Debunking myths about AI recruitment

Last updated:
December 15, 2020
December 18, 2021
min read
Brendan McConnell
Table of contents

Artificial intelligence is a buzzword that gets a lot of attention in today’s working world. It evokes many different emotions and assumptions from people, which is common with new frontiers in technological development. AI can elicit excitement, curiosity, and even fear about its implications and impact on society as a whole. These assumptions and myths are alive and well in AI recruiting, as with many different industries around the world.

In this article, we’re going to clarify what AI recruiting actually is, address some misconceptions about the practice, and explain the benefits. By the end of this article your opinion of AI should be less “Terminator’s SkyNet” and more “tool to help me win the talent competition”.

What is AI recruiting?

AI recruiting is the application of artificial intelligence technology for various recruitment functions. It can be as simple as using AI to chat with candidates, or to continuously monitor, analyze, and adapt a selection process to identify potential top performers.

AI in recruitment is designed to streamline or automate part of a recruitment workflow. It’s particularly adept at handling the most repetitive, simple, and high-volume tasks.

AI recruitment technology is not designed to be a replacement for recruiters. Instead, it’s a series of software platforms that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analysis to complement and enhance the effectiveness of a recruitment workflow.

Think of AI as a tool that takes over the most annoying, time-consuming tasks you do as a recruiter. It’s an automated recruitment system that can learn from past experiences and adapt its strategy going forward.

Examples of AI recruitment software include:

  • Intelligent screening software, which automates screening, learns what traits make candidates successful, and adapts its shortlisting criteria to target people who are similar to your high performers.
  • Recruitment chat bots, which leverage natural language processing to communicate in real-time with candidates at any time.
  • Digital interview platforms, which can analyze word choice, speech patterns, and body language in video interviews to help with shortlisting candidates.

AI recruiting is common in many modern recruitment technologies, from Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), to Candidate Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) to scheduling platforms.

5 common misconceptions about AI in recruitment

Based on just that short description, you’re likely starting to think of some AI recruiting myths that need to be debunked. We’ll start with the big one: No, AI recruitment platforms are not going to take over the planet and enslave all humans (at least we hope).

Now that the SkyNet fear is out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the other most common misconceptions about AI recruitment.

1. AI makes recruitment obsolete.

This is by far the most common concern about AI across all industries. You hear the doom and gloom articles constantly about how artificial intelligence is going to make jobs and entire industries obsolete. While it may be true that some jobs will be lost to AI, the technology is also expected to create new jobs that don’t even exist yet, and make the lives of existing workers much more productive.

Artificial intelligence, at its core, is a tool to be used alongside human workers. It’s a way to enhance productivity, alleviate the need for repetitive and time-consuming tasks, and leverage the massive amounts of data available to teams for their own benefits.

Rather than making recruiters obsolete, AI is expected to dramatically enhance their productivity, and free them up to do more strategic and human-centric work. In fact, 70% of employers worldwide see AI as a supporting tool for their workers, rather than a way to get rid of them.

2. AI will replace human intelligence.

This is an offshoot of Myth #1, and is rooted in the assumption that intelligent computers can someday be a replacement for human intelligence. At the moment, this is simply not true. AI recruiting will always be driven from the bottom up by the strategic intelligence of humans.

Flesh-and-blood recruiters are at the helm of all recruitment strategies, and they will continue to be for the foreseeable future. AI, therefore, is to be used as a tool to achieve and enhance the strategic direction of recruitment teams, while making daily tasks easier to complete.

3. AI recruitment tools are overly complicated to use.

It’s easy to see why this myth regularly makes the rounds in conversations about AI. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning are all complex computer science terms that just sound like they’d be difficult to work with. And they are, if you’re creating them.

Luckily, AI has been seamlessly integrated into a wide range of user-friendly recruitment platforms that you likely already use. As mentioned, the ATS at the centre of your recruitment tech stack already contains some sort of AI. To bust this myth, it’s important to remember that AI is merely a tool, and some super smart people have worked hard to ensure that it can be deployed easily for your recruitment needs.

4. AI means scary robots.

We’ve already touched on this, but it’s worth repeating in case you’re still thinking that AI recruitment means you’ll be working alongside a sentient robot. Artificial intelligence is basically just a complex set of algorithms and learning processes that can be applied in any way that humans see fit. AI recruiting, therefore, is the process of applying these complex algorithms and data processing mechanisms to the job finding, screening, communicating with, and identifying candidates.

5. AI, machine learning, and deep learning are the same thing.

This myth doesn’t relate directly to AI recruiting, but it’s worth addressing so that you’re up-to-speed on the different buzzwords out there. Think of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning as something of a Russian doll: one fits inside the other, fits inside the other.

Artificial intelligence is an overarching concept or goal in computer science that aims to simulate human intelligence and behaviour through a computer. Machine learning is a subset of AI, and only some artificial intelligence platforms use this methodology. Think of it as a technique or process by which AI can be achieved. From there, deep learning is a subset of machine learning and uses a variety of techniques like neural networks to achieve machine learning.

All this to say: AI recruitment technology may use machine learning and different types of deep learning to achieve their goals.

Benefits of AI for recruiting

Now that we’ve dispelled some myths about AI recruiting, let’s take a look at some of the benefits you can expect from using these platforms.

  • Reduce or eliminate time-consuming tasks. Eliminate the need to manually complete tasks like screening resumes or sending rejection emails. AI recruitment can save immense amounts of time by simply automating high-volume tasks.
  • Get more output from your recruitment team. Hiring volumes are expected to continuously increase in the coming years, but your recruitment team is likely to stay roughly the same size. AI recruitment helps your team do and accomplish more with the same people power as before.
  • Consistently refine and improve quality-of-hire. Deployed strategically, AI recruitment tools are able to continuously analyze what variables make a high performing employee, and apply that to future screening processes. As this is repeated and refined, quality-of-hire can improve consistently over time.
  • Reduce cost-per-hire. Likewise, AI recruitment can be used to identify the most cost-effective channels and activities, and eliminate the poor performers. Over time, cost-per-hire can be dramatically reduced.
  • Reduce operational burden, emphasize strategic planning. Freeing up recruiters and managers from repetitive tasks means that they have more time to focus on strategy, candidate experience, and networking. AI recruitment lets humans do the important human work, while computers take care of the most time-consuming tasks.
  • Retain company knowledge after each hiring cycle. It’s often the case that learned information or processes that lead to a positive result are forgotten when a production cycle ends. This is particularly true if there isn’t a mechanism in place to record these variables, or there is simply too much work and information to keep track of. AI recruitment tools retain all of this company knowledge for each hiring cycle, and use it to continuously improve the output.

As you can see, AI recruiting isn’t quite as scary as it’s been made out to be. In fact, recruiters should be excited about the many personal and company-wide benefits that recruitment AI platforms can bring to the table. Used alongside human intelligence, AI can be a game changer for industries worldwide.

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