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What Should Recruiters Expect From Their Robot Colleagues?

How AI Is Impacting Recruitment?

When recruitment professionals talk about the rise of automation and increased use of AI, it’s not usually a happy conversation.

Many express their fear for the future and see automation as a force that destroys jobs. They imagine that AI and automation could change the work landscape in the same way that technological advances have in the past. (For example, in the motor industry where production lines run by robots led to the loss of many jobs.)
But a recent report from the Future of Work Commission says the opposite. Instead, the report recommends that the labour market should rely more on automation and AI.
This advice that has been echoed by global talent acquisition specialists Alexander Mann Solutions. Their Director of Consulting, Laura Padua, believes that automation can free up valuable time and resources. That will, in turn, free up staff to work on projects that have a greater economic impact for the company.

How can automation help?

Artificial Intelligence is being given practical applications in many different fields. You may have already come across an AI interface when visiting a website, guiding you through your experience or purchase.
Bot-related apps such as the financial management tool Cleo -which delivers information to users through Facebook chat- are growing in popularity. Cleo’s chatty, meme-filled messages are helping millennials stay one step ahead of their finances.

But it would be a mistake to write AI off as a tool to be used only for routine tasks. Earlier this month the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford revealed they had trialled an AI that could diagnose heart disease more accurately than a doctor. The software would be available to the NHS from this summer.

Why does the AI have the edge?

Because it uses general rules, rather than judgement, to inform its decisions. That leads to a more standardised result.
The power of AI is not in its broad intelligence; quite the opposite. Tasks best given over to AI are those that have clear rules that can be followed, an ‘if this, then do that’ structure where judgement isn’t required. This is known as narrow artificial intelligence.

But don’t get distracted. They carry out the action they are programmed to without thought or hesitation, and that’s where they have the edge over humans with our creativity. Even within HR there are opportunities to automate tasks. Imagine if applications were handled by an AI rather than a person. The software could receive CVs, send an acknowledgement email, check them over for suitability and track the applicant through the process.

Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

That scenario isn’t a mystical future. Beamery already offers application tracking as part of their candidate management software. It even uses social media to search out information about candidates that may be missing from their application. Alexander Mann has been offering a similar service for some time.
ThisWay Global is another company that uses AI to try and avoid bias. It creates matches based on skills and ignores less relevant criteria such as gender, race and age. That’s a great example of how AI may be able to help tackle some of the problems in recruitment, ensuring the best candidates make it through the process.

Rather than seeing AI as a threat, it could be taken as a logical extension of the increasing automation in recruitment. Candidates don’t personally address letters anymore, they apply for jobs by submitting their CV via listings on recruitment sites. With the number of applicants per job steadily increasing, using a narrow AI to filter them will free up experienced HR resources to do the things that make the difference to a business.

Rise of the Robots

AI is something that continues to make people uncomfortable, whether it be the nightmare scenarios painted in science fiction (and echoed by thought leaders like Elon Musk) or high profile stories of Facebook’s AIs getting out of hand. The majority of those concerns are focused on wide AI, which are experiments in creating a genuine intelligence rather than automation of simple tasks.

Narrow AI, however, seems set to grow. You’ll encounter it in chat windows when you visit websites or handling your telephone call when you have a query with your bank or insurance company. And who knows, if the recruitment industry takes the advice of experts and integrates more AI into workstream an AI may be what gets you your next job.

Sarah Dixon writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs.

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