Have you ever been recruited by a robot? The odds are high that you have.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now as much a part of job search as spaceships are of Star Wars. But how big a role does AI play in the recruiting and hiring process? The answer depends on how closely you look. From creating targeted recruitment ads to predicting an applicant’s cultural fit with the company, the more granular you go, the more robots you see.
Whether or not AI is your preferred mode of science nonfiction, it is already an invaluable asset for recruiters and job seekers — the secret behind both how jobs find you and how you find jobs.
More Than Meets The AI
Regardless of what you think about the ethics of AI, it’s hard to argue with the innovation it has brought to the job search process. AI only needs access to basic data — location, background, recent searches and job history — to identify which jobs an applicant is most qualified for.
In addition to the wide variety of online applications that help job seekers improve resumes and target relevant jobs, there’s the underlying technology that makes modern job boards possible: the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure, which has grown from an internal network into an operating system for the internet. AWS’s use of AI to predict server usage enables job boards to quickly show job seekers geotargeted openings that align with their profession, skills, interests and career goals.
On the employer side, platforms such as LinkedIn Recruiter provide a path to the ideal candidate based on work experience, skills, location, responsiveness and other identifiers of recruiter intent.
Interview With A Robot?
Unconscious biases pop up throughout the recruiting and hiring process, no matter how well intentioned a company’s HR department is. AI can go a long way to protecting candidates from prejudices. Not only that, but machine learning also enables thousands of applications to be processed in a tiny fraction of the time it would take humans to do so manually.
In Sweden, a robot named Tengai is making waves by conducting job interviews. The brainchild of artificial intelligence and social robotics company Furhat Robotics that was four years in the making, Tengai is designed to conduct unbiased interviews in as “human” a way as possible.
HireVue and Pymetrics, both talent matching platforms with hiring intelligence, use the behavioral data collected from interviews to evaluate candidates in the form of game-based challenges and video-based assessments.
Companies such as Heinz and Unilever are incorporating these games in their hiring processes to assess applicants’ problem-solving abilities and styles. AI-based games use behavioral assessments rather than questionnaires and resume-scanning to evaluate applicants’ work behaviors.
Proponents of AI find such developments exciting, but the efficacy and ethics of automated decision-making in the recruitment process are controversial. Polls suggest that the wider public opposes the use of machine learning in recruitment and criminal justice.
The problem here is not that AI does not lead to less biased decisions. Algorithms are only as objective as the humans who create and implement them.
This is why it is crucial for humans to insist on better AI and for citizens in democratic societies to play an active role in shaping public policy on where, when and to what extent machine learning can be used.
AI Is Here To Stay
While there is cause for skepticism regarding automated decision-making in the workplace, the changes AI brings to the recruiting and hiring process, if used right, can drastically improve both how individuals find jobs and how companies hire. AI-driven application processing is not only becoming more creative and effective over time; it also frees up time for recruiters to focus more on getting to know their top applicants and hence making more informed hiring decisions. They now have access to both more, and better, job candidates than ever before.
Interested in really harnessing AI’s power? My advice is to try advanced tactics. If you are an employer, for example, don’t limit yourself to only interviewing candidates who were either referred by an employee or recommended by your ATS. Instead, prescreen applicants using automated video interviews, and have them play games that analyze their cognitive abilities and decision-making styles to find the best match for your company culture. If you’re a job seeker, on the other hand, why not up your AI-driven game by identifying which companies you would love to work for and adding your CV to their ATS? Many companies make their systems easy to find and access online.
As the range of AI tools increases, so do the uses of this technology. Expect (but also demand) to see more benefits and less bias in future machine learning applications.
Ignoring or avoiding AI in job search, hiring and recruiting is no longer an option. But this doesn’t mean that the future belongs to robots.
It belongs to the humans who shape them.