Once the province of science fiction, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a reality. Companies are turning to AI technologies for a multitude of tasks: data analysis, digital mapping and especially automating repetitive, high volume tasks. It’s true some people fear AI for its potential to eradicate jobs—and perhaps entire industries. But as profound as AI is, its primary benefit is increased human productivity, not job replacement.

AI can be applied to any process that requires applying self-modifying algorithms to crunch massive amounts of data to detect patterns, trends and anomalies for the purpose of making decisions and predictions. With the amount of data in the world doubling every couple of years, humans simply cannot keep up without help from this kind of technology. And with HR now collecting and processing candidate data from multitude of data points (resumes, assessments, job boards, etc), there is no better sphere to apply AI than recruitment. Recruiters can work alongside AI in a collaborative setting, using the technology to quickly source and analyse candidates and their skills and use their expertise to better understand role requirements and hire candidates with the best strategic fit for the organisation.

AI can improve recruitment in three key ways:

  1. Streamline recruitment

An organisation that recruits 200 people per year with the ratio of 20 applicants for each job, evaluates 4,000 applicants for those positions. Processing those applications, reviewing candidates, identifying the best (and worst) applicants and scheduling and conducting interviews can be an expensive and time-intensive process. Improving productivity here can make a huge impact. If your selection process is inefficient, you’re not only wasting money and effort, you won’t be able to make quick hiring decisions, so you may lose out on talented applicants who became disengaged in the process. It makes sense then to deploy technology to streamline this process.

AI can source, analyse and collate multiple sources of data on multiple candidates, as well as the market and industry and deliver this intelligence with lightning speed and accuracy. HR professionals can return to what they do best: focus on connecting with candidates, engaging with them and getting them hired.

Most companies today use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to manage resumes and applicant data. ATS mines and collects data about the applicant, using keywords such as skills and years of experience, typically from resumes and job boards. Platforms enabled with AI take this process one step further. AI takes a more holistic view, being able to collect, analyse and interpret candidate data available from both public websites and the company’s existing systems. Candidates are sifted with an AI lens: Candidates matching certain criteria—such as interests, values and previous job title— and determine the best fit for the job candidate criteria. The data can be ranked and presented to a recruiter within minutes. Time can be critical in certain roles, especially in volume recruitment. Research that KF conducted in 2013 revealed 37 percent of respondents were knowingly hiring unsuitable candidates just to fill roles quickly.

  1. Ensure you Identify the Best Candidates

AI can also help determine great from good and predict with better accuracy the likelihood of candidates being successful. For example, AI can enhance the Job Description by augmenting your search with additional key words to find the best candidates. Say you're searching for a 'Web Developer.' If you use a standard keyword search across job boards such as LinkedIn, you will source a number of candidates quickly. But you're only identifying candidates who use that exact title to describe what they do. Some Web Developers call themselves ‘IT Programmer’ or ‘Web Programmer’. AI can identify these variables and add them to your search, quickly and easily.

Similarly, to ensure a cultural fit, you may be searching for Web Developers who have worked or currently work in the Financial Services industry. AI may identify companies that seem outside the expectation by showing and listing results from actual feeder companies. For example, AI may reveal the majority of candidates currently working in Financial Services previously worked at Government Institutions. AI will then add Government Institutions into the search, broadening your search results, and your likelihood of discovering the best talent.

AI can also study people in the target role to identify what variables are key. For example, AI can collate all the skills and experiences common to Web Developers in Financial Services and Government Institutions, such as:

  • Knowledge of programming languages such as PHP, ASP.NET, Javascript or Ruby on Rails.
  • Hands-on experience with network diagnostics, network analytics tools
    …while also identifying rare skills and experience, such as:
  • Team leadership experience

This enables HR professionals to identify candidates who possess the potential to proceed to the next level in their career, and become their organisation’s future leaders.

Our recently released system, CPS, goes a step further and also examines Social Artifacts: The AI tool considers what other qualitative and quantitative information is available on public websites to augment social profiles. These may range from Google Scholar to IEEE, as well as Industry sources, high value candidate lists and premium sources and quality community forums. These additional information sources allow recruiters to gain insight into candidate values, interests, soft skills and cultural fit: Dimensions not apparent on public profiles such as LinkedIn.

  1. Enhancing candidate experience

In the age of Social Media, delivering candidates an exceptional experience is paramount: A poor candidate experience can damage your brand. Waiting to hear the outcome of an application (or not hearing at all) can take weeks, as can waiting for an interview. HR professionals frequently cannot respond in a timely fashion to the vast numbers of applications they receive. This process only demoralises candidates who already find the job application process stressful. They may share their frustrations with vast networks of friends on Social Media, which in turn colours others’ perception of your brand. AI can reduce the entire recruitment process time dramatically, and promptly advise candidates of the progress of their application and notify when they are no longer considered, while preserving your relationship with potential candidates.

AI has the potential to deeply transform how businesses recruit, as well as improve hiring success and enhance customer experience but it won’t replace HR professionals. Organisations will still depend on HR insight, leadership and strategic vision—capabilities that AI algorithms will never provide.


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About the contributor

Pip Eastman is the Managing Director for APAC Regional Solutions, RPO and Professional Search, Korn Ferry. She is responsible for the performance and growth of the APAC business; developing new clients, enhancing market presence and integrating RPO and Professional Search’s lines of business into existing clients. Pip has extensive experience in solution design. Her responsibilities included client development, contract and commercial negotiations, and the implementation, operational delivery, and continuous improvement of projects.

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