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The Biggest Risks and Rewards of Using AI in Talent Acquisition

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly becoming a staple in talent acquisition (TA) across all industries. 96% of HR managers believe AI can improve their TA drastically, according to Randstat. Which makes sense considering it can help recruiting teams find better candidates, verify their skills faster, and shorten the entire recruitment process. 

But, although AI has a lot of benefits, incorporating it into the hiring process can have risks as well. For a positive example of AI in hiring, there are two or more negative ones. 

This is because not all AI is created equal. So, what makes an AI solution good or bad? And how can you make sure your tools are using the right type of AI?

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how AI can be used in talent acquisition, the difference between good and bad AI, and what to look for when picking TA tools. 

Ta professionals drawn to ai
A majority of HR managers believe AI can improve their talent acquisition drastically, according to Randstat

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence or AI is a part of computer science that tries to simulate human intelligence through machines (machine learning). AI uses deep learning and historical data to provide predictive analytics that you can use for decision-making in the hiring process.

This is beneficial to the recruitment process as it can take a lot of data, process it faster than any human could, and provide insights to help you make crucial hiring decisions. 

Which explains why nearly 82% of survey respondents believe HR teams will incorporate more AI tools into their talent management processes over the next five years, according to Eightfold. 

More hr teams to incorporate ai
82% of those surveyed believe HR teams will incorporate more AI toools into their talent management across the next five years, according to Eightfold

How AI is being used in talent acquisition

There are several ways that AI is being used in talent acquisition to improve hiring…

Candidate sourcing

Since AI can process data at scale, it can help you assess a wider talent pool and do it faster. You can simply give your AI the task to go over the numerous online profiles and applications you receive, and find qualified candidates that match the skills profile you’re looking for. 

This can involve looking through relevant profiles on a site like LinkedIn, CVs or job applications, or even assessing skills assessments run on a platform like Vervoe

Candidate screening process

The average resume only gets a couple of seconds of attention on average, especially when companies receive hundreds of applications for any given role. Therefore the chance of a recruiter being able to spot someone’s potential skills if they don’t have the right background and experience is extremely low. 

AI screening has the potential to look closer at resumes at scale, but also do so with less bias. The right AI tools can view more CVs quicker than humans can, and, with the right machine-learning algorithm, do a better job at spotting a candidate’s potential.

Posting job descriptions

With AI, you can better target your ideal candidates using different profiles and their interests either via social media or via programmatic advertising. This way, you won’t be wasting your budget by showing ads to unqualified candidates, but only to top talent that’s a good match. 

Hiring gig, freelance, and remote workers

When you hire people online, you can’t rely on traditional methods the way you do in more conventional jobs. You’ll likely have to adjust your process to be remote-friendly, and have to rely less on word of mouth about a candidate, meeting them in person, and focusing on their CV. AI technology to help you screen, verify and assess the potential candidates to confirm whether they’re the best option for your open role. 

Diversity and inclusion

No matter their skill set and experience, recruiters can still be prone to unconscious bias. Gender, race, age, and other factors can silently influence some decision-making during the recruitment process. But smart use of AI and machine learning can help you reduce bias in parts of the process. 

For example, Vervoe’s AI can simulate blind marking when you’re assessing a number of skills assessments, cycling through anonymized answers to certain question types, and learning what your benchmarks are for high and low-scoring answers. This puts the focus on the answer and not the person who answered it to make grading fairer and reduce the risk of unconscious bias

Onboarding

Once the talent acquisition process is complete and you’ve made a hire, there’s a growing number of AI tools that allow you to assign some of the more time-consuming administrative tasks to them so that your HR managers can focus on welcoming the new employees. These can reduce the need to complete repetitive paperwork,  and ensure new workers integrate into the workplace, walking them through interactive onboarding experiences that introduce them to the company, its goals, and the employee value proposition

3 ways you can use AI for talent acquisition

There are three ways you can use AI to improve recruiter efficiency and benefit the talent acquisition process: 

3 ways to use ai for talent acquisition
3 ways to use AI in talent acquisition

Speed of hiring

Every hiring manager is hoping for two results at the end of any recruitment process — finding an excellent candidate to fill the open role and hiring them as fast as possible. With AI technology, you can use pre-hire assessments to verify your potential candidates before even looking at their CV. So not only is your AI tool processing tons of information, it’s helping you speed up your hiring process.

Improved candidate experience

Today’s market is a candidate’s market so organizations need to provide a positive candidate experience to ensure you retain them until the end of the process. With AI technology, you can set up automatic messages that inform candidates about the status of their applications and provide access to job simulations that would give them an inside look at the role and the workplace.

Elevate recruiters to strategic advisors

The hiring process needs to be all about the quality of hire. So when you remove the administrative and repetitive tasks from it, you allow your hiring managers and recruiters to focus on the candidates themselves. With AI covering these tasks, you allow your recruiters to take on more strategic roles and pick the right candidate for your company, looking at things from a higher level. 

Risks of using AI in talent acquisition process

Like with any new technology, there are certain risks that can happen when you use AI in talent acquisition. 

The two biggest risks for companies to take notice of are: 

Security

HR teams need to be aware of security breaches and data leaking. On top of that, companies need to safeguard the data privacy of their candidates and know that the information candidates share with them during the hiring process is handled sensitively. 

Ethics

Organizations need to mind their ethics when it comes to using AI technology. Not all AI tools are made the same and some might be detrimental to an organization’s reputation if used inappropriately. If you don’t know how your AI technology operates then the AI can make decisions that aren’t in line with your company’s values and ethics. 

An AI may also pick up on behavior you may have overlooked in your organization and amplify it. For example, in 2018, when Amazon used an AI recruiting tool, it showed a bias against women, something it had taught itself by looking at the company’s record of hiring. It had determined male candidates were more desirable than women. 

Good AI vs bad AI — what to be mindful of

No two AI is created equal and the employers will need to distinguish between “good” and “bad” AI to know which one can benefit them. 

“Good” AI will help the recruiters by augmenting data and finding insights that would be almost impossible for people to find.  “Bad AI” would only automate those tasks, enhancing the bias already happening in the process, just doing it faster. 

The “good AI” will rely on high-quality data inputs to figure out if a person is a good candidate for your company, while “bad AI” will rely on low-quality information such as social media profile information or trying to match keywords from the applicant’s resume. 

Conclusion

AI can really help your recruiters in talent acquisition make hiring decisions. But before you incorporate AI talent acquisition solutions into your recruitment process you need to be aware of its limitations and risks.

Be mindful of the security and ethics concerns, and make sure you’re using the right kind of ai and talent acquisition and assessment software that will help make your hiring process easier and not cause problems you’ll have to fix in the future. 

Bruno Boksic

Bruno Boksic

Bruno is the founder of Growthabit.com, a nonfiction business book summaries website. As a former head of HR at a global organization, Bruno writes for HR media outlets and various HR tech companies.

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