This Is how AI Is Shaping the Future of Recruitment4 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
“Time is money” – this mantra might be the poster child of the business world, but in the business of recruiting, it turns out people are money as well. For online shoe giant, Zappos, bad hires cost the company “well over $100 million.” In an effort to avoid being the next Zappos, more companies are turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to find the best people, without wasting time or money. But how can computer automation benefit an industry that thrives on human interaction?
AI technology and algorithms can process exponentially more resumes and applicants in the initial screening process. Using tailored filters, this technology can eliminate the pain-staking work of sifting through countless applicants, and get the best candidates in the door for an interview much faster than any human. And while some smooth-talking contenders may have previously been able to chat their way out of lackluster qualifications, the modern AI system isn’t buying it.
The expectation is that AI will level the field and the people who are most qualified for a job are quickly identified and funneled through to the next round. When it comes to diversity in the workplace, a level playing field would be a welcome change. Time and time again, a bias against women has been identified in recruitment processes. One recent study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that managers of both genders, when presented with candidates of equal skill sets, were twice as likely to hire a man as a woman. The systemic stereotype of men being better leaders and business negotiators seems to be still ingrained in the human brain. But a computer brain carries the promise for a different story. When used correctly, AI has the possibility to significantly reduce biases of all sorts, in the initial screening process.
Despite all the expected benefits of AI, it’s worth mentioning that AI systems are only as strong as the humans they try to mimic. In a recent article, Reuters revealed that Amazon, the behemoth online retailer, had abandoned their AI recruiting tool after realizing it was systemically discriminating against female candidates. The reason behind this failure was that their models were designed to observe patterns in resumes submitted to the company in the previous ten years to filter through candidates in the “Amazon Way.” Turns out the “Amazon Way” is a predominantly male-dominated way, and Amazon’s recruiters sent the AI system back to the workshop for some hefty re-programming.
With a little human help, AI “brains” are being used in the recruiting process with remarkable, time-saving results. And while not every business has the capabilities (and budget) of Amazon to develop their own AI “recruiter”, a plethora of tech companies are stepping up to the plate with products to fill the digital void. Take for instance, Mya, a multi-lingual AI assistant that interacts with candidates using Whatsapp or text messages. According to one CNBC survey, 73% of job-seekers believed they were communicating with a real person in their initial interview questions, when in fact, they were talking to Mya. Or in the case of HireVue, a tool used by companies like J.P. Morgan Chase, hopeful applicants find themselves in a video interview with… nobody. Well, no body, but one very analytical AI brain, observing everything from body language to the lighting of the applicant’s video background. And bursting onto the scene this year is Atomic Hire, a company using, and elevating, Google’s interview process in a stream-lined, user-friendly system. With organized applicant-tracking and a commitment to bias-free selections, Atomic Hire is solely dedicated to getting the best people in the door for personal interviews, where the real rockstar recruiters can take over.
At the end of the day, the personal interactions and energy between a skilled recruiter and a hopeful job-seeker, will never be palpable to a computer, no matter how many body-language sensors it may have. But with a little help from some high-tech systems, record numbers of qualified candidates are passing through the doors of human recruiters everywhere. And while weeding through duplicate and unqualified resumes used to be a standard chore for anyone looking to fill a new position, in the modern world, “Ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that.”