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Up until now, recruiters have built an industry around ‘the human touch’ of recruiting. Relying on their face to face capabilities and their ‘gut feeling’ to match clients and candidates alike but there’s a new player in town that threatens to disrupt the whole process.
Depending who you ask, Computer learning & AI have the potential to either; improve a recruiters’ placement rate by taking the long, time-consuming processes out of their day or, completely replace them via the use of algorithms that allows the AI to match candidates and clients perfectly.
The latter of those two scenarios is admittedly quite a long way off, if it ever materialises at all. But what impact could AI have on the industry? Chances are many recruiters are already using some element of AI in their day to day recruitment activities anyway.
The prime example of this would be LinkedIn Recruiter. This platform uses algorithms to sift through a database of 7m candidates who have signalled they are open to new opportunities. This allows the platform to offer suggestions based on previous search patterns that have led to successful searches before. Every time you make a successful search, the system learns from it and replicates it to help assist with your future searches.
So how does AI fit in exactly?
It’s more the machine learning aspect of AI that recruiters stand to benefit from. Machine learning will help improve the process of matching clients and candidates and improve the search process in general. AI will also help remove menial or time-consuming tasks that can weigh a recruiter down, this would include tasks such as CV screening and marking test papers.
AI would also be able to help provide consistency in the recruitment process and help to eradicate unconscious biases. All recruiters are going to have differing qualifiers when searching through CV’s and applications which can lead to one recruiter considering a candidate whilst another overlooks them. AI has the ability to ensure that all CV’s are given the same fair standard of scrutiny which would help to ensure a fair process and reduce errors when hiring new talent.
AI would also have the ability to find those hidden gems, a candidate you would have possibly never considered before but the computers see something you’ve missed or overlooked. A good example of this is Helena, a self-teaching robot developed by Woo, that uses sophisticated machine learning to become better at matching candidates to vacancies. The machine was originally trained via top-flight recruiters and head hunters but eventually began to learn from the information.
Helena is now used alongside a human team and they have ended up learning from each other. Due to the standards of the AI and its inability to unconsciously bias a candidate, the human team have seen Helena pick candidates they would never have dreamed of. However, on average, 52% of Helena’s candidates are accepted for interview, compared to the average human placement rate of 20% so we are already seeing a positive impact.
And the Future?
Whilst early indications don’t yet point to all recruiters being replaced by robots and programs, it looks safe to say that they are going to revolutionise how we approach recruitment. It’s going to allow recruiters to concentrate on areas of the business that help to bring value and strategic benefits as opposed to administrative work and menial tasks that do nothing more but eat into a recruiters’ day.
Helena’s creators are a little more futuristic in their predictions, believing that future recruitment could eventually be simplified to the point where you can literally ask a computer for a job in Manchester paying £30,000 per year and the response it gives is ‘you’ll be starting here on Monday morning!’. Whilst that may be a long way off yet, their argument is that the algorithms and machine learning will become so good that companies will rely on that conclusion from the computer more than they would a recruiter and so eradicate the vast majority of the recruitment process, including the interview.
More likely however, is that recruiters are going to have to adapt to the new avenues available to them and learn how to maximise their returns. Our best advice would be to embrace the change and learn how it can benefit you. We live in a fast moving world and if you don’t evolve and develop with it, you’ll get left behind, using old techniques that will eventually, like most things in life, become nothing more than a part of history.
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