With expert guidance from Remote’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Anastasia Pshegodskaya, we assess the pros and cons of AI-based recruitment.
“The global trend of shifting to remote hiring means leveraging technology in day-to-day hiring processes, which in turn bring us tons of high-quality data that AI can use for learning,” says Remote’s Anastasia Pshegodskaya. “We also see a greater adoption of technologies on the candidate side, with candidates starting to assess companies based on how advanced their interviewing processes and hiring tools are.”
AI is already proving advantageous for recruiters in a number of ways, boosting hiring efficiency through functions such as automation and data analysis. According to Anastasia, AI is helping recruitment teams to allay “the fear that has been haunting us for ages of whether we can trust cover letters and written exercises”, while “empowering companies to assess hundreds of applications in a fraction of a second”.
So, will AI be a positive or negative development in the world of recruitment?
What are the primary advantages of using AI in recruitment?
Anastasia identifies some of the leading advantages of using AI in recruitment:
- Improving the quality of hires. As many as 72% of all job applications are considered low-to-average quality. AI can improve candidate quality through targeted job ads, automated pre-employment assessments, and insights relating to body language and speech patterns during virtual interviews.
- Minimizing hiring bias. According to Anastasia, “Another fascinating ability of AI is to highlight inconsistencies in your hiring process that could be related to a lack of equity, diversity, and inclusion.” AI can help to reduce unconscious bias by screening candidate profiles through an objective lens.
- Reducing recruitment workflows. By streamlining job ad creation and posting, automating resume screening, and eliminating manual tasks such as candidate background-checking, AI can lighten the workloads of recruiters and create a more efficient end-to-end hiring process.
- Decreasing time-to-hire and cost-per-hire. While the average hiring process is thought to take up to 60 days, businesses may be able to decrease time-to-hire by up to 86% by leveraging AI. Moreover, AI can analyze factors such as sourcing channel efficiency to ensure the process is cost-effective as well as agile.
- Enhancing the candidate experience. AI technology can facilitate timely communication and expectation management throughout the hiring process, for example by communicating updates, informing candidates if they’ve been shortlisted or rejected, and providing feedback based on analysis of candidate applications.
What are the potential drawbacks of using AI in recruitment?
It’s important to also consider the additional challenges that automation can introduce to the hiring process, as Anastasia indicates some of the challenges AI presents:
- May not completely eliminate bias. Examples such as Amazon’s ill-fated attempt to automate its resume screening process show that AI is still susceptible to algorithmic bias. While the tech has advanced since then, the foundational assumptions of AI specialists may be biased — especially as more than 9 in 10 of them are male.
- Potential for manipulation. More than three-quarters of people believe AI can be manipulated to some extent in order to improve a candidate’s chances of being hired. During the initial screening stage, for example, candidates may find ways to ‘game’ AI technology by including very specific keywords in their resumes and cover letters.
- A more impersonal candidate experience. While in many ways AI can enhance the candidate experience, the hiring process may become overly impersonal if there is an over-reliance on automation. It’s imperative that you marry the efficiency-boosting capabilities of AI with human empathy and judgment.
- Accuracy issues. AI algorithms are increasingly capable of self-learning, but their effectiveness is largely dependent on the data they’re trained upon. Fed poor-quality or insufficient data, it’s possible that AI-based tools may return unreliable — or wholly inaccurate — information.
- Overlooking atypical qualities. AI models may disregard atypical skills and experiences that might be indirectly relevant or desirable. If an AI algorithm is trained to pick out very specific words and phrases within applications, for instance, it may overlook transferable skills and cause promising candidates to be passed over.
Is AI a friend or foe of recruiters?
“I can’t relate to those who are frightened by emerging technologies and live in fear of their jobs being replaced by AI,” says Anastasia. “Putting it bluntly, if you don’t want to be replaced by a robot, don’t act like a robot. Something that we should understand and accept for now is that AI can help you analyze so much information, build predictions, and generate new texts, but it doesn’t have the ability to make decisions on your behalf.”
AI can be used as a force for good when it comes to recruitment — and in reality, we’re yet to even realize the full potential of AI in advancing and augmenting hiring processes. “I’m a big believer in technology and how it can streamline processes and make our professional lives easier,” remarks Anastasia. “The opportunities are endless, and we are yet to see the full power of AI.”
It must also be considered, however, that as with any technology, AI has the potential to be misused and exploited. “We shouldn’t forget that AI has the ability to learn and replicate our behavior, so the cues we’re giving to it should serve good causes,” advises Anastasia. “However, I do believe the use of it forces hiring teams to get a better idea of what they’re looking for and formalize their hiring methodologies, which can never harm hiring outcomes.”
“The best HR professionals will aim to make AI a trusted friend,” says Anastacia. “They’ll learn to understand and use AI to make more informed, intelligent, and data-driven hiring decisions.” Crucially, 85% of HR professionals believe that AI will replace parts of the hiring process rather than the entire end-to-end operation, while many also argue that the technology will be more useful for recruiting in some industries than others.
“2023 has been a very challenging year so far for Talent teams,” notes Anastasia, who advises tapping into a global talent network to increase efficiency and enrich talent pools. “The potential of the global talent pool is huge and if you’re ready to adjust your hiring strategy to expand your geographies, this can become a game-changer. However, this can’t happen without the right tools and technology in place.”
How will you be using AI in your future hiring and recruitment processes?