Don’t Fear AI: How Automation Will Make Hiring Better for Everyone

What will AI mean for you, in your job as a recruiter?
By: | December 23, 2017 • 6 min read

There are two very clear and distinct sides of the automation and artificial intelligence debate.

On the one hand, you have those who feel the advancement of automation and AI is an exciting prospect. Driverless cars, AI personal assistants, and countless algorithms automating what were once laborious processes is a dream come true. If we manage it right, we’re on the precipice of utopia in our daily lives and at work, they think. They’re the AI optimists.

On the other hand, the pervasiveness of automation is an unnerving, sometimes terrifying prospect to others. Will it take away all of our jobs? Will it make it harder to get a job? Will algorithms be the ones making final hiring decisions? They’re the AI pessimists.

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According to a recent study of 4,135 U.S. adults conducted by the Pew Research Center, 67 percent of survey respondents say they’re concerned about the idea of an algorithm selecting and hiring job applicants. Of those same respondents, 72 percent were concerned about a not-too-distant future where robots and computers do jobs that us humans used to do.

For a number of reasons, I’m in the group of AI optimists. AI and automation shouldn’t be feared when it comes to hiring. In fact, they’re already bringing new opportunities to life for both candidates and the companies that hire them.

While those interviewed by Pew in the survey above say they’re concerned about losing their jobs to computers, a study released by Gartner right around the same time suggests those fears may be mostly unfounded. Gartner says that artificial intelligence is actually expected to have created more than 2.3 million jobs by 2020 while eliminating only about 1.8 million. That’s a net positive of more than 500,000 jobs.

But the big question for those in the recruiting and talent industry remains the same—how will this affect me and my ability to do my job?

How AI and Automation Can Change Recruiting

Here are just three ways AI and automation are making (or will soon make) life easier for recruiters, recruits and everyone in between:

Predictive analytics will help organizations hire the right people and ensure the best candidates stand out

Finding the right candidate for the right job has always been the hallmark of a quality recruiting and talent management firm. But moving into the future, the organizations that augment their sourcing skills with AI have the opportunity to completely change the recruiting game.

Today, data collected on new hires can be analyzed automatically against job performance, retention and success to create what is essentially a feedback loop that continuously updates and refines the profile of a successful employee.

IBM Watson Recruitment is already at a point where it can search more than 1 million resumes in a single second and predict whether a candidate will be successful based on specific indicators. Watson digs through countless internal and external data sources to recommend the best candidates for any job and identifies the difficulty and resources that would be required to support the hiring. Not only that, Watson can aid in assessing market factors that affect a company’s employment brand and help forecast future workforce needs. Software from companies like Pomato and Ideal are offering similar services to HR and hiring departments to support their staff.

The process of discovering the best employees, which once took months and sometimes years to identify, is now, with AI and other software, beginning before the employee is even hired.

AI will save recruiters time by automating tedious, time-consuming tasks

According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 survey, 56 percent of talent acquisition teams say their hiring volume will increase during the year but the team responsible for handling that increase will remain the same. Where is the time to do all that extra work going to come from? The answer lies in AI.

Today, resume screening remains one of the most time-consuming tasks of a recruiter’s job. AI can help reduce that by automatically screening obviously unqualified candidates’ resumes from the pile. Additionally, AI can also schedule interviews with those qualified candidates with an auto-email interview request service. The best automation tools are fully integrated with all email and calendar providers and find time slots when the candidate and the interviewer are all free to meet.

Beyond that, accelerating the screening process also reduces time-to-hire, which gives those companies that embrace AI a leg up on the competition.

Automated onboarding is making it easier for new employees to adapt and feel comfortable in their new roles

HR departments have worked diligently to improve their onboarding processes over the years; we’ve seen much of it (and helped companies with it) first-hand. But with so many different learning styles, speeds, and job intricacies people simply don’t think about, it will never be perfect. But with AI, we’re getting much closer.

AI and other advanced algorithms can help create custom learning plans for each individual employee. Onboarding programs can take an individual through the onboarding process step-by-step so no job task or requirement, no matter how small, is forgotten. They can aid in determining a path for professional development using the employee’s existing proficiencies, knowledge, interests, and skills gaps to build an onboarding and professional development program that helps the individual grow into their role quicker. In turn, the company could see returns faster. Using various sources of data about a specific employee, AI can also now make predictions about the level of engagement an employee will need and make individual suggestions based on specific factors to create the best possible experience.

The Future of Recruiting in a World of AI

Beyond the potential benefits, those fearful about the future of AI and automation may not have a choice but to embrace. Automation is coming. In many ways, it’s already here. And those companies that don’t embrace it risk being left behind.

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At Yoh, we’re working with our internal teams and our partners to see how AI will affect our clients (and their competitors) and introducing strategies to help them stay ahead of the curve. That includes everything from recruiting to onboarding to even how AI will affect their businesses in general. If we’re recruiting talent for these companies, we need to know that the talent we source is prepared to handle the future of our clients’ industries.

However, as with any future technology, there is reason to be cautious. HR and hiring managers must remember that AI is to be used only as a tool—not a definitive solution for picking and choosing candidates. To prevent unintentional discrimination and to avoid missing those under-the-radar candidates, AI software vendors should be aware of the company’s previous hiring biases—whether conscious or unconscious—and take the steps to remove patterns of potential bias. After all, AI learns from humans, and should be used to help us eliminate our biases, not exacerbate them.

But if it can be harnessed correctly and used creatively by organizations that embrace it, AI can enrich people’s careers by making work life simpler, shorter and more productive; reimagine old tasks by removing tedious steps; and even create brand new industries where innovative workers and companies can truly flourish. Additionally, with this software, companies can now more accurately measure the ROI of HR investments and show its role in corporate profitability and success

With the help of AI and other automation software, the future is bright for both companies and candidates.

My advice is don’t fear AI. Embrace it. And let it work for you.

Jonathan Grosso is vice president, enterprise solutions, at Yoh.