According to a report from Adobe, just 15% of companies are currently using artificial intelligence (AI). However, with 31% stating that it is on the agenda for the next 12 months – there is more to the story. At a time when businesses are ripe for change and under increasing pressure to offer a cost effective and timely service, AI has taken the spotlight and seemingly landed itself an integral role within many organisations.

In fact, with a recent Deloitte report stating that AI will be mainstream for ‘white collar jobs’ by 2025, the appetite for workforce efficiency, coupled with the benefits of automation and machine learning, is the reason why many in-house resourcing teams and wider HR functions are front of the line for adopting AI as a way to speed up activities such as screening CVs and profiling. Looking at recruitment specifically, a company gaining particular attention for this demand in the market is London based ‘Human’. Designed to analyse video-based job applications to spot emotional expressions in potential candidates and match the personality traits, it works by algorithms, collecting information by deciphering emotion from each question the candidate answers. It then feeds back to the hiring manager detailing the candidate’s reactions with an appropriate scoring, subtly impressive and straight forward, enough right?

However, this start-up company is possibly one of many to come that is exacerbating the current narrative of advanced technology. This being that AI will transform the recruitment profession –and in turn, make the role of human recruiters obsolete. But while AI is high on the agenda for HR teams and employers, and rightly so, perhaps the benefits in advanced technology need to be understood, rather than fretting that AI is here to take our jobs.

The very fact that recruitment has survived the introduction of social media, shows a willingness to adapt and work cohesively with new technology. LinkedIn, for example, offers new ways to search, make connections and has proved a brilliant tool for hiring managers across the world with its potential to increase human interaction and candidate sourcing. Job seekers can search and find roles online and communicate with companies more easily than ever before.

And in terms of new legislation, the GDPR regulations coming into force in May set out guidelines for businesses to take note of, particularly recital 71 of the act. This states that automated processes cannot provide sole decisions on a data subject, so e-recruiting and profiling, for example, cannot take place without any human intervention. This safeguard not only stipulates a fair and transparent process but also assures that HR practitioners and external recruiters still ultimately maintain control.

But while there is evidence to show we have less reason to panic, and that technology might not have as much of an impact on recruitment as anticipated, let’s not forget the good it can bring. Offering a range of savvy and rapid ways to improve productivity within an organisation, from basic document conversion and data entry to chat bots and personality insights, it has the ability to help identify candidates for those hard-to-fill jobs and change hiring to a proactive rather than reactive process. Additionally, AI can powerfully “de-bias” the screening process, as it is trained to detect patterns of human bias that may already be within HR processes- ignoring demographic information such as race or socioeconomic status and encouraging a diverse talent pool.

The combination is positively lethal in helping screen profiles and external data sources to build a better understanding of an individual and determining whether they are right for the job.

But it doesn’t stop here, Unilever reported an outstanding 50,000 hours of work saved over an 18 month period after using its Human video-based interviewing platform according to HireVue. While the hours saved are great for work outputs, it also means that HR has more time to spend with the best candidates, building rapport and investing in their progression.

In sum? AI software, when used correctly during recruitment, can enhance processes, speed up daily tasks and boost employee diversity. Adopting technology for the sake of ‘ticking the box’ will not give results and businesses must assess how they can build AI in their strategies. While technology has the capability to achieve great things, in a function such as HR, centred around human interaction, this will always be the overriding factor. AI cannot autonomously decide who is hired and who is fired, equally software cannot determine if a person fits a team culture or predict if they will get along with other colleagues. The key must be balance. AI and humans must work in harmony, complementing each other and driving towards success. Ultimately, AI can free up HR to focus on doing what it does best.

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