How AI Can and Will Affect the Recruiting Process (and How It Won’t)


We hear a lot about AI’s effect on jobs, but what about its effect on recruiters? This article explains how AI can improve life for recruiters as well as what AI can’t and shouldn’t do, writes Matt Fischer, president and CTO of Bullhorn.

One popular image of artificial intelligence is that of robots taking over the world à la The Matrix or Westworld, but even the comparatively gentle image of AI-driven machines taking our jobs is overstated. AI is, however, poised to play a great role in transforming staffing and recruiting. According to our research at Bullhorn, more than half of recruiting industry professionals and executives professed at least some knowledge of AI technology, and it follows that they recognize how it might help them. And by “help,” I mean in ways that are designed not to take recruiters’ jobs, but to help them do their jobs better. Another reason not to worry: there are things AI simply cannot do well or should not be asked to do, meaning that human recruiters are essentially being promoted to focusing more of their time on work that adds value.

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AI demonstrates its positive effect on recruiting
For the recruiting industry, AI is already in the earliest stages of use for finding and hiring the best talent. Between the ongoing development of AI for recruiting platforms and the understandable lag in adoption at this early phase, many of the capabilities AI can bring to the recruiting process are yet to be fully deployed. Still, we can talk with confidence about what AI can, and in some cases, already does, do for recruiters:

AI can help find better-qualified candidates at the right time; AI-enabled tools can continuously monitor huge databases of passive candidates and identify signals that predict a candidate’s readiness for a new opportunity. This increases both the available talent pool for a given position and the engagement rates with those candidates.
AI helps increase recruiters’ response times; many communications, such as interview confirmation emails and texts, can be automated, leaving recruiters more time to focus on the more customized interactions needed to cultivate relationships with candidates.
AI can sense market shifts; for example, trends indicating certain widespread changes in the talent pool – perhaps there is a previously unanticipated rise in job requests for WordPress developers – can help recruiters anticipate skills gaps and talent shortages ahead of the competition.
AI improves diversity by reducing human bias; the most well-meaning recruiters will still fall to unconscious bias. This covers anything from racial and gender diversity to age and even geographical location. With proper programming, AI mitigates that bias roadblock, helping to level the playing field and identify qualified candidates recruiters might otherwise miss.

Learn more: Things You Should Know Before Using AI Recruitment Software

AI has its limits; recruiters should recognize them
AI can analyze data and replicate repetitive tasks to help recruiters, but it cannot take their place. In fact, rather than replacing jobs in recruiting, AI is poised to give staffing and recruiting professionals more time to do the parts of their jobs that require human decision-making. Recruiters are better-equipped than machines to analyze data to find the “why” in the data and to perform the more personalized tasks in the hiring process. Examples of the limitations of AI include:

AI is fast and accurate, but not error-free; one error made in machine learning can be very difficult to correct if not caught quickly.
AI makes connections from data but does not define causes; AI is excellent for detecting patterns, but it is still up to humans to decipher the meaning behind the correlation.
AI follows defined sets of orders; AI works best when designed to accomplish narrow tasks. For example, AI is a great tool for harnessing large amounts of data, but it will not be able to see the bigger picture that affects the data. For instance, if more women are entering construction management, biases previously built into the algorithm could still turn up mostly male candidates.

As the understanding of AI in the recruiting industry increases, so will the development and adoption of AI tools to support the hiring process, from candidate engagement to communications workflows and beyond. Staffing and recruiting professionals need to be aware of how AI tools lead to savings and better candidate experience, as well as how their limitations allow them to focus more on work that improves the candidate experience.

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