Artificial Intelligence: How this Can Revolutionise the Way Companies are Hiring

Payal Mukherjee, Executive Search Consultant, Spearhead InterSearchHeadquartered in Delhi, Spearhead InterSearch is one of India’s leading HR companies enabling businesses to achieve their leadership human asset build-up without any time and cost overruns through its Senior Management Executive Search, Talent Acquisition, Board Recruitment, and Talent Management services.

While AI has already started making a mark in sectors like banking, pharmaceuticals and retail, there is a growing crop of companies worldwide getting onto the AI-for-hire bandwagon. Companies like Hiq Labs use machine learning to predict attrition, and searching for the best fit to a Job Description, Entelo sifts through a database of 200 million to do so. Scout trails the web for bringing out passive candidates. HireVue, can predict the character of a candidate through audio,video and text data. HiringSolved has developed an interface which has conversations with both recruiter and candidate and produces insights. Companies such as SpringRole, develop and execute hiring strategies. AI provides software that sifts through words being used to predict a host of behavioural patterns, Robotic hiring assistants, and software that builds hiring advertisement to attract your target talent.

Artificial Intelligence(AI)is vying to take on newer roles in many initial aspects of hiring. Most articles on the topic will tell you how AI will help cut the manual screening of resumes. This article will also address other key aspects where AI is soon going to make a huge impact.

1. Time Saver: Predictive algorithms and machine learning can sift through literally thousands of active or passive job seekers or even non seekers with social media profiles and bring out the top 2-3 percent, who fit the job requirement. No human, however efficient, can match that.

2. Removing the Hiring Bias: An interviewer is said to form an opinion in the first 10 seconds of the interview while the rest is spent in confirming the opinion. Unconscious or sub conscious biases may cause a company to lose out on good candidates because of human faultlines. AI does away with this bias, in some cases hiding the name and gender of the candidate till the final face to face interview. Some startup founders we
talked to, looking for co-founders and C level hires, have already trashed interviews. They give short projects to prove the mettle of candidates. They tell us it is the only way to know how a person will do at the job, as opposed to talking across the table’. AI can remove the first stages of interview altogether.

3. Grades & Experience - Not Very Important: Test scores and educational degrees have been proven by Google’s research to be quite worthless as hiring parameters. Some of their teams have up to 14 percent people without formal college education. Same goes for experience. An AI start up in U.S. called Koru, proved that prior sales experience was not a good indicator of success on the job. In fact,AI is proving what recruiters knew all along. Star candidates make less effective hires than mid level players, where teamwork is required.

4. Social Media: Social media and its effects on hiring is itself a recent phenomenon and hiring managers often don’t know what to do with all the information. Turns out, social media drunken photographs may not really be good indicator of a person's success on the job.

While AI can track and predict behaviour, understanding culture fit is still something very intuitive to the human brain

On the other hand, what really matters, such as racism and attitude towards gender,can sometimes be revealed from social media posts. AI can protect companies from legal hassles by sifting through millions of pages of data and not bring up such candidates for consideration at all.

What does it mean for the hiring manager,job portals, and outsourced hiring firms?
AI is already taking over manual and repetitive jobs in industries such as banking. In hiring too, many repetitive jobs will be taken over by technology. AI is meant to augment the work of the hiring manager. The team can then focus more on strategy and building relationships. With any new technology, necessary reskilling itself creates new jobs.

AI is still just useful in the initial stages of the hiring process. Nothing can take the place of several deep and complex attributes that are displayed and detected through human interaction alone. Candidates still get put off by being interviewed by bots, and may hurt the brand in the long run.

AI is different from job portals. It is intuitive and more efficient. A sales role for an Automobile company can throw up profiles in the tens of thousands. In AI, the software itself will prepare the optimum key words based on the job description. In a job portal, one may provide key words to whittle down the search results and still be left with 5000 odd resumes to manage. Every time a recruiter gives the same search the algorithm of the portal will throw up the same 5000 profiles. AI on the other hand will record which resumes are being rejected, map trends and keep them out of the shortlist, getting a better fit every time.

For executive search firms, this is cause for celebration. AI is an augmentative tool for executive search firms. With the phenomenal success of Linkedin, a lot of people thought executive search was on its way out. That did not happen, and for good reason.

AI is useful in lower level, high volume hires. At senior levels, top jobs, C-level hires, beyond certain behavioural aspects and mapping work efficiencies, AI still falls behind human capabilities. While AI can track and predict behaviour, understanding culture fit is still some thing very intuitive to the human brain.