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What You Need To Know About AI-Powered HR Screening Tools

Shaun Ricci

November 26, 2018

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The definition of an HR screening tool is changing these days.

hr screening tools

Back in 2000, SHRM listed the #1 screening tool as employment verification. In 2015, the top HR screening tool was the ATS.

In the last 2 to 3 years? A lot has changed.

Enter AI

Some have argued AI is the new electricity:

“About 100 years ago, electricity transformed every major industry. AI has advanced to the point where it has the power to transform every major sector in coming years.”

-Andrew Ng, founder of the Google Brain Deep Learning Project 

Looking at the financial history of AI, there was $5B in funding in 658 companies in 2016.

AI is changing most industries, and recruiting is no different. AI is the next big wave in screening tools as well.

How is AI changing screening?

Screening can be a tedious, logistical process.

Human recruiters have better things to do with their time, but screening and weeding out unqualified candidates is still an essential function. A necessary evil, if you will.

The conventional ATS — the same program that was the dominant force in screening tools for over a decade — wasn’t necessarily good at helping to automate out the task work.

You still had to find the candidates (sourcing), weed out the wrong ones (screening), advance the remaining, and work with the hiring manager on the best choice.

The sourcing and screening portions took up a significant amount of time, and the technology wasn’t necessarily improving that.

This is where AI comes in.

AI for screening uses machine learning, meaning that the more repetitions the AI program gets, the better it becomes at doing that particular thing.

This has immediate implications for sourcing and screening: as the program learns what type of candidates thrive at your company, it can go source and screen those types of candidates consistently from job banks and boards.

AI systems can work within a variety of HR screening tools and assessments, learn which ones predict success the best, and focus on those with future candidates.

It can also be taught to be fully legally compliant by avoiding bias related to candidates’ demographics (e.g., race, gender, age).

What does all this mean?

Less time on spent on sourcing and screening for recruiters and more time for candidate relationship-building, developing culture, engagement strategies, and more value-add HR activities.

Adoption of AI as a screening tool

Sometimes, we all fall prey to this idea that a list of technological features is the be-all and end-all that you need.

A list of features is very important, without question. It gives you a roadmap as to how you can use any type of recruiting software, be it a screening tool or a full-body ATS.

But what you need to consider even more is adoption.

How will your current recruiting staff using it? Will they even use it or will they view it as “something else to manage?”

Rate of adoption is consistently ranked as a top tech problem in organizations year-over-year.

Consider the AI space.

Most AI HR screening tools are going to be fairly intuitive to use, because a product team makes sure customers would find it palatable.

But if the recruiting team doesn’t understand how everything is happening, that might decrease adoption rates. That’s a problem.

Why is lowered adoption a problem in recruiting?

It can create a situation where certain members of the recruiting team are using one set of processes and methods and others are using different ones.

This creates a really disjointed candidate experience, which can hurt your brand in the market.

As long as you have human beings in recruiting roles, there is a chance of people retreating to silos or processes they understand and the candidate experience suffers.

AI-powered HR screening tools won’t completely remove that possibility, but they will free up time, learn as they go, reduce biases, and screen some of the better fit candidates once they learn more about what types of people have been successful.

The bottom line

The overall goal should be “get the best candidates in the door” and do so in a way that the recruiters aren’t screening and sourcing all the time. That’s the proper intersection, right?

Technology is what will take us there but we need to have empathy for how our recruiting team wants to work with technology and how our candidates want to experience the process too.