How to Prep for the Age of AI in Recruiting

August 31, 2017

In 2027, HR and recruiting will look way different, and artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots will play a big part in that disruption. They’re already starting to make an impact today—in a decade, they’ll be essential tools. Companies will know exactly when candidates are ready for a new job and reach out proactively, resumes will be screened by algorithms, and applicants will go through automated video interviews conducted by bots.

That’s the prediction of Adelyn Zhou, CMO of the AI strategy firm TOPBOTS and featured guest on this week’s Talent on Tap. “But the one thing that will stay the same,” she says, “is that there will definitely still be a human element of [recruiting].”

In fact, the rise of AI and bots could make recruiters’ jobs more human than ever. It won’t be a hostile tech takeover like some fear—AI and bots will work together with recruiters, rather than replacing them.

Watch the video below and read on to learn how recruiters will work tomorrow’s tech—and how you should start preparing today.

Bots, AI, and the tasks they’ll tackle for recruiters—from sourcing to screening

Before diving into what this new tech can do for recruiters, let’s clarify the difference between bots and AI. As Adelyn explains, candidates can interact with bots on something like Facebook Messenger, but the bots aren’t necessarily intelligent. The simplest bots just follow a clear script, asking certain questions and spitting out a few pre-written answers. Smarter bots include virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa.

Artificial intelligence is a bigger, behind-the-scenes technology that Adelyn likens to electricity, powering everything without being seen. AI generally refers to how computers can analyze data, arrive at answers, and learn as they go—for example, your Netflix recommendations are powered by a sort of AI.

Both bots and AI can take some of the most mundane tasks off of recruiters’ plates, like scheduling interviews, answering common questions, and parsing a pile of resumes to pre-screen candidates with the right qualifications.

Besides the busywork, bots and AI can also make recruiters more efficient with valuable intel. By analyzing hundreds of factors, predictive AI could identify the passive candidates who are most receptive to new jobs—increasing recruiters’ response rates dramatically.

This technology could even conduct and assess interviews—in fact, it’s already happening. You can find software today that analyzes video and audio interviews based on facial and vocal recognition, indicating which candidates would make the best salespeople.

There will still be a place for recruiters—you can’t replace that human touch

While technology can and will get better at automating the most mundane recruiting tasks, it won’t be putting recruiters out of a job.

On the contrary, smarter tech will free up recruiters to focus on the human elements of talent acquisition: judging soft skills, enticing candidates, conveying the company culture, negotiating compensation, and making the ultimate hiring decisions.

AI and bots can’t replicate those skills—they can’t tell stories or assess the finer points of emotional intelligence—at least not until we get into true sci-fi territory decades down the road.

With richer, more actionable insights in hand, recruiters will be even better at their jobs. It won’t just be easier to reach receptive candidates: you’ll also be able to research candidates quickly and in more detail, allowing you to hyper-personalize your approach.

To prepare for an AI-driven future, recruiters should invest time in current tech and soft skills

Seeing the future and knowing what to do about it are two separate things. It seems inevitable that AI will be a huge part of recruiting in a few years—but that doesn’t mean recruiters need to start studying computer science.

Adelyn recommends that recruiters take two courses of action.

First, acquaint yourself with how AI is impacting recruiting today and get to know the tech solutions your team already has at its disposal. In the future, AI capabilities will likely be integrated into your existing software, rather than being something completely different. Mastering the current technology will allow you to be an effective early adopter when AI tactics trickle down.

Secondly, double down all your soft skills that can’t be replaced by technology: making candidates feel comfortable, selling your company culture, and personalizing your outreach are evergreen skills that will serve you well for years to come.

While it’s easy to fear that technology will render recruiters obsolete, just the opposite is true. When recruiters work with tomorrow’s tech, they’ll gain the freedom to be all the more human.

Talent on Tap is a weekly series where Pat Wadors and Brendan Browne break down some of the hottest topics, biggest challenges, and most enticing opportunities in the world of talent. Talent on Tap will also give you an opportunity to hear from other organizational leaders, subject matter experts, and thought leaders in the space. Stay tuned each week for the latest.

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