Not since the Industrial Revolution has there been a period of such dynamic change with such far-reaching consequences. The Technology Revolution impacts on us all, in our work and our home lives. It has profoundly altered the way the world works.
So, how has the recruitment sector been affected and what can we expect to see in the not so distant future?
An enthusiastic adopter of software advances, the recruitment industry is one that generally welcomes the benefits of automating the processes that are central to the sector.
And yet in a UK Recruitment Trend Report by Bullhorn last year, the results show that there is a degree of uncertainty around fully embracing the adoption of innovative technologies.
A third of recruiters see improving core process efficiency as one of their top challenges, yet only 16% cite introducing more automation as a priority. So, the question is, having identified the problem, why be suspicious of a great solution?
Recruiters who shy away from automation will put themselves at a disadvantage. The progression of technology is leading to sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI), and if you have never embraced simple automation at one end of the scale, the adoption of sophisticated AI to improve the efficiency of your business will be a bigger challenge than ever.
The human face
There’s a misconception that AI can replace people – indeed one of the concerns of some in the industry is around job losses. But AI is designed to complement and support human interactions – and free up people’s time from easily automated processes to spend more time on the interesting, strategic elements of the job such as relationship building.
According to studies by PricewaterhouseCoopers, across all industry, AI will create more jobs than it displaces by boosting economic growth, with service industries benefiting most.
And whilst AI can be more efficient in managing time and carrying out processes faster and more cheaply than a person, it lacks several key ingredients essential for successful recruitment. For example, human emotion, judgement, and independent thinking.
Speeding up selection
We already have chatbots; computer programs designed to simulate conversation with people over the Internet. Currently, more like an automated FAQ service, chatbots are self-learning. Expect to see them develop quickly, becoming more responsive and be able, for example, to pre-screen a candidate’s suitability for a role.
Where AI will really speed things up is in going through CVs and scheduling interviews. Imagine a technology that could create a candidate shortlist by analysing thousands of interviews in a few seconds. By using keywords and candidate information, it could identify the best people for the position, selecting on experience and skills.
But ultimately, the recruitment agent would retain full responsibility for the interview – just without the time-consuming preliminary work. So, the recruiter is not replaced but made more efficient by the use of AI.
Apart from a faster selection process, here are some other ways that AI will impact on the industry.
- A better candidate/job fit – by analysis of CVs and online presence.
- Improved online applications – the use of keywords and other data to prioritise multiple online applications.
- Character vetting – some AI tools can already assess potential threats when hiring; identifying whether a candidate is likely to be honest and ethical.
- Headhunting – AI will revolutionise sourcing and outreach, collecting data from thousands – or hundreds of thousands – of candidates, and identifying the best fit and who is most likely to accept a position.
- Data analysis – As automation advances, both employers and candidates will be able to increasingly focus on a mutually great fit
- Creating a level playing field – AI will revolutionize the screening of CVs in an objective way.
What’s known as Industry 5.0 is coming – and it’s expected to re-focus on the value of human intelligence – the ‘human touch’ that AI just can’t offer candidates.
As Industry 5.0 becomes a reality, recruiters should prepare for the hiring process to speed up significantly, with humans and AI working in harmony.
Think of it this way – the human ability to recognise and relate to certain behaviours and emotions, supported by the accuracy of AI. The result – the ability to screen and recruit the most suitable candidate within minutes.
Undoubtedly, there’ll be some pain. Jobs that are process-based or administrative in nature may disappear. But there is a huge upside – the best possible vision of the future is where people earn more for working in more fulfilling roles.
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