Can A.I. Heal the Broken Recruiting Process?


Here’s how broken the corporate recruiting process is: 85% of job applicants never hear back from employers after submitting a job application … and 71% of employers claim they can’t find candidates with the right skill sets. The good news, according to Louis Efron’s Forbes article, is that a fix is on the way, and it’s going to make life better for employers and job seekers alike.

The fix: artificial intelligence.

Specifically, Efron is referring to an A.I. platform called Mya, which was created by FirstJob to automate as much as three-quarters of the recruiting process. One day, Efron reckons, Mya could automate the entire process.

“Mya is disruptive in every way,” he writes, “and she’s set to revolutionize the talent pipeline. As the first fully automated recruiting assistant, she instantly engages with applicants, poses contextual questions based on job requirements, and provides personalized updates, feedback, and next-step suggestions. By delivering custom messages designed to address specific recruiter pain points, and acquiring critical applicant answers, Mya enables recruiters to focus their time on interviewing and closing offers.”

Mya appears to be everyone’s white knight, restoring order to the chaos-riddled candidate experience and easing the recruiter’s burden at the same time. But how well has she actually performed? Efron says she’s improved recruiter efficiency by 38% and raised candidate engagement by more than 150%. “Even more impressively, candidates are 3 times more likely to hear back from a recruiter if they respond to Mya’s questions,” he notes.

Pondering the Implications of A.I.

Mya’s early performance aside, there’s a whole host of questions about A.I. and recruiting that are far from being answered definitively. Which of the dozens of recruiting tasks is A.I. best suited to? Is A.I. even practical or affordable for most companies? How will candidates feel about its use? And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Talent Tech Labs’ recent Trends Report, Volume 7 offers fascinating insights into these questions from several subject matter experts. They explore A.I.’s incredible potential for positively transforming talent sourcing, candidate engagement and the selection process. To be honest, some of their commentary was pretty technical and way over my head … but they also addressed basic and practical concerns many of us have about A.I. and talent initiatives.

For instance, Shon Burton, one of the report’s contributing authors, asks: “Is it ethical to predict race, gender, honesty, intelligence, performance, reliability, or culture fit? Is it OK to use A.I. as a proxy for candidate communication and, further, to optimize and manipulate the candidate to accept the lowest predicted pay rate?”

He invites readers to do a little thought experiment: imagine you’re a job candidate who has to qualify for a role, negotiate pay and communicate healthcare concerns to an A.I.-based system—a system that’s constantly “analyzing your interactions with it and using that information to predict your suitability for the role or the lowest salary you are likely to accept.” How would you feel about that experience—and that employer?

The real question isn’t whether we can build this type of application, Burton says, but whether we ought to. However, Burton knows that genie is already out of the bottle. “A.I. is here to stay,” he writes, “in HR as well as every other industry.”

A.I. to the Rescue—But How and When?

Burton candidly admits that A.I. may cause the candidate experience to “suffer in the short term,” especially as automation takes over more of the communication and evaluation processes. There are bound to be glitches along the way, especially since A.I. tools are built and programmed by humans. But he also believes plenty of big advantages will spring from A.I.

For example, job seekers consistently cite lack of response from recruiters as one of the most frustrating aspects of the candidate experience. Burton says that not only could an A.I. assistant intelligently respond to every applicant who doesn’t get a particular job but it could also offer coaching based on an analysis of the individuals who did get the job.

So, the obvious question is when will A.I. really take hold and repair the broken recruiting process?

According to Brian Delle Donne, president of Talent Tech Labs, the A.I. applications furthest along in their development are those that solve the sourcing rubric, identify matches between resumes and job requisitions, parse data, and predict a candidate’s fit. Applications that truly solve engagement challenges, predict behavioral outcomes and mimic human intuition are “still mostly future state.”

“For true Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning to come into prominence in TA, there is most likely much work to do and a significant cost of entry, especially for startups,” Delle Donne writes. “We believe that the data giants of Google, Facebook Microsoft, IBM, and others could decide to build their own solutions (as each are dabbling with now) or conversely make the data available to companies with specialized domain knowledge in HR and Talent Acquisition.”

In other words, it’s anybody’s guess when A.I. will well and truly cure the recruiting process’s ills. In the meantime, however, the healing has begun.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

This entry was posted in Digital HR, HR, HR transformation, recruiting, talent acquisition, technology, workforce. Bookmark the permalink.

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