Once thought of as the realm of science fiction, artificial intelligence has made steady inroads into the mainstream over the last few years. HR and in particular recruiting are proving to be fertile ground.
But it’s not the type of AI you’ve come to expect from sci-fi classics such as HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” said Shobhit Gupta, business strategy and operations lead for AllyO, a Silicon Valley-based company that specializes in AI for recruiting.
“When people think of AI, they think of it as this black box that is independently making decisions and acting on it,” Gupta said in an interview at the 2018 SHRM Conference in Chicago. “We at AllyO think of it like the Roomba, the friendly vacuum cleaner that frankly does things that no one wants to do and does it well.”
Whatever the ultimate application may be, AI for recruiting is big business. AllyO snagged $14 million from investors in March 2018 to scale up company operations. And Google Hire, the recruiting product launched by the search giant in 2017 as part of its G Suite for work, announced new AI features during the SHRM Conference in Chicago this week.
Despite that growth, AI remains a mystery for some in HR. At AllyO, Gupta said AI in recruiting manifests in three key ways:
- Engagement: Chatbots interact with candidates through text messaging or the web.
- Automation: The system recommends next steps to recruiters based on where candidates are in the process.
- Insights: Behind-the-scenes analytical tools crunch data and provide feedback about the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts.
In sourcing, for example, Gupta said AI can identify patterns in career path data that, when combined with social media data, can identify candidates who may be ready for a career move. The system can then automatically reach out to them via text to gauge if they’re interested in an open position. If so, chatbots act as an extension of the recruiter, keeping the candidate engaged and ideally leading to higher candidate satisfaction and a faster time to hire.
AI can also streamline screening and scheduling processes. Both AllyO and Google Hire’s AI features help recruiters by taking on the task of checking schedules, finding available interviewers, booking rooms and assisting interviewers in preparing for an interview.
Google Hire announced their product’s AI features will auto-highlight resumes and match skills from the job description with keywords from a resume to help recruiters efficiently slice through the high volume of candidates they have to review for open positions. Communication features also give recruiters the ability to more easily contact candidates and automatically log calls to help teams effectively track candidates.
Surveys indicate that talent acquisition professionals are starting to find the value in what was once a fringe technology for HR. According to a 2018 survey conducted by Korn Ferry, 63 percent of the 800 recruiters surveyed said AI has changed the way they recruit and 69 percent said it has helped them source better candidates.
While machine learning is helping recruiters better manage their talent acquisition process, the ultimate aim is to rehumanize the recruiting experience, Gupta said, by putting control back in the hands of both recruiters and candidates.