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The Benefits and Hurdles of Using AI for Talent Acquisition

By Jori Hamilton

Talent Acquisition

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/artificial-intelligence-brain-think-4736369/

November 10 2020 - Today, saying that Artificial Intelligence in talent acquisition is just a "trend" would be naive. Like every other industry it has transformed, Artificial Intelligence has long taken the world of recruiting by storm, and how!

Over the last few years, more and more companies are jumping onto this wagon, and for good reason. An Ideal 2019 survey even reports that an astonishing 96% of senior HR professionals believe AI will greatly improve talent acquisition and retention, and 55% of HR managers see it becoming the norm within 5 years. These statistics only bolster what most of us already know: AI is here to stay. And though it brings us many boons, it would do businesses well to size up the challenges that come with it. Here's an overview of both:

Benefits

Streamlines Application Sourcing

Between LinkedIn, job portals, and getting the word out at career fairs, Recruitment Managers are running from pillar to post just to find potential candidates who will apply. Thankfully, AI can step right in and do it for them. With its ability to automate sourcing and seek out multitudes of applications at once, AI makes application sourcing a breeze for businesses, allowing them to access a greater quantity of entries to choose from.

Screens for Quality Candidates

Poring over piles of resumes looking for the 'right fit' is a thing of the past. Recruiters can now train algorithms to screen applications for keywords and metrics to determine who to shortlist. Moreover, technology has gone further, using predictive analysis to assess which candidates are more likely to stay, succeed and grow in the business - thereby creating a pool of quality candidates for recruiters to choose from.

Saves Time and Money

Imagine this: your recruiter has a task list of writing up an application post, posting it on several platforms, fielding responses, engaging and communicating with candidates, scanning resumes, and eventually setting up interviews. With a laundry list like this one, not much can get done in a day. Throw in canceled meetings, ghosting applicants, or just plain human error - and you're losing money by the minute. Investing in AI for talent acquisition is a no-brainer here. The aforementioned Ideal report includes a telling statistic - HR managers claim they lose an average of 14 hours a week in manual tasks alone, which means less time to focus on things that actually matter: people. With AI on their side, businesses can cut processes short, go after the candidates they really want, and fill positions faster.

Improves Candidate Communication

Communication is a tricky thing. When it comes to reaching out to candidates, a human touch is important. However, miscommunication can sour a potential hire. Candidates can be left frustrated when a recruiter takes too long to respond, comes off as cold, or they just can't understand each other. Utilizing AI chatbots, businesses can improve their candidate relationship management and engage with applicants in a meaningful way - offering them timely responses, relevant answers, and continuous assistance.

The list of AI advantages goes on and includes notable benefits like market forecasting, ad optimization, candidate discovery and rediscovery, and so on. However, it's important we look at the flipside, and explore the hurdles businesses may face or plan for when using AI for talent acquisition.

Challenges

Privacy and Ethics Concerns

With AI recruitment technologies hoarding so much candidate data, it's of utmost importance that companies respect the privacy and data of their applicants. People hand in personal contact information, addresses, and work history and expect that this data is protected. With this in mind, businesses must be cognizant of how they use the data they collect and be sure no ethical boundaries are crossed.

Potentially Introduces Bias

The notion that AI is objective is a flawed one. Yes, it is objective, but only to a point. This is because behind the algorithms and technology are real, vulnerable, consciously, and unconsciously biased human beings. As USC Annenberg states, biases based on race, gender, age, socio-economic status, and so on could all negatively affect the hiring process and must be avoided. A tip for businesses - ask your AI providers what they've done to mitigate human bias in their programs. Some options include psychological profiling and/or predictive analysis.

AI Can Be Impersonal

Human connection is the most important part of the hiring process, so while AI can take care of menial tasks it's up to recruiters to do what they're best at. Candidates shouldn't feel alienated by generic messaging from a one-way screen. To avoid this, HR managers should regularly step into the process to make sure candidates are still engaged. AI takes care of the brunt of work, but this is only meaningful when HR departments use it to create even better candidate experiences.

AI is coming up as the norm in talent acquisition. However, it doesn't have to and shouldn't take over the process. To ensure a healthy and efficient balance, organizations should focus on creating policies on how they use AI, keeping things like fairness and transparency in mind. Despite the few hurdles that businesses may face when using AI for talent acquisition, the pros outweigh the cons - making this an investment worth making. At the end of the day, AI should be viewed as a technology that exists to assist us to hire better, not replace us.

About the author

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.



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