Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson
Associate Director: In-house

Articles From the Team

Recruitment and the rise of AI: a benefit or hindrance to candidates, hiring managers and recruiters?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are hot topics right now. Business leaders, politicians and media outlets regularly pass comment on the march of the machines and its pros, cons and wider social impact.

AI is predicted to shake up every industry to a great or lesser degree and in many cases, it’s viewed as a positive. Just this year, I’ve read articles that suggest AI in the NHS could harness patient data sets to make the UK a world leader in AI research, whilst other articles and reports have covered the possible benefits of AI as a tool to make the NHS more efficient and capable of delivering better outcomes for patients. At its most basic level, AI could drive efficiency by "automating tasks, triaging patients to the most appropriate services and allowing them to self-care."

Reshaping the recruitment process

With machine learning and AI being adopted by companies and public sector organisations for all sorts of uses, and with this involvement only set to increase, I thought it’d be interesting to explore how AI’s predicted to impact the recruitment process.

One of the most interesting articles I read was a LinkedIn Talent Blog titled 9 ways AI will reshape recruiting (and how you can prepare). Based on a talk by Przemek Berendt, VP of Global Marketing at Luxoft – a technology service provider, the article sets out Przemek’s predictions on how AI will reshape talent acquisition and the recruitment process.

The nine changes predicted by Przemek are detailed below*:

  • Programmatic advertising will make job ads more targeted and effective;
  • Profile Augmentation will give you a crystal clear picture of candidate’s interests and skills;
  • Your candidate outreach will be hyper-personalised with an employee value proposition for every individual candidate;
  • Chat-bots will fill in gaps in CVs and answer candidates’ basic questions;
  • CV screening will help you find candidates with similar skills to previous hires;
  • Natural language processing can analyse a candidates’ speech patterns to find out more about them;
  • Advanced competency tests will allow candidates to demonstrate their emotional and cognitive abilities through fun games;
  • Facial and speech recognition software will make video interviews more revealing; and,
  • Automated appointment scheduling to make meeting candidates more straightforward and quick.

Not a threat - humans needed

Interested in reading further thoughts on AI as part of the recruitment process, I came across an article in The Telegraph with the heading: 'AI is the now, not the future, of recruitment’. This article, published in May 2018, focuses on the premise that AI, machine learning and semantic search "has been available for many years" and that as the technology’s progressed "recruiting companies [and hiring managers] are now taking advantage of the competitive edge" available by using AI.

All recruitment processes contain time-consuming and laborious administrative tasks which when undertaken by the hiring manager, senior HR/recruitment person or recruitment consultant could be viewed as an inefficient, less productive or cost-effective use of their time. "AI takes care of the laborious, mundane side of recruitment and enhances the capabilities of people". This makes it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to "bring people and jobs together, placing the best possible candidate in the quickest possible time."

However, the article suggests (correctly in my opinion) that AI will not replace the human part of hiring new staff. "Dealing with candidates and ensuring the right cultural fit is why recruiters are still the core aspect of placing candidates to fill vacancies."

Seeking a little more information and opinion, led me to another interesting blog on the subject of AI and recruitment. Titled ‘12 Revealing Stats On How Recruiters Feel About AI’, this article (aimed at promoting the writer's product) lists some interesting stats related to the use of AI.  These include:

  • AI will greatly enhance talent acquisition and retention, particularly repetitive and time-consuming task;
  • AI is already becoming a regular part of HR with 13% of HR Managers already seeing evidence of its use;
  • Automation can save HR 14 hours a week on average by losing manually completed tasks to automation;
  • AI can fully automate sourcing and matching - I’m not sold on this personally;
  • AI can only automate 20% of recruiting managing tasks such as negotiation with the hiring manager and final candidates, and assisting selling the company and role to candidates;
  • A lack of automation is lowering productivity;
  • A lack of automation is hurting the candidate experience; and,
  • AI is not a threat to HR.

Potential pitfalls

In the interest of striking a balance, I did come across an article detailing the pitfalls of AI and new technology in the hiring process.  Titled 'I didn't even meet my potential employers', the Feb 2018 article on the BBC website tells the story of a graduate who applied for 55 jobs and secured c. 15 interviews, all of which were video-based screening interviews.  The article then goes on to talk about the positive and potential benefits of AI, albeit only if used in partnership with a human element.

Some of the pitfalls of AI, video-based screening and automated processes include:

  • Not getting to meet your potential employer;
  • Not knowing whether you impressed with your answers and experience, due to no human interaction;
  • No chance to build rapport or express your personality or determine a chemistry fit;
  • Receiving automated rejection letters which provide zero feedback, this is assuming you receive a response at all;
  • AI is not always fully objective and can exhibit the prejudice of those who have programmed them; and,
  • Analysing historical data (unless constantly updated) can result in AI missing development and shifts in thinking.

My final thoughts

Recruitment is more than matching key skills and experience to the requirements of a client. Instead, good recruitment is about: speaking and meeting with potential candidates (and clients) and keeping in contact; building relationships and getting to know people; learning about a company’s culture, style and approach; pinpointing strengths and weaknesses; understanding candidate career goals and personal motivations; thinking outside the box when talent is scarce; possessing good market knowledge; and, generally being consultative and available for your candidates/clients.

Artificial intelligence is capable of shaking up the recruitment process. It'll undoubtedly save time and money when used to streamline administrative tasks and/or to better target potential candidates with unique content. It will allow hiring managers and recruiters to consider more data sets from more sources, and hopefully, through efficiency and automation, improve the candidate experience via easier applications, targeted advertising, regular updates and a speedier (and possibly tailored) recruitment process.

As a specialist legal recruitment consultant, I don’t fear AI, rather I view it as a tool to help me do my job better. Anything that helps me or my clients to streamline the recruitment process is a major plus. It allows me to spend more time speaking/meeting with candidate lawyers and clients, getting to know them better and ultimately working more jobs per annum, helping to fill more jobs and ensuring I help more people find work.

To view the original articles:

'9 Ways AI Will Reshape Recruiting (and How You Can Prepare)'

'AI is the now, not the future, of recruitment'

'I didn't even meet my potential employers'

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