If history has taught us anything, it’s that few tech revelations succeed at the first try. 3D technology took no less than three efforts to gain mainstream momentum (and has since been relegated, once again, to the screens of expensive cinemas).
Virtual Reality made an unconvincing debut in the 90s, but spent the next 20 years in dormancy – with only a hefty price tag allowing a return with its true vision uncompromised.
Artificial Intelligence, aside from our brief 90s fascination with the slightly terrifying Furbies, has conversely waited in the wings until its household debut was nothing less than transformative. Now, in the dawn of ‘Big Data’, AI has a wealth of digital knowledge with which to poke at its digital brain cells.
For the recruitment sector, AI presents some exceptional possibilities. For all the industry’s tech disruptions, it’s the one that’s shouting loudest; extolling the virtues of information-driven recruitment, CV keyword searching and intelligent candidate matching. But how reliable is it – and can an inherently human service be trusted with our robot overlords AI companions?
Let’s put those initial fears to bed: recruitment automation won’t replace the human element of the recruitment process. Instead, it’ll compliment it, automating the selection process so that human touch can be better delivered. With that said, what sort of automation can recruiters expect to be adopting?
The laborious task of talent acquisition – be that searching for new recruits or rediscovering old ones – might be a good place to start. The automation software for document scanning already exists, so it’s not as if it’s hard to do a quick text search for specific titles or talents hidden amongst all those CVs. Yet AI can potentially go further – scanning each document for previous experiences, age, years in the industry and so on, before arriving at an estimated ‘score’ for a client’s suitability to a role.
With the wealth of CVs that recruiters keep on file, this could also ensure that older applicants aren’t forgotten, and are considered for roles based on their ability - rather than how close they are to the top of that ever-growing pile.
The struggle of arranging interview times that suit both recruiters and applicants is long-documented, and precisely why so many recruiters rely on Remote Working solutions. With the ability to work from outside the office, why rush between candidate interviews when they can be conducted over video chat? Not least when that video chat is assessing the candidate.
Well, okay, not exactly. But AI-infused video conferencing tools are readily available, and their application is astounding, albeit a little creepy. Facial recognition software can now scan for subtle clues in an interviewee’s manner, including body language, facial expression and even tone of voice. It’s clever stuff, assuming it works correctly; facial recognition cameras, currently being trialled by UK police, are enduring harsh scrutiny for their often-inaccurate results, so the accuracy of software that does more besides can likely be called into question.
If we were to be even more critical, software such as this could effectively rob the interview process of that all-important human touch. AI might pick up on visual clues, but it doesn’t have the empathy to question the reasons for those awkward expressions or guarded body postures. It’s perhaps too early to denounce this technology, but for now we’d file it cautiously under “pipe dream”.
According to research by Montage Talent, 44% of job applicants believe they’d been discriminated against in job searches – deliberately or otherwise. 56% of those people believe that an AI solution would provide less biased results.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that this might not be the case. Amazon, a company with more than enough data to fuel a respectable AI solution, began trialling an AI recruitment tool for their company: it eventually taught itself sexism, and gave all the good jobs to men.
It’s an isolated example, for sure, but it does highlight how, be it human or AI, unconscious bias can fracture a fair recruitment process. Nowadays, diversity solutions are based on consultation and data sourcing, with conscious efforts made to ignore, or outright remove, ethnicity, sex and other avenues for discrimination from applicant profiles. This can also work in reverse – highlighting successful applicants and denoting their sex, age race and so forth. That way, recruiters can ensure that fair representation is being achieved.
Recruitment technology is unlikely to replace the role of a dedicated recruiter, but that’s not to say it can’t evolve to assist, accelerate and improve the placement process.
Thankfully, tools to help companies automate effectively are readily available. Managed Print software might sound unlikely, but it now makes sensitive documentation more easy to edit and manage than ever, with software such as Papercut 19.0 and Develop Convert+Share going beyond the basic capabilities of print and scanning. Meanwhile Microsoft’s own solutions, such as Power Bi, provide powerful business analytics that let recruiters find jobs from the criteria that truly matters.
The MTeam are able to assist our clients within the Recruitment sector transform their IT into a truly powerful, secure and GDPR compliant part of their business strategy.
Is Your Recruiting Within Regulations? GDPR still a 4 letter word?
For more invaluable advice for recruiters our eBook, GDPR Considerations for the Recruitment Industry, outlines the legal and secure protection of your candidates’ personal details.