Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

SMEs give green light to AI powered recruitment

More than three quarters (79%) of HR managers in British small businesses are excited or optimistic about using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to find future employees. One in four are keen to start using the technology in their business right away.

This is according to new research* from online recruitment platform SomeoneWho, which surveyed 500 SME HR managers about their attitudes to technology, robotics and AI.

More than half (50.5%) described themselves as ‘optimistic’ about the changes, while a quarter (28%) are ‘excited’ about the new approach.

One in four are prepared to start testing the new technology in their own recruitment – while a further two thirds would consider it for the future.

Andrew Saffron, co-founder of SomeoneWho, the new recruitment technology platform that commissioned the research, commented on the findings: “HR professionals are clearly open to new ways of finding talent. And who could blame them? Traditional recruitment methods are expensive and time-consuming.

“Our research also tells us SME recruiters are struggling with prejudice and bias in their screening process. Just one in three HR decision-makers were confident they showed no prejudice when hiring. Screening tools and AI learning offer the opportunity to level the playing field and recruit based on merit,” Saffron added.

It won't be all smooth sailing when it comes to integrating the new technology - a fifth of HR decision-makers said they were terrified about the technology or dubious about its ability to find the right staff.

A lack of personal touch was cited as the biggest concern – listed by 50% of HR managers. Taking jobs away from people (33%), security and hacking worries (36%), and tech failure or errors (32%) were the other issues that ranked highly. Almost a third (29%) of HR managers were concerned recruits would adjust their CV and try to out-fox the technology.

Saffron concluded: “Technology like AI presents a huge opportunity for small teams, but there’s still a long way to go – just 4% are currently using the tech. However, matching algorithms and screening technologies are the first step towards an automated, more efficient recruitment model.”

* Research survey of 500 HR managers and decision makers in SMEs, conducted in August 2017