Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

How AI will transform human resources

Whether you realise it or not, we are living in the age of artificial intelligence.

While scientists and sci-fi writers alike have been speculating and experimenting with AI for decades, the emergence of the current spectrum of artificially intelligent machines and software has perhaps been driven by one factor more than any other – the overwhelming abundance of data that organisations of all types have to deal with today. The sheer weight of data available to businesses and other entities is simply beyond the scope of human operators to sort, analyse and utilise. But with the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we now have the tools available to not only deal with this data, but to properly utilise it to deliver business insights and efficiencies.

This is as true in human resources as in any other sphere of business. Recruitment, in particular, is an area in which many HR professionals feel there is considerable scope for improvement. Jobatar’s HR Recruitment Trends Survey shows that most companies struggle to find qualified candidates for open positions – and that 39 per cent of recruiters are looking to streamline the process. Technology is clearly set to play its part in resolving these issues: a separate survey published in SHRM Magazine in February revealed that HR tech spending in 2016 is expected to be 46 per cent higher than in 2015.

What advantages can AI bring to human resources and recruitment? In the first instance, it has the potential to be a tremendously useful tool in the initial sorting of applications and CVs – applications can be quickly searched for relevant qualifications, experience, accreditations and skill sets in comparison to the role profile, making initial recommendations on which candidates should be rejected in the initial stages and which should be considered further.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. AI software would also have the ability to analyse application forms, written tests or exercises, applying machine learning to assess personal attributes and skills not only in comparison to a set profile, but perhaps also comparing qualities presented by candidates with those of the employer’s existing top performers – in an ideal scenario the AI system utilised in the recruitment process would also be linked to existing HR records and business and performance analysis tools.

It doesn’t stop with analysis of written matter, either. In recent years video interviewing has emerged as one of the most exciting and disruptive new technologies in the recruitment sector. Now imagine an AI tool capable of analysing not only candidates’ word choices and speech patterns in an interview, but also facial expressions, to provide an insight into personality and provide an assessment of how well the individual might fit into your company culture, brand, or even a specific department or team.

Recruitment by its very nature involves a degree of personal judgement by recruiters – which is a good thing – but the flip side of that is that there can also be an element of unconscious bias. Properly incorporating AI into the process has the potential to provide both an unbiased perspective, and insights that might not otherwise emerge. While it might be many years before we trust machines to make the final decision on whether to hire a candidate, the various AI technologies we’ve outlined above – and many more besides – already exist and are being used by recruiters in 2016. Can you afford to be left behind?