What Can AI Do For Recruiting?

Recruiters, chances are you know a job seeker, or you were one yourself not too long ago.  And thus, you know the plight of being lost in “the resume black hole.” For candidates, the application process seems to be where resumes go to die.  But YOU know that an average job can receive up to 250 applications and the average Recruiter can typically carry 30-90 requisitions at a time. Multiply that out and you are overwhelmed. 

PLUS, you have to conduct phone screens AND service all of your hiring managers AND coordinate interviews, feedback, offers and communications AND attend way too many meetings AND handle an endless amount of phone calls and emails AND attend to compliance and administrative tasks AND prepare pipeline and activity reports AND make sure you’re hitting your metrics AND spend time sourcing, researching, networking and cold calling on positions that don’t have qualified applicants. 

You need help! Enter AI and automation.

For all these reasons, AI has a growing presence in Recruiting because of its ability to automate repetitive high-volume tasks like sourcing, screening, scheduling, and communicating… and as an added bonus can even eliminate bias.  

But beware of some of the common pitfalls.

SOURCING

AI can sift through enormous volumes of data across your CRM and ATS, on external job boards and social profiles and can make decisions or recommendations on who out there might be the best fit for a short(er) list based on key words.

Advantages:  Saves immeasurable amounts of research hours scouring databases and the internet for qualified prospects to reach out to.  It can also augment profiles to incorporate information from multiple sites including contact information – more research time saved.  Eliminates bias by focusing only on job skills and competencies. Machine learning continues to improve results with Recruiter feedback.

Where it can go wrong:  Your AI may start out unbiased, but machine learning can begin to incorporate bias as it adjusts results to Recruiter feedback.  It also doesn’t possess independent judgment to evaluate the quality of one’s content over another’s and therefore strong prospects may be overlooked if they have incomplete profiles, use different wording, lingo, acronyms or have highly transferable skills but lack specific key words.  A colleague of mine once worked with a team in a Sourcing Center of Excellence where they compared the top recommended prospects from an AI sourcing tool to the top recommended prospects from a human Sourcer. Guess who found the best overall quality profiles? (Hint: the one with a pulse and the ability to make qualitative judgments).  Lastly, depending on how the sourcing jobs are set up in the AI platform, Recruiters may need to refine the searches for machine learning repetitively for a single role across multiple geographies, rendering it completely inefficient.

SCREENING

AI will scan applicant resumes for key words (a convenience for Recruiters) and can also pre-populate information into the online application (a convenience for candidates).  It will weed out resumes that are the least key word rich compared to the job description.

Advantages:  Saves time for Recruiters in having to visually scan every applicant.  Eliminates bias by focusing only on job skills and competencies.  

Where it can go wrong:  Again, the AI does not make any judgments on who might be the best fit, only who has the most matching key words.  Also, if a resume has a complex layout, file type other than Word or PDF, fancy graphics, bullets, borders, lines, symbols, fonts or special characters, the AI may not be able to interpret it properly.  So, strong candidates may be screened out through the automation and you’ve created a poor candidate experience.

SCHEDULING

AI can automate the scheduling process for phone screens and hiring manager interviews and sync with individual calendars.

Advantages:  Saves time and lots of back and forth trying to coordinate schedules and mutual availability via emails, phone calls and individual calendar management.  Convenience creates a good experience for all and reduces time to fill.

Where it can go wrong:  Poor management of availability time slots.

COMMUNICATION

AI chatbots can automate the communication process, allowing candidates to get on demand answers about the company, the benefits, the process and their status in the process.

Advantages:  Can create a higher quality experience, when job seekers can get responses and answers to common questions.  Text and chatbots can also automate and shorten parts of the apply process by collecting profile information up front during the Q&A session.

Where it can go wrong:  If poorly or incompletely configured, can be a source of frustration and waste of time contributing to a bad candidate experience.

In a lot of ways, AI has made great improvements to Talent Acquisition.  Where it is able to sift through large amounts of data, keep people informed, shorten the process and provide convenience, it creates efficiencies of scale, enhances communication, removes bottlenecks and provides a higher quality experience for all parties.  However, when used ineffectively or in place of necessary valuable human judgment or interaction, it can do more harm than good, resulting in inefficiencies, overlooking quality prospects, screening out quality candidates, and frustrating job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers.  I’m also not sure AI can follow a “hire for attitude, train for skills” model.

We’d love to hear your feedback. Drop us a note to tell us how your company is using AI and what advantages and drawbacks are you seeing.