Artificial intelligence (AI), as a term, first became known at the Dartmouth Conference in 1956. This was at a time when digital computers had just started to make an appearance in laboratories. Alan Turing, who by many is considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, said that if one were to not know if the response were coming in from a machine or a man… that would be AI at work. “Nevertheless, I believe that at the end of the century, the use of words and general educated thinking will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.”
So the question that arises is will AI enable the world to have thinking machines, or is it just a passing fancy, a buzzword?
AI as a concept has evolved from “neural networks and thinking machines” in the 1950s – 1970s to “machine learning” in the 1980s – 2010s, and coming to present day, “deep learning” breakthroughs that are driving the current AI boom.
AI as a concept has existed for quite some years now although the nomenclature might have been different. Simply put, AI is a technology that enables machines and systems to learn from experiences, adjust responses based on inputs received, and perform many human-like tasks. So many technologies/inventions that we see today, such as self-driving cars, biometrics, virtual agents (such as chatbots) and many more are all a result of the proliferation of AI technology.
AI can help corporations and professionals in several ways by augmenting capabilities and enhancing the way they approach work.
- Analytics can get a strong boost especially in industries and areas where it is underutilized
- Enhancing the performance of existing technologies
- Removing roadblocks in work such as breaking down language barriers
AI and recruitment
According to a global survey conducted by Korn Ferry of around 800 HR professionals, 63% responded that AI has already brought a transformation in the way recruitment is done today. This clearly shows a promising future for AI technologies as far as the recruitment sphere is concerned. There are three major technologies that can smoothen the hiring process for an organization:
- Intelligent screening software
This helps automate resume screening by using machine learning to look at conversions and reasons behind candidates going on to be successful or unsuccessful, based on performance, tenure, and turnover rates. It applies the knowledge it has regarding existing employees’ skill sets, experience, and other qualities while screening and shortlisting new candidates.
- Recruiter chatbots/assistants
It is a real-time interaction provided to candidates wherein they are asked questions based on job requirements and provided feedback, updates, and suggestions.
- Digitized interviews
Today, AI can help in online interviews through software that assesses a candidate’s speech patterns, word usages, and facial cues to understand the suitability for a particular role.
I believe AI is going to revolutionize the way hiring is conducted across locations, industries, and organizations.
- Programmatic advertising which will lead to more effective targeting
Through tools available today to advertisers, browsing activity can be tracked for any user using cookies. Similar cookies can be used to track candidates who visit the firm’s career page, which helps the recruiter to compile all records of the pages browsed by the candidate. This helps us in selecting a target set and searching for other such candidates who match up. Outcome is a highly targeted set of hiring leading to successful and suitable placements.
- Employee Value Proposition (EVP) personalized for candidate outreach
Companies use their one and only version of EVP to attract talent. But with the help of AI, companies can soon start developing thousands of personas enabling recruiters to hyper-personalize candidate outreach to reach each candidate on a personal basis and speak directly to his/her individual needs. For example, if it is a candidate who has just welcomed a child in his/ her life, you could provide information about the on-site daycare or child support.
- Democratization of resumes
Despite efforts, there is always a bias that creeps in to the shortlisting of candidates. There are many who are rejected because of gender, schools they came from, their photograph, and perhaps also the place they come from. AI is agnostic to biases. It is also gender neutral, which makes it easy to shortlist candidates.
- Job-person fit
With intelligent responses as basic functionality of any AI platform, not only will a candidate’s resume be assessed, but his/ her online presence and overall fit would be judged more accurately. Even candidates can use such technology to find the best fit by creating a profile tailored to their values, goals, and career aspirations.
- AI and the interview process - evaluating candidates
It is important while recruiting to understand whether the candidate’s values match your firm’s values and whether he/she is being honest while answering. Gauging anyone’s emotional quotient and sincerity becomes all the more difficult during online interviews. With emotional recognition software, through analyzing speech, voice modulation, facial cues, and tone as mentioned before, companies can better recognize applicants with higher emotional intelligence and sincerity.
- Candidate engagement
Responding to each and every query of each and every candidate is a mammoth task for any one individual. More so, the queries can be quite repetitive. With the use of “chatbots” or “assistants”, recruiters can provide a link of communication to the candidates. These chatbots will make recommendations to both the applicant and recruiter, helping them to proceed to the next step quickly. An assistant can also pre-screen and engage with qualified candidates, helping recruiters to move forward with the process and schedule interviews, make offers and so on.
Since recruitment becomes the first face, the first point of contact for any new entrant in the organization, it is important to maintain the brand image of the firm by giving the candidate a memorable experience, AI would really give a fillip to the hiring process and help recruiters put their best foot and face forward.
- Upskilling for job-seekers
Candidates seeking jobs and engaging with intelligent recruitment platforms will have to acquire additional skills. With AI based video interview platforms, the candidate quality will not be the only parameter evaluated, but also voice modulation, body language, and facial micro-expressions. This will induce candidates to not just spruce up their resume, but also compel them to invest time in honing their personality and presentation skills.
AI-based interview formats, where it might be a Skype interview and the questions might be asked by a software, lead to new challenges for the candidate as now they cannot benefit from social and visual cues. It makes it all the more crucial for them to prepare for such conversations where they can convey relevant information and stand out.
- Automation of high-volume tasks
Based on various surveys on talent acquisition, hiring volumes show no signs of abating, but only increasing, while the size of the recruitment team in most organizations will more or less remain the same. This points to an expectation of increased efficiency considering the number of applications for each job are only going to rise. Screening resumes still take up a major chunk of any recruiter’s time. With the emergence of AI, screening resumes, a major part of the workflow will get automated. The merit in automating this part of the process is also that inherent biases get eliminated and the candidate’s skills and abilities get assessed more objectively, while simultaneously standardizing the process.
Significance of using AI in recruitment
The main purpose of AI in recruitment will be to augment the process and improve the workflow. It will make recruitment a more real-time, quick, efficient, and effective process. Many of the concerns that exist today, such as unconscious biases, lack of enough touch points in the process, candidate experience, candidate profiles, outreach, and data analytics, are now issues that can be addressed with the help of AI technologies. How will it transform the role of a recruiter?
- Recruiters can now be more proactive in their approach and spend more time on manpower planning and strategy, instead of reactive hiring.
- With high-volume tasks taken up by AI technology, recruiters will have more time to connect in-person with the candidate and ensure a high engagement level and positive experience for the candidate.
- Rather than chasing numbers, recruiters can engage in innovative discussion in terms of process improvements and enhancing candidate experience.
The benefits of AI certainly outweigh the apprehensions we might have about the new technology. Having said that, any organization needs to clearly assess the challenges of using AI and prepare a plan to tackle them to draw maximum benefit.
- Availability of data and a vast amount of data at that is extremely essential for any AI software to mimic human intelligence. This means ensuring there is a vast database of resumes and other related sets of information readily available.
- Unconscious biases can be learnt by the software: Since the technology is such that it learns as per previous patterns, it could also mimic biases. Therefore, a basic understanding of the way the technology works and awareness is important. A good example of this is an e-commerce giant that ditched its AI tool, which preferred males for Tech positions.
- Change management: Tackling skepticism and apprehension around any major change is a process in itself. Measures need to be taken to ensure that there is enough communication around the transformative aspects and advantages of using new technology and a vision of the ultimate outcome.
In conclusion, we have a powerful tool in our hands. It is for a man to manage the machine and work together for creating a better outcome.
Quoting Deloitte’s 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, “The influx of AI, robotics, and automation into the workplace has dramatically accelerated in the last year, transforming in-demand roles and skills inside and outside the organization.”
As organizations, we need to be prepared for the massive metamorphosis that introduction of AI in the workplace will bring. This will call for re-thinking the ”work architecture” - reconstructing work, retraining people, and rearranging the organization, to maximize the value of both people and machines in the coming future.
- The Emergence of the Age of AI
- Artificial Intelligence What it is and why it matters
- 19 Artificial Intelligence Technologies That Will Dominate In 2018
- Artificial Intelligence And Recruiting: A Candidate's Perspective
- 10 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Change Recruitment Practices
- AI For Recruiting: A Definitive Guide For HR Professionals
- 2018 Global Human Capital Trends