The rise of the robots has been a common theme across mainstream media in recent months, and within HR specifically, automation is the buzzword of the moment.

Rapidly increasing capabilities – and indeed limitations – of modern technology means that AI has a tendency to receive bad press, with some hypothesising that these advancements mark the beginning of robots stealing our jobs and an erosion of the ‘human’ element of human relations. As a result, some audiences are becoming understandably nervous about the consequences of placing increasing levels of trust in machines. But I’d argue that technology is now coming into its own, with the new wave of tools acting as a secret weapon in HR’s back pocket which will revive the human touch in our discipline.

And despite high levels of fear mongering, those just entering the workforce seem to agree. The World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers 2017 survey found that 80 per cent of 24,000 millennials believe that technology was creating jobs instead of destroying them.

While the ‘human element’ is still very much alive and well across many elements of HR and recruitment, within some larger organisations it quickly depleted alongside the rise of technologically-aided volume recruitment, which was managed by unsophisticated, clunky systems.

However, today’s offerings allow us to create a new, unique and tailored experience when engaging with both existing and potential employees. Not only has technology evolved, the way we are using it has also adapted. As such, AI is enabling HR to reclaim the human element in two ways; by offering a perception of intimacy through personalisation, and by actually freeing up more time for HR to engage with individuals one-on-one.

In his 1872 book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin reasoned that certain facial movements served a biologically adaptive function, and that over countless generations their association with the emotions became innate. In 1971, Albert Mehrabian published the now famous book Silent Messages, in which he discussed his research on non-verbal communication and concluded that only seven percent of the credibility of communication can be attributed to words.

Looking at how technology itself is boosting, rather than hindering, engagement, clients we work with are now utilising extremely advanced facial recognition software during video interview for volume hiring which is resurrecting our instinct to communicate non-verbally. The tool picks up on facial cues which measure how comfortable the candidate feels with the interviewer and how receptive they are to different ideas so that questions can be tailored.

Using video in the hiring process can also have a positive effect on unconscious bias, with recordings having the benefit of being able to be reviewed and shared around managers to gather truly objective feedback and level the playing field.

Technology is no longer obliterating the human touch in recruitment and HR. It is instead enabling professionals to actively reveal uniquely human attributes, and also the means to magnify and amplify them.

If we look at the bigger picture, technology is not taking jobs; it’s helping more people into roles that are right for them, by facilitating a ‘super-human’ candidate experience.