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Recruitment
Lezly D’Limi

Five alternatives to using AI in the recruitment process

Authors
Lezly D’Limi
Technology
4 minute Read

Artificial intelligence as a support tool for recruitment has become a growing industry. A quick Google search will show everything from automated candidate search tools, to resume screening and scheduling apps and chatbots, to video analysis of the candidate. There’s a lot of talk about how AI makes the job of recruiting talent so much easier, helps you find the best people and even supports new employee onboarding.

I have my doubts. That’s not to say there aren’t benefits to AI in recruitment, but rather that AI should always be used in conjunction with a human recruitment agent or human resources person. AI can highlight key words but it can’t read between the lines or recognise talented people who may not have up-to-date or on-target resumes. It is only as good as you train it to be and in the current tight labour market, it can’t adjust to the broader parameters and flexibility needed to recruit people.

What AI can do well is automate mundane tasks such as screening for professional licenses, credentials and references or picking out keywords from a resume. Anything else is a pipedream. We have seen companies try to automate a lot of recruitment activities only to wind that process back when they discover the solutions over-promise and under-deliver. 

Some software claims to be able to analyse a candidate’s personality based on what they say and by assessing their body language. But early demos show this capability has a long way to go. 

Then there’s the issue of getting a candidate to agree to sit in front of a computer and answer questionnaires. If you’re interviewing someone for a high-level role, what that tells your candidate is you don’t consider it worth your time to have a conversation with them, so it’s unlikely those experienced personnel would give you the time of day. And if you’re recruiting on lower salary grades, you have to take into consideration that many people in these areas aren’t technologically savvy, so automating the interview process is onerous and pointless. 

There have also been claims that AI can overcome bias in the screening and hiring process. But it still has to be trained and the biases of its programmer will be copied by the AI program. As one expert commented recently, “Because algorithms and other forms of software are trained using data from human societies, they often replicate the biases and attitudes of those societies”. That’s hard to avoid. 

How about the technology currently on offer? When it comes to AI innovation, Australia is behind other countries, particularly the US, where use of AI in recruitment is more widespread. There are very good reasons for that. Unlike the US and China, we outsource almost all our manufacturing, and it’s really in large-scale manufacturing that automation is most advantageous. 

Nevertheless, companies and recruiters do use various useful tools to support the search for talent and to help with decision-making when selecting the right person for a position. Here are five tools that are increasingly important in the recruitment process.

Five recruitment-tool alternatives to AI

1

Talent assessment tools

These recruitment assessment tools can be customised to position types and applicants can be asked to complete these to demonstrate their skill level in their particular field.

2

Applicant tracking software

Companies and recruiters get hundreds of applications for some positions, often from people who are unqualified for the position. Tracking tools can help recruiters narrow the pool, while keeping track of all applications. There are hundreds of different ATS solutions on the market now and it’s been estimated that 80% of mid to large-size companies make use of them.

3

Candidate relationship management (CRM) software

Every good recruiter is keenly focused on relationship management — it’s how we know who to reach out to when a position becomes available that would fit a specific person.

4

Mobile applications

It doesn’t matter what you do or where you are, everyone uses mobile devices today, so you need to make sure candidates can apply for jobs through their phones or other mobile devices.

5

Social networks or social recruiting

Social media platforms are fast gaining traction in the recruitment world. In fact, one survey found that 92% of employers use social media or professional platforms like LinkedIn to recruit talent.

Even with increased investment AI, which inevitably will come in Australia, to get the best people, you need that emotional intelligence that can only come with human-to-human interaction. Deciding who to hire is partly down to the experience and skills that the applicant has — factors that AI can screen for — but it’s also down to instinct and getting a sense of whether that person will fit well with the organisation. And AI is a long way from replicating real emotional intelligence.

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