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Automation In Talent Acquisition: Why Recruiters Don’t Need To Worry

Shaun Ricci

May 1, 2018

The rise of AI in various industries is an interesting and far-reaching discussion.

automation in talent acquisitionA very small percentage of people are at the forefront of working with the technologies involved, most are aware of the potential ramifications, and some are choosing to ignore it.

AI was actually initially developed at a 1956 conference at Dartmouth University. As of yet, it’s not quite at scale.

This is what we do know, however: it’s likely AI will take away jobs. The number most reported by reputable sources seems to be somewhere between 35-47% of jobs could be automated away in the next 25 years.

AI could be huge for society and solve some of our biggest issues. That’s great. But what happens if those issues are solved and none of us have jobs or money to do what we want to do?

Well, good news: the point of this blog is to explain that your job won’t necessarily go away any time soon. If anything, it’s going to get better and easier. So take a deep breath and enjoy.

What recruiters like doing

Most recruiters we talk to like to actually build relationships and pipelines of interested candidates. They like to see what makes candidates tick and where they want to go in their careers.

Why else would you get into recruiting if you didn’t enjoy those aspects?

That’s what they like to do.

So now think about how recruiters often spend their time:

  • Reviewing resumes
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Urgent projects from management (spreadsheets, etc.)

In some surveys, recruiters state that 65-75% of their time is going to these tasks.

That’s taking away from what you really want to do and how you could be of higher value to your company.

This is the great promise of AI.

The promise of AI in talent acquisition

Rote tasks, the ones more susceptible to human error, can be done by AI: screening, sourcing, and initial qualification (e.g., chatbots).

Human recruiters can then focus more on relationships and having those career development conversations with candidates. Maybe they can even focus on a broader 3- to-5 year strategy for headcount need, backfill, and turnover reduction.

AI takes away the 65% of time you’re running in circles on task work and gives you that time back.

That’s the great promise. And that’s most of what you will see from AI in the next 5 years as the technology continues to evolve.

If you’re still scared, try this game

If you have Alexa or Google Home or Siri or something equivalent, ask this question:

“How tall was the President of the United States when Barack Obama was born?”

Well, JFK was President on August 4, 1961. He was six feet tall exactly.

However, almost no AI program can answer this question. It requires the integration of three pieces of information. How AI is written now cannot do this.

But a third-grader with access to a book or two (or Google) probably could get this right.

The human experience –  especially recruiting and placing people in roles, helping them find a spot to grow – is all about tiers of connections and contextual understanding.

AI can’t come in and replace that just yet.

But it can help with the rote side. The task work. The stuff that needs to get done but isn’t necessarily strategic or relationship-building in nature.

For now, relax. Your job is safe. And in fact, AI might allow you to start liking work even more by automating repetitive tasks and freeing up your time.