Robots and Recruiters: What the Future Could Hold

June 23, 2016

Attention recruiters: the robots are coming. You may have heard the term “artificial intelligence” or “AI” to describe innovations like self-driving cars, and household robots such as the Amazon Echo. But, it is entering the business world too.

In recent years, there have been a number of breakthroughs that make it easier for companies to incorporate AI into their everyday operations. And, this includes recruiting. In fact, according to one TechCrunch forecast, AI accounted for 5% of all VC investments in 2015.

So, we wondered: What exactly could AI mean for recruiting and how could it help? To find out, we asked hiring managers  to share what technologies would be most valuable to them—featuring both use cases and concepts that are still in their idea stages. Some ideas are just that—ideas on a wishlist. Others are already in play. Here’s what they shared:

1. More efficient screening and candidate communications

Nominated by: Sean Falconer, Co-Founder and CTO at

It’s well-known that recruiters have limited time to spend on sifting through applications.

“Screening is a huge area that needs improvement,” says Falconer. “Recruiters can only spend seconds or minutes filtering through candidates because they receive so many applications.”

To date, the process has required human attention to detail and is prone to error as a result. According to Falconer, an AI bot has the potential to alleviate some of these pain points.

“I’d like to see technology that assesses candidates from a holistic, human perspective,” says Falconer. “The recruiter or hiring manager would be able to specify certain types of experiences and personality traits that they are seeking out. The AI could screen for these traits, along with checking the candidate’s social media accounts, references, and work histories.”

Most importantly, the AI could help recruiters maintain more consistent candidate communications.

“The AI would also be able to assure the candidate that their information is being evaluated so that the candidate knows something is actually happening with their resume. Most people that apply to jobs apply into a black box without any feedback about the process. This leads to negative feelings about the company and hurts the potential relationship.”

From a screening perspective, AI has the potential to close the loop with potential candidates, resulting in more efficient interactions and faster time to hire.

2. Better timing for reaching out to candidates

Nominated by: Ian Cluroe, Head of Global Brand & Marketing at Alexander Mann Solutions

Hiring passive candidates is tough: it’s impossible to know whether someone is truly ready to make a move. But what if you had a crystal ball in the form of machine learning technology to give you a heads up?

“We’ve been working with a company called Joberate, which is an intelligent intuition tool that helps companies know when it’s the right time to make a job offer to a candidate based on interpreting signals from their social media fields,” says Cluroe.

Instead of relying on guesswork when sourcing passive candidates, recruiters can reach out to potential hires at the exact time that they’re ready to make a move. Joberate, for instance, monitors social media behaviors that correlate with someone being ready to make a transition.

“That will enable recruiters to focus on their relationships with hiring managers and candidates, rather than being bogged down in administrative tasks,” says Cluroe.

3. The ability to predict if a candidate will be in it for the long haul

Nominated by: Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics

One of the biggest goals of recruiting is often the toughest to achieve: finding the right match. And at most companies, recruiters and hiring managers find themselves relying on indirect measures of fit—or even pure intuition. AI can help alleviate the challenge of connecting people to jobs.

“Think of it this way: most hiring managers don't have time to cull through all the information on a candidate,” says Eggers. “They skim a resume, maybe do a basic search and then make a call. What if the system told you who was a good match and why?”

Such a system could aggregate data from multiple sources and come up with a prediction for whether candidates will be engaged in their roles over the long-term.

“We can get much deeper than today’s human and technology-powered workflows but summarize that effectively so that humans can make the decisions on matching,” says Eggers.

The bottom line: AI can improve the process of matchmaking for a role.

4. Real world simulations that assess candidates’ learning abilities

Nominated by: William Hall, VP of Learning and Development at Simulation Studios

One of the most important traits that high performers share is adaptability. But how do you capture a concept as obscure as someone’s willingness to learn? Today, recruiters rely on a mix of personal anecdotes and peer references to assess candidates. As Hall points out, however, these perspectives are often incomplete.

“Stories are just words,” says Hall. “There’s no replacement for seeing your candidates in action.”

Using artificial intelligence, recruiters can run business simulations that predict how candidates will respond to real world situations and changing scenarios. These may be applications that run on computers or mobile devices and adapt to interviewing processes in real time.

“Using simulations, a hiring manager or recruiter can gauge problem-solving skills and teamwork capabilities in real-time,” says Hall. “The goal is to learn more about candidates by surfacing their learning and critical thinking skills.”

For instance, if you’re hiring a customer support rep, you can walk through actual examples of common challenges and see how the interviewee responds in real-time. In other words, you can see a personality trait in action vs. hearing about it from a second-hand story.

AI can help illuminate adaptability, critical thinking capabilities, and problem-solving in action.

Final thoughts

The tools that emerge are ones that will tackle recruiting pain-points head-on, allowing companies to focus on forging and strengthening candidate relationships. Keep your eyes and imagination open for tools that can make your life easier.

*Image by clement127

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