Using AI to recruit employees: is it really all that smart?

Posted in Employers

Posted by Joanne Caine
Published on 02 November, 2018

Using AI to recruit employees: is it really all that smart?

The future is already here. Tools that use artificial intelligence to help businesses find and hire the ‘perfect’ employee already exist. But are these tools really going to save your business time and money? Or is it a false economy to use AI for recruitment? In short: both answers are correct...

Every employer enters the recruitment process with good intentions. Your next hire is going to ease the burden on your existing team. They will re-energise your workforce. And contribute to the irrepressible growth of your business. Sounds great, right? Sure.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out like that. Recruitment can be something of a minefield. The cost of hiring the wrong person can be huge - and not just financially. A bad hire can derail your productivity, disgruntle your workforce and disrupt your culture. You don’t want that.

With that in mind, some businesses are turning to artificial intelligence to help ensure their next hire is the best hire. But how is AI changing the recruitment landscape? And is it all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take a look.

Find a needle in a haystack...

AI makes it possible to sweep the professional plains for a very specific type of person. You can search candidate pools by salary, job title, location, qualifications, educational history and far more. Want to find a graduate from Cardiff University with a minimum 2.1 BA (Hons) in Journalism and three years of professional experience? AI makes it easy.

No more sifting through CVs

When your desk is buckling under the weight of CVs stacked on it, scrutinising each one is a daunting task. Not least when you’re already locked in an existential tussle with the rest of your to-do list. No problem. Just utilise AI to skim the CVs for you, shortlisting candidates according to your pre-specified criteria.

Get the nitty-gritty on your candidates

You want to find the best fit possible for your business. But there’s far more to a person than a CV. AI will soon be able to take the information from a CV and use it to scour social media profiles and forum contributions to compile a background report on each candidate.

Looking back to go forward

Sometimes it’s hard to choose between two (or more) strong candidates. After an agonising choice, you settle on who to hire and the unlucky candidate falls by the wayside. Then when you next need to hire, you start the entire recruitment process again from scratch. That isn’t always logical.

After all, the candidate who you thought was a good fit before might be an even better fit now. And what if someone who is determined to work for your business applies for several different vacancies over time? As a hiring manager, it would be useful to know about that. Wouldn’t it?

In the era of AI assisted recruitment, virtual assistants can build a trail of each applicant’s previous interactions with your business, allowing you to squeeze more value from previous recruitment campaigns while acknowledging candidates who have applied to work for your organisation more than once.

More opportunities for candidates

It’s not just employers that can benefit from AI. Automated job searching will mean candidates receive details of job vacancies that are far more targeted. In other words, it will be easier for talented professionals to find jobs they love. The potential knock-on effect is that candidates may be far pickier about the type of jobs they feel comfortable accepting. Be prepared to position each role carefully, write compelling job descriptions and create irresistible benefits packages to tempt in-demand candidates.

>> How to create a competitive benefits package - on a budget

Separate the best from the rest

The process of separating wheat from chaff: it’s a big part of what recruitment is all about. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a clear idea of whether your favoured candidates had the necessary skills to excel in your business before you invited them to interview?

AI makes that possible, automatically creating tests that screen for skills that are necessary for the role. Sounds outlandish? Tools like Harver, Pymetrics and Filtered are already providing this exact service.

Stop stressing about scheduling

One of the most frustrating things about interviews? Scheduling them. That’s especially true if you are conducting panel interviews. Yet automated tools like make light work of scheduling, sifting through calendars and suggesting mutually agreeable times and dates via email. Simple.

Automated video interviews

Of course, scheduling an interview becomes far easier when AI liberates you from even needing to be in the interview at all. It sounds far-fetched, but tools like HireVue allow you to run automated video interviews with your candidates. The service takes candidates through your list of questions and provides feedback on their answers - interpreting non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and tone of voice. EyeDetect even claims to be able to detect lies with 90% accuracy via changes in pupil dilation.

Communication automation

Nobody likes uncertainty. And it’s a massive bugbear of candidates when they don’t hear back from employers regarding their application. Trouble is, it would take you all week to reply to each candidate - and you’re already swamped. AI tools can help, automatically keeping candidates updated about the progress of their application - protecting the integrity of your brand in the process.

Is AI all it’s cracked up to be?

Who’s the better judge of character: you or a machine?

It’s a crucial question. Because while AI can sift CVs, schedule interviews and lots of other fancy stuff, it’s nowhere near as advanced as you when it comes to judging character. Body language also can give a way a lot about an individual and we are very experienced at reading the signs!  Therefore, what a person looks like on paper rarely reflects what they’re like in person. And AI doesn’t recognise that a candidate’s individual character is far more than the sum of its parts. 

You see, past achievements are all well and good. But sometimes the biggest indicator of future success is attitude and ambition. And those are things that AI simply cannot measure. What’s more, when you begin screening for specific keywords or certain skills, you are going to end up with a homogenised group of candidates. That’s not a very healthy way to recruit.

So while AI can assist the recruitment process, hiring human resource will always remain - by definition - a human task. People do business with people, that’s the maxim. And specialist recruiters like us have the time and knowledge to learn about your business and your vacancy, before finding the best people for the job. But don’t just take our word for it.

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Managing Director

I joined Cathedral Appointments in 1998 to cover a maternity leave and never left. I now own the business and love my job. I've a great team of consultants who work with me in ensuring that Cathedral Appointments provide an excellent service to candidates and clients alike.

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Using AI to recruit employees: is it really all that smart?

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