IBM Watson has the ability to decipher our personality based on any text sample. However, the same article also argues that there is a difference between what employers can know about candidates, and what they should know.
Whilst it could hugely benefit both employer and candidate to know more about if a company is a natural match both ways, are we giving up too much of ourselves in the pursuit of greater and greater efficiency and profit? As I have already argued, in recruitment, these are not mutually exclusive much of the time. There are clearly a number of opportunities that will be created with this brave new world, just as AI is clearly on the way and likely to become an integral element of any recruitment drive.
This recruiter is preparing to take advantage of AI and all it can offer, particularly in allowing us to reach more and better candidates who are not only a good fit but are active and interested in our organisations. But one lingering thought remains, no matter how much I try and shake it. For all of its advantages, for all of its pitfalls — The Good, Bad and Ugly, if you will — we will likely lose the one thing that separates the best from the rest in the recruitment world: the ‘human touch’.
What impact this will have remains to be seen.