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Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment: What It Can and Can’t Do

Image of computer with code on the screen

Artificial intelligence and its role in recruitment have been topics of interest for years, but we’re hitting a turning point in that conversation. Teams are starting to see AI for what it is: a support tool to increase productivity. But there are still some inflated expectations to manage.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

Gartner’s recently published 2021 Hype Cycle for Human Capital Management Technology explored how AI in Talent Acquisition is currently hitting the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” stage in its hype cycle. They define that stage as, “During this phase of overenthusiasm and unrealistic projections, a flurry of well-publicized activity by technology leaders results in some successes, but more failures, as the innovation is pushed to its limits.” 

In simplest terms, everyone is in danger of expecting AI to do more than it can.

That means that we need to do a better job of being transparent about the uses and limits of artificial intelligence in recruitment.

What Artificial Intelligence Can’t Do

Like any technology, artificial intelligence has limits. Contrary to the sci-fi movies we hold dear, today’s AI doesn’t look like C-3PO. In reality, artificial intelligence is simply a “simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions.” The keyword there? Mimic.

In reality, artificial intelligence is built to mimic what a human might do. The AI we’re working with today (especially the artificial intelligence in recruitment) simply can’t think or function entirely independently.

AI Can’t…Replace Recruiters

We talked about some common automation myths on our blog, but it’s worth repeating: Today’s artificial intelligence cannot (and should not) replace human recruiters. While artificial intelligence is excellent for tasks, it starts to fail when it comes to building relationships. Recruitment is an industry that relies on relationships which means that artificial intelligence is incapable of successfully replacing human recruiters. Artificial intelligence should complement recruiting teams – allowing them to do better work faster, not one that replaces them.

AI Can’t…Work Without Good Data

Artificial intelligence isn’t going to provide you with good data nor fix your bad data. AI relies entirely on clean, quality, and normalized data to work at all. As our founder, Shon Burton said in a recent webinar, “Data enables or denies the capability of automation and artificial Intelligence.” Since quality AI will take good data to help you make a good decision faster, the inverse is also true: In the absence of good data, AI will make a bad decision faster.

If you’re applying artificial intelligence in recruitment, you have to start by looking at your data. How accurate is it? How complete is it? Our founder talked about the role of data, talent intelligence, and AI in a recent Subject to Talent podcast episode. Listen here!

What Artificial Intelligence Can Do

It’s not all doom and gloom! While artificial intelligence may not be the best at functioning without support, you’re on the right track when you pair AI with human skills and intelligence.

AI Can…Visualize Data to Complement Recruiter Skills

When applied over quality and clean data, AI has a spectacular ability to visualize that data and support quality decision-making in recruiting teams. AI is excellent at highlighting data trends a human eye may not see. For example, tools like HiringSolved can show trends in your data that allow you as the user to contextualize your hiring needs and decisions.

AI Can…Score and Qualify Candidates

With the right data and a little bit of human input, AI can support automated decision-making. Artificial intelligence is fully capable of taking structured data (like a job description), matching it to a separate set of structured data (like well-formulated application questions or resume experience), and qualifying candidates to ensure that the most qualified candidates are never missed.

By bringing in human interaction, like marking whether a candidate is a fit or not, the AI can also learn and become even more capable of supporting your recruiting process.

AI Can… Improve Productivity and Increase Usage of Existing Tools/Resources

Since it needs tools like quality databases and human intelligence to be functional, using artificial intelligence in recruitment makes for an excellent support and optimization tool for existing processes. 

AI, when used correctly, automates good decision-making. It leads users to decisions faster while providing data to support those decisions. By applying the right AI-based technology, users can expect to save hours in their day.

Why are we so passionate about artificial intelligence in recruitment? Because we love recruiting. We believe that recruiting technology should help people stay human, find meaningful work, and build inclusive workplaces. But those goals can only be achieved when we understand the capabilities and the limitations of technology.