How much can you truly rely on AI for screening candidates?
Artificial intelligence is one of the most versatile tools businesses have at their disposal. Companies across different industries are using AI to bolster digital marketing efforts, automate workflows, boost cyber-security, and engage website visitors.
AI has proven its effectiveness in these areas many times over, and savvy business leaders are trying to find further applications for this revolutionary new technology. And what they’ve found is that AI can be used for certain tasks in the field of HR. However, not everyone is convinced that AI-powered HR assistants are such a good idea.
The main thrust behind these objections is the concern that AIs lack the ability to make nuanced judgments, which are necessary for determining whether a given applicant is a good fit for a particular job or role.
With that being said, not all tasks that fall under the jurisdiction of HR require this much care and precision. In fact, HR frequently involves a lot of tedious busywork, tasks that are necessary but require little skill apart from patience.
Examples of such tasks include candidate sourcing, screening, and interviewing. The repetitive nature of these tasks makes them unappealing for humans, but for an AI such concerns don’t matter.
The question then becomes whether an AI can perform these tasks as well as a living HR worker. And you can find our answer to this question in the remainder of this post.
Use-case Scenarios for AI in Recruiting
Artificial intelligence can be utilized by HR departments to speed up and simplify the performance of repetitive tasks. This makes it easier for recruiters to discover, classify, and reach out to the best candidates available. There are three main scenarios in which AI can provide assistance.
1. Sourcing Candidates
AI-powered recruiting tools can be used to find candidate resumes online, or within an in-house database. The AI conducts its search based on keywords you specify, and it produces a list of candidates that fit the description. Such tools can also keep candidates engaged throughout the recruiting process with real-time messages, updates, and notifications. More advanced versions of sourcing software can also start conversations with candidates via chatbot interface, thus eliminating the need to reach out to each individual in person.
2. Screening Candidates
Once you have a list of potential candidates, you can utilize automation for resume screening, allowing you to narrow down your list. Some tools use keyword analysis to determine the best candidates based on the content of their resume. Others use a variety of tests and quizzes to find the most promising candidates based on actual performance. Of the two methods, skill-based screening has been proven to be more accurate overall, with a higher success rate of finding the right person-job fit.
3. Interviewing Candidates
Finally, AI-powered tools can be used to conduct interviews with candidates. Some of the biggest players in IT such as Google and Facebook have started training AIs to recognize and understand facial expressions that candidates make during interviews. These are then used to infer certain personality traits about each candidate. Such AIs can also analyze interview transcripts in order to determine the candidates’ interests and knowledge. This can help recruiters better assess the candidates’ skills.
Benefits of Using AI in Recruiting
Even though AI-assisted recruitment is a relatively recent phenomenon, there is already ample evidence of its effectiveness. With the help of AI, recruitment teams have managed to up the quality of hire, save time and resources, and reduce hiring bias. Let’s go over these.
1. Reduced Hiring Costs
According to certain estimates, the cost of bringing a new employee on board can reach almost $5,000 and the bulk of this cost comes from conducting interviews. Simply put, you need a sizable HR department to screen candidates efficiently beyond a certain point, and most small to mid-size companies can’t afford the cost. Using AI for screening and hiring can keep these costs down significantly.
2. Identifying Candidates with Potential
Companies are increasingly competing to find talent to fill their ranks. And in order to stand out to attract the best candidates, they have to optimize their recruiting funnel. Thanks to the power of machine learning, AI hiring systems can analyze candidate data from multiple channels to find the most promising ones.
3. Efficient Interviews
AI tools can be used to conduct automated interviews with candidates. Their functionality includes guiding candidates through the interview process, assessing their answers, and finally ranking them against other candidates. Automated AI-powered interviews can reduce the time spent per candidate during a recruitment drive.
Downsides of Using AI in Recruitment
Despite its many advantages, AI-assisted recruitment has its share of downsides as well. The technology is still in its infancy, so this is to be expected. Nevertheless, these downsides do exist, which means that using AI for recruitment is not always the best option. And here is why.
1. Bias Proliferation
Despite their extensive problem-solving capabilities, AIs are still just tools. And if you improperly calibrate a tool, it is not likely to produce the intended results. In the context of this discussion, this is manifested in the form of AI bias. This means that if you feed an AI biased data, it will produce biased results.
Amazon found this out the hard way when they noticed that their recruitment AI is discriminating against female candidates due to the way it has been trained. So rather than being neutral owing to its machine nature, an AI recruitment tool can be less objective than a human recruiter.
2. The Risk of Offending Candidates
Another issue with AI in recruitment is the fact that candidates might not be too happy about being interviewed by a machine. A company that chooses to use an AI for a communication-based task such as hiring can come off as cold and uncaring. And since talent is in short demand, you don’t want to risk offending high-quality candidates by refusing to communicate with them in person.
3. Gaming the System
An AI is defined by a certain set of formal rules. And if a candidate knows what these rules are, they can subvert the AI by giving it the answers it wants. This means that lower-quality candidates can game the system in order to come out on top, which is obviously an outcome you want to avoid. This is a problem with automation in general – once you know how a system operates, it is easy to fool it.
AI-powered recruitment has the potential to revolutionize the recruitment process. All companies can benefit from AI, provided they make the effort to leverage its pros and diminish its cons. And once you understand what a recruitment AI can accomplish, you can proceed to implement it during your next recruitment drive.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.