Is it too early to invest in AI?

AI technology has the potential to reduce unconscious bias and help human stakeholders make hiring decisions.

Though the phrase "artificial intelligence" gets thrown around a lot today, the technology described isn't as smart as something you'd encounter in a science fiction movie. When businesses talk about their latest AI-enhanced product or service, they're typically referring to an algorithm - a set of rules - that can make some basic decisions without being explicitly programmed to do so.

In other words, today's AI solutions are tools like any other, meant to enhance the capabilities of the people who use them. In the world of recruitment, modern AI technology has the potential to reduce unconscious bias and help human stakeholders make hiring decisions.

"Employers who are looking for an edge to secure top talent in their respective candidate pools are increasingly willing to try newer technologies to enhance those efforts," says Joel Matos, Division Manager of Beacon Hill's Pharma Division in Chicago. "Like most technologies, AI's recruitment capabilities continue to evolve and the employers willing to embrace the continued enhancements of AI stand to gain a competitive edge on other organizations simply comfortable with traditional methods."

What AI can do for recruitment

While recruiters won't be bumping into robot counterparts at the water cooler any time soon, many have already encountered computer-assisted solutions in the wild. In fact, it may help to think of an applicant tracking system as a basic form of AI. By visualizing trends and creating recommendations, today's ATSs can already take out some of the bias human recruiters may unconsciously sow into their decisions.

NPR recently reported on a Swedish company that uses a digital assistant - like Siri or Alexa - to hold first-round interviews with candidates. This really isn't that much different than using a voice-activated phone tree. There's a series of questions with branching possibilities that probes candidates for their skills, experiences and attitudes - the same kind of information you could get from a questionnaire. The difference here is that the program can intelligently select which question to ask next.

That said, candidates may find it easier to speak with a vocal computer program, versus filling out questions on a webpage. Recruiters cannot ignore the element of candidate experience. If an AI solution is able to provide a more comfortable, fluid application experience, it could be worth the cost.

AI can eliminate some of the bias in the hiring process, but it can't make the tough decisions.

AI can't evaluate soft skills

It should come as no surprise that AI solutions treat candidates as sets of information. To a robot recruiter, candidates would be little more than a series of data points. When The Verge reporter Megan Farokhmanesh sat down with a piece of AI recruitment software, the program ranked her ability to stay on task, her attitude toward work and her ability to process information. While this data can certainly help recruiters make hiring decisions, it can't do it alone.

"The things that AI is not good at doing - or computers in general - is the soft skills," said AI company Frrole's CEO Somen Mondal. "[...] when it comes to 'is this person a good fit, can we negotiate with this person to get them,' those are clearly things that you need a human touch to manage."

Like any assessment, questionnaire or ATS, today's AI tools are meant to help recruiters make better decisions. They can be useful, but they're far from necessary to the hiring process.

Ultimately, your organization's decision to invest in AI will depend on its goals. The solutions discussed in this article may help some companies reach their growth goals, but there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution that can solve all of your hiring challenges. In fact, there's no completely automated solution for hiring. There needs to be a human element in the process to facilitate. Essentially, today's AI hiring solutions are meant to augment your people, not replace them.

For more information on how to find the best talent to meet your organization's needs, speak with an expert advisor from Beacon Hill Staffing Group today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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