As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, I’m often asked what the advancements of AI will mean for the recruitment industry and whether computers or bots could replace recruiters during the hiring process.
While I am a firm believer that we will see significant change in the sector, as candidates and hiring organisations increasingly demand smarter ways of partnering with recruiters than traditional models allow, the future does not belong entirely to robots. There is no doubt in my mind that automation will streamline some of the more administrative aspects of recruitment but ultimately, the reality is that, hiring the best talent will always require a human touch.
AI isn’t human enough
AI can undoubtedly be practical for the more labour intensive parts of a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s role - like scanning CV’s for particular, non-negotiable skills. What AI isn’t capable of identifying though, is an individual's’ potential based on experience and circumstance. How would a job change affect their family? What would a relocation to the USA mean for a Native Londoner? Could someone with an Arts degree bring a fresh eye on Digital Design, despite no Tech experience?
This is important for two key reasons.
Firstly, in Tech, good recruiters tailor their pitches to each candidate; the one-size-fits-all email/InMail introduction has become predictable, monotonous and disengaging. The most sought-after candidates are inundated with similar messages everyday and can often spot a ‘copy-and-paste’ template from afar. While AI can deliver a certain degree of personalisation in messaging, it cannot replicate a critical eye, a genuine understanding and a bespoke, human connection.
Secondly, AI is unable to engage in one-on-one discussions with candidates; algorithms simply cannot comprehend a candidate’s personality or drivers, thus failing to emulate a meaningful and human conversation. As importantly, AI is unable to adequately assess how well a particular person would fit into the culture of a scaling start-up.
A lack of humanity means a lack of connection
Crudely speaking, algorithms determine decisions in binary - black or white, yes or no, hot or cold. When it comes to the complex nature of human beings, we can be a mix of contradictions, anomalies and inconsistencies, making it difficult to neatly compartmentalize us and changing over time.
Data scientists are working hard to create AI systems capable of processing these ambiguities, but whether they ever fully achieve this goal remains to be seen. The simple truth is that to hire great humans, you need great humans to make a connection and foster relationships.
What role could AI play in recruitment?
We think it could play a significant role, specifically a reduction in the initial lead sourcing phase. As mentioned previously, algorithms will be incredibly useful for the initial stages of the sourcing process, assessing a huge volume of candidates for their skills and experience. This will then free up time for recruiters to spend on the “human” aspect of their job. Ironically, the inhuman AI will actually allow more room and most importantly, time, to focus on the human aspects of recruitment; seeking common ground, storytelling, building lasting relationships and so on.
As AI is gradually integrated into the recruitment industry, the best recruiters will merely use it as a tool to support their activities and enhance how their humanness is the biggest asset in finding and hiring the best talent!