There is a ghost hanging around recruiting: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) changes recruiting fundamentally. In a few years, personnel management will be completely automated. Some technologies – such as “bots” and “big data analysis” – are used already today from job posting to onboard hires into companies. Others are close to, such as the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). To summarise, they all belong to the subject of “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) or “Cognitive Computing”. Meant with this are all technologies for the automation of intelligent behaviour and machine learning: The goal is to replicate human-like decision structures. Computer programs are created or programmed to learn to handle problems independently.

Machines are just better recruiters

For some of you, this technological development might be scary. But be assured it can hardly be stopped. The background is the growing pressure in recruiting: Vacancies have to be filled fast and sustainable. To achieve this, candidates and job positions (and not just company culture!) have to fit as perfectly as possible, this means “matching” is crucial. Intelligent systems with their ability to precisely process gigantic amounts of data in a short time already offer numerous application possibilities today such as:

Bots: Most of them are computer programs, which largely work automatically on recurring tasks. They do not necessarily count towards artificial intelligence, but there are also those who “learn”. This means that they can independently generate “knowledge” from “experience” and thus act intelligently. For example, recruiters or HR managers can use bots, to have questions been answered by candidates.

Big Data Analysis: Perfect for campus recruiting. Many larger companies have organized programs at colleges and universities to recruit and hire students. With the technologies for processing and evaluating huge amounts of data, it is possible to recruit many graduates directly from the university. With Big Data Analysis you can exactly determine which person with which grades from which university fits with which open positions.

Augmented or Virtual Reality (AR / VR): The different technologies in this area generate a virtual world and allow the user to perceive themselves as part of it. Anyone who thinks that this is something for future labs is wrong: International companies are already using AR / VR for interviews, where potential employees are sent the familiar AR / VR glasses and thus they look around virtually in the new working environment before the interview. We are not far away from “Beam me up, Scotty”.

Speech Recognition: Speech Recognition systems need a minute of speech to determine the personality. The decisive factor is not what is said, but how it is said. This technology can also be used during a telephone interview (with the permission of the candidate). If that scares you – it’s getting even worse.

Facial Action Coding System (FACS) or Video Assessment: Based on a psychology-based coding method for describing facial expressions, the technology is currently used primarily to combat terrorism. One and a half minutes are enough to determine the personality of 43 muscles in a person’s face. Adding eye movement, gesture and tone of voice. The perfect personality match is close to be completed.

Automated Matching: The “dating for jobs”. We rely on intelligent systems when it comes to finding partners for life. The technology works just as good as when it comes to finding the right candidates: feedback is provided to both parties, recruiters and candidates. Benefits of artificial intelligence in recruiting No matter how these technologies are evaluated, the fact is: artificial intelligence has the potential to solve current recruiting challenges:

  • 73% of job seekers are passive job seekers: For humans, it is hardly possible to find these, for machines, however, already possible (2017: LinkedIn study).
  • Top performers have a new job within 10 days: With AI, the recruitment process can be greatly shortened.
  • Machines are unbiased: Computers make their decisions neutrally, without the unconscious bias typical made of humans. Emotions only come into play during a personal interview.
  • Create equal opportunity through intelligent pre-screening of applications: Pre-screening the applicant, especially in a D&I setting  (e.g. by softfactors) can give each candidate a equal opportunity. (Soft-)skills and a candidate’s potential can be mapped beyond a traditional CV.

Rethinking required: Good matching needs assessing soft skills

To realize the full potential of AI in recruiting, companies need to rethink the way they recruit. Recruiting is currently still based on the CV (education, experience, skills, etc.). This is like driving a car through the rearview mirror. Companies learn where the person went to school and what work experience they have gained. That’s important – but it’s not enough for a really good matching. The key lies in the soft skills, such as professional and social competencies, skills, interests and values. Besides the facts recorded in the CV, soft skills are an essential part of a good match. Artificial intelligence allows to include all this data. The recruiting process will become qualitatively better, faster and more efficient.

Will recruiters soon become Ghost Busters?

Intelligent systems and artificial intelligence bring positive impulses to recruiting: The roles of the recruiters of tomorrow will change massively. The focus shifts to skills in which computers and machines are clearly inferior to us humans: in a good discussion in the interview and in general by the “human touch”. In conclusion, Artificial Intelligence enables us to be more humane in recruiting – and not just in 2030, already today. Are you ready to be a Ghost Buster?

By Reto Ruegger