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AI is changing the recruitment process. Here’s how

SOURCE: Jung Yeon-je / AFP
27% of recruiters have stated that AI has freed up their time.


By U2B Staff 

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Screening resumes efficiently and time-effectively are still some of the biggest challenges in the recruitment process —  a fact backed by numbers. 52% of talent acquisition leaders say the hardest part of recruitment is identifying the right candidates from a large applicant pool.

According to a survey of talent acquisition leaders, 56% say their hiring volume will increase this year, but 66% of recruiting teams will either stay the same size or contract.

The possibilities of automation always felt like some distant future, however, there’s no denying this future we thought we could only dream of, has already arrived. Due to the pandemic alone, the adoption of new technological behaviors, from video-conferencing to remote working, reached levels that were not expected until 2025 or even 2030. 

With automation and artificial intelligence infiltrating almost every industry or sector, HR and recruitment is on the verge of a total overhaul. The accelerated use of AI and machine learning by recruitment specialists over the past year has created jobs by the thousands. Somehow, today, these technologies have become essential prerequisites for enhancing recruiting efforts. 

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Recruiters have been utilising AI for around a decade, however, the technology has been greatly refined in recent years. Today, the demand is high —  thanks to its convenience. Fast results were necessary, in light of the pandemic, with many staffers forced to be absent. 

Vodafone was already using AI to sift through over 100,000 graduates applying for 1,000 jobs. With such a high volume of candidates, the company’s HR department recently teamed up with HR software company HireVue to test an AI application that removes human bias from the recruitment process. 

The system works by extracting as many as 25,000 data points from video interviews. It examines visual and verbal cues from candidates, comparing their word choice, facial movements, body language, and tone to help identify the best ones.

Utah-based HireVue’s AI system records videos of job applicants answering interview questions. The audio is then converted to text and analysed by an algorithm. The analysis aims to pick up on keywords. For example, it wants to know if an applicant uses the word “I” or “we” when asked about teamwork.

HireVue said that by September 2019 it had conducted a total of 12 million interviews, of which 20% were via the AI software. The remaining 80% were with a human interviewer on the other end of a video screen. The overall figure has now risen to 19 million, with the same percentage split.

Many other kinds of AI recruitment software are ticking all the boxes. Pymetrics, a New York-based firm, aims “to fairly and accurately measure cognitive and emotional attributes in only 25 minutes.” It’s trusted by a number of multinationals such as McDonald’s, JP Morgan, PWC, and Kraft Heinz. To land an interview with an actual recruiter, applicants will have to meet requirements — a decision left to the hands, or algorithms, of Pymetrics. 

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With more and more individuals on the lookout for employment, talent acquisition leaders are expecting hiring volume to increase in the next few years. This would mean recruiters will be expected to become more efficient. 

How can AI improve the recruitment process?

Well, for starters it’s incredibly precise, accurate, and fast. AI has an unparalleled ability to rapidly sift through millions of data points among candidates, enabling recruiters to quickly identify high-potential individuals suited for open roles. 

Additionally, AI allows recruiters to tap into a wider talent pool to source potential candidates. This includes scouring through online career boards, social media platforms, and even going through agency databases. 

What does this mean for future and existing recruiters?

Some recruiters worry AI will replace their roles. However, this is a common misconception. AI is capable of automating traditional tasks, meant to be used as a tool and not a replacement. Humans will always be needed to execute more pressing matters like making the final call and engaging with candidates on a more personal level. 

According to a recent survey by Korn Ferry, talent acquisition professionals are welcoming AI as a tool. Nearly 48% say big data and AI are making their roles easier, with 40 % saying it helps in providing valuable insights and 27% stating it has freed up their time.