AI versus Human – The Impact on Recruiting

Published on 27-09-2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing at an enormous pace. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and many other experts predicted throughout the last years that AI and automation are one of the two main forces that will shape the future of work. But how does that affect the HR profession? And how can we adapt to it?

Unlike other technological revolution, AI will first transform white-collar professions – like recruiting – before affection blue-collar roles. Especially jobs that are based on processing and analysing data can be taken over by well-defined rules and other automation. Recruiting, which partly consists of processing resumes, parsing/de-duping/matching profiles, and other rather predictable activities will be heavily affected by this technology. But that isn’t a bad thing! However, preparing sufficiently for this change is necessary to stay relevant not only as an HR professional but as an employer in general.

We need to gain a deeper understanding of how and where AI will impact the HR industry in order to adapt sufficcently. In the following post we will therefore focus on the following points:

  • The effect of AI on recruiting in the next decade
  • The impact on the HR Profession
  • How to adapt to the impacts of AI

The final point will provide you with some general tips on how to adapt quicker and more efficiently to the innovations that will take place in the near future. However, just as AI is constantly involving, our methods need to remain flexible and open for improvement.

The Effect of AI on Recruiting

Today, AI is mainly used to liberate the recruiter from time consuming tasks, such as scheduling appointments or filtering mails. The Deloitte 2018 Human Capital Trend shows that 24% of the involved organisations are using AI and robotics to perform routine tasks, 16% to augment human skills and 7% to restructure work entirely. This way, HR professionals can focus on more important tasks. This has many advantages as machines are capable of procession way higher data volumes with much more accuracy than any human could. However, as of today, it is only used sparingly by a few companies.

Have you met Viv yet?

One of the biggest spaces AI could drive innovation in recruiting is in virtual assistance. The creators of Siri – who left Apple to found the company Six Five Labs – developed a personal assistance programme called ‘Viv’. This programme is not only capable of understanding and acting upon complex vocal commands but also continuously learns and improves by harvesting real-time data. In October 2017, Six Five Labs partered up with Samsung. It is only a matter of time until Viv is featured in a new edition of Bixby.

AI programmes like Viv are becoming better, more available and cheaper. So, it won’t be too long until an AI assistant writes your call notes, manages your inbox, follows up leads or might even conducts video interviews.


Have we lost our human touch?

The Impact on the HR Profession

The described increase of robotics within HR presents us with both, challenges and opportunities. In a recent Forbes article, Kurt Heikkinen, chief executive of Montage, describes one of the main advantages of AI as follows:

Currently, talent acquisition teams are overburdened with administrative tasks, like sifting through resumes and conducting initial interview screens. But, as organizations adopt recruiting tools that harnesses the power of AI, like text-based interviewing and automated scheduling solutions, these tedious administrative tasks will be eliminated, allowing recruiters to be more strategic with their time and focus on engaging, interviewing and hiring the right talent.

The previously mentioned Deloitte study also revealed that the newest AI software can now recognize faces and identify gender, listen to voices and identify mood and decode video interviews to identify education level, lying and cognitive ability. Analytic tools like these are capable of intelligently selecting candidates, identifying employees’ career options and coaching managers on improving their leadership skills.

However, it is the crucial role of HR professionals to understand the skills required in as well as how specific candidates can add value to an organisation. Only when those factors are well understood, we can dive into the world of AI. Ksenia Zheltoukhova, head of research at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, emphasizes this:

Organizations will need to try and identify what type of value they are adding to the organization and look at the available tools at their disposal. Some of those tools are technological; some are people in your business and it’s about combining different types of solution. It’s about considering the best technology present in the workplace and how organizations will interact with that technology and also how people will want to work and planning for that. It’s about a transition to a more automated workplace and the skills needed to facilitate that transition. The challenge to the profession is that in the next five to 10 years, some individuals within the HR profession will be fulfilling tasks that we know will be automated.

One of the real benefits of AI is that HR professionals are able to do what they do best: be human. Developing emotional connections, spotting possible biases, establishing an employer brand, understanding and assessing the team culture, building a community – all those factors are unlikely being replaced by AI any time soon. In the future, recruiters and HR leaders can invest more time in bringing more emotional intelligence to their role while AI takes over the fact-based part.

How will AI impact recruiting activities?

LinkedIn published a chart that illustrates how and where AI will impact recruiting the most. It maps Automation Potential (from High to Low) in the X-axis against the value added with Human Touch in the Y-axis. In other words, the bottom left quadrant shows tasks that are likely to be replaced by AI software. The upper right displays activities that require a high degree of human involvement due to their emotional complexity.


How to adapt to the impacts of AI

  1. Develop ‘social intelligence’
    Being able to communicate with others, establish emotional connections or assess behaviour becomes more important when ‘robots take over’ administrative tasks. Unfortunately, in a world full of technology many of us need to learn how to be human again. Interpersonal communication skills and social intelligence will be a game changer in an AI-driven world.
  2. Embrace data
    Data can be quite overwhelming, especially in large quantities. However, it is important to get comfortable with data analysis and interpretation. In the future, we will be able to access huge amounts of data and insights on talent and demand. It is our job as HR professionals to interpret this information for our clients and stakeholders. After all, we are the talent consultants.
  3. Upgrade your instincts
    Hiring new talents will remain a combination of technology and human touch. Who’s passionate about your organisation? Who would be a good Cultural Fit with the team? Getting familiar with new technologies, such as Cultural Fit algorithms, will help you to ‘upgrade’ your gut feeling and hire the best matching talents in a short amount of time.

What’s the role of corporate culture in an increasingly digitized world? CompanyMatch recently published a white paper on this topic. Just fill out the attached form to start the download. For free!

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