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AI vs. EQ. The Rise of the Machines in the Recruitment Industry

Kingsley Recruitment, Artificial Intelligence and Recruitment Industry

Andrew Kingsley

The rise of the machines is coming to the recruitment industry.

Don't panic.

Think more Jarvis in Iron Man, than Terminator. And if it sounds like science fiction nonsense, then think again. AI is already embedded in most business processes around the world.

So, what is AI?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is “a collection of advanced technologies that allow machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn.” (Accenture, Artificial Intelligence). I bet you are still thinking about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Why does it matter?

AI is the next technological seismic shift and it is already transforming how we work, the skills we need and what we do. 

Dramatic technological change has happened before; once in 1913, when the Ford Motor Company introduced the assembly line, and again in the 1990s with the invention of desktop computing. Now AI is set to turn us inside out and upside down.

What does it mean for recruiters and employers?

Lots of companies are using AI to improve and innovate in millions of ways, so companies now have skills shortages in people with AI skills and the talent pool is small.

What does it mean for the recruitment industry?

AI is lauded as the ultimate partner for recruitment consultants. Not only can it help to minimise the search time for candidates, but it can also automate assessments and guard against selection bias.

Companies like Ideal, an AI recruitment automation software company promote the benefits as:

  • Time-saving - “screening resumes and shortlisting candidates to interview is estimated to take 23 hours of a recruiter’s time for a single hire” (Ideal, AI for Recruiting).
  • Quicker screening can also mean reducing time to hire, thereby reducing costs. It also means preventing the risk of losing talent to your competitors.
  • Better job matching means increased retention rates.
  • Reduced admin time through automated scheduling and cancelling of interviews using bots.

Recruitment assistants, like Mya, can interface with ATS systems and speak directly with candidates, clarify qualifications or gaps in CVs, shortlist and schedule them for interview. She (yes she’s a woman) can answer any questions that the candidate has by using her evolving natural language processing.

AI is promising a completely new way of finding talent, especially finding passive talent. LinkedIn, which is 15 years old now, has realised that this is the new way forward and has recently acquired Connectifier.

“These days most recruiters use LinkedIn to find people, but it’s not enough. Enter AI recruitment. AI uses bots to crawl the web and scour hundreds of sites including personal websites, meetup groups, and tech chat rooms, in addition to social media sites. Not only do these bots find a good match, but they also predict the likelihood that someone is open to a job change.”  (Source: Forbes, "Traditional Recruiting Isn’t Enough,” Gal Among, Feb 9, 2018)

That sounds like it could be a line from Transcendence. AI being able to read our minds from our online presence seems scarily invasive.

What does it mean for the future of recruitment?

If you stuck to reading social media, the future seems disruptive. Uber-disruptive, Netflix-disruptive!

“Just like Uber disrupted the ride-sharing industry, technology firms using AI and machine learning will improve the recruitment industry,” (Among, 2018).

And the headlines get more alarming:

When is AI going to disrupt recruitment?

Information Age

Will a robot recruiter be hiring you for your next job?

The Guardian

Embracing disruption in the recruitment sector”

Barclay’s Corporate

Recruitment Industry will die in 2018

Oleg Vishenpolsky, CTO at Daily Mail Online and

It’s sounding a bit ‘Termintator-esque’ again.

We believe recruitment is future proofed

While there are many advantages to the use of AI in the recruitment process, we believe that at the heart of recruitment is, and always will be, the human element. While we utilise some automation tools to help us with sourcing, selecting and screening, as consultants, we do what AI cannot.

Enter the rise of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

What we offer are the uniquely human skills of personal networking, empathy, emotional intelligence (EQ). Furthermore, we provide the following:

  • We give candidates confidence they need to get through an interview.
  • We get to know our clients, understand their needs and their culture to help interpret who will be the right fit.
  • We provide industry expertise and understanding of the job market from personal, real-world experience.
  • We can make connections from the client to our network of talent.
  • We can determine who will be the right fit based on more than just a match of skills.
  • We find quality candidates - some of whom may not have an online presence or may have a poorly written CV, but outstanding skills and experience.

We know our candidates and our clients inside and out. As it stands right now, we believe the human element of recruitment is intrinsic.

Yes, AI can and should improve our efficiency and business processes, but not replace.

So, is the future bright?

For Daugherty and Wilson, authors of “Human + Machine: Reimaging Work in the Age of AI”, the role of humans in this new workspace is one of alliance. It also means managers having to work at speed to create an organisational culture that can adapt to the new ways of working with AI.

Research conducted by Accenture looking at companies already using AI and concluded that “human ingenuity is enhanced by speed and precision,” of AI and will help reinvent business processes but not displace.

Instead of displacing humans, Accenture believes that new jobs can be unlocked which depend on the human/machine interaction.

In “Human + Machine” there are six new roles or alliances that the authors believe will form in the future:

  • Trainers
  • Explainers
  • Sustainers
  • Amplifiers
  • Interactors
  • Embodiers

For recruitment consultants, we have a place as both trainers and explainers – there to provide the social and emotional intelligence to AI. So however disruptive the future may seem now, it is not as scary as the headlines make out. Learning to trust AI will take a long time, but, it doesn’t mean that recruiters can sit back. This technology is coming and we need to get an understanding of it quickly.

Where can I find out more?

  • IDEAL – everything there is to know about AI for the recruitment industry.
  • LinkedIn – 9 ways AI will reshape recruiting and how you can prepare.
  • Mya – An example of an AI recruitment assistant
  • Recruiter Top 10 Tech Tools for Corporate Recruiters

1. Daugherty, Paul R. and Wilson, H.J. Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2018.