By Nachi Junankar • August 2, 2018

Why AI Will Not Replace Recruiters in HR

The thought of AI immediately brings up concerns about both its inevitability and how its disruption will impact various industries. This is true for the HR industry, in which AI talent platforms have been adopted by a significant percentage of organizations already.

In a recent Korn Ferry survey, 63% of 800 HR professionals said AI has changed the way they recruit, and 69% said that using AI in recruiting results in higher quality candidates.

Although there have been some vocal concerns about AI replacing recruiters, LinkedIn found that just 14% of talent acquisition professionals were concerned about AI taking away their jobs.

In reality, the fear of losing jobs in the HR industry is unwarranted. Most recruiters understand that AI simply can’t replace the personal, human, emotional and intuitive aspects of recruiting.

AI excels at performing repetitive tasks; but the tasks and decisions that involve intuition, complex personal experiences, and innovation cannot be replicated by AI at the present and may never be:

  • AI can assess the potential of the candidate on a foundational level, but the ability to identify the unique potential of each job seeker, especially one who is changing careers, is largely subjective based on multiple factors and years of human experience.
  • AI cannot fully assess the concept of corporate culture and how a particular candidate will fit within one. It can screen resumes for compatibility and ask questions, but it is ultimately the in-person interview or job audition that allows recruiters to make this complex and abstract decision.
  • AI will also not be able to replace the skill of building human relationships. This aspect of recruiting is often the final deal maker or breaker when a candidate is choosing between several offers. The experience with a human recruiter, their familiarity, and comfort level with them can easily sway a candidate from one company to another, despite all other factors.

AI has simply relieved recruiters of many mundane tasks, helping them do their jobs better and allowing them to spend more time on nurturing each candidate.

As it stands today, the HR industry lacks a human touch in some ways because of how rushed the process has become. It may seem counterintuitive, but adopting HR technology results in a more human recruiting experience:

  1. More interaction time - AI allows for more direct interaction time with each qualified candidate. Today, many qualified applicants leave the process without having even spoken to anyone, often feeling neglected. With an AI talent platform handling pre-screening, recruiters can spend more time on phone and in-person interviews, giving them a more comprehensive view of each candidate before they make a decision.
  2. Helping companies build their brand - Recruiters have little time to fully describe their unique culture and brand to potential candidates, making it difficult for their organizations to be transparent. The right AI platform assists with helping job seekers learn about a company and giving them the freedom to ask a multitude of questions at their discretion. In turn, once HR gets a chance to meet with them, there is much more substance and meaning in the interaction beyond basic credentials and preliminary questions.
  3. Faster response times - Job candidates have a lot on their plate and want answers to their questions as soon as possible. HR departments are so backlogged that they often have very long response times to simple questions that an AI chat bot is more than capable of providing on-demand. This also improves the candidate experience and helps them with narrowing down the best potential job opportunities in a shorter period of time.

Yes, AI will take away jobs in other industries – for example the grocery store cashier is already being replaced by the automated self-checkout kiosk. Drivers may eventually be replaced by AI driven vehicles. Fast food prep tasks may be replaced by robots.

But AI will also create several million new mid-level to high skill jobs as well as lower skilled and entry level jobs for every industry it disrupts. Gartner reported that by 2020, AI will have already created 2.3 million jobs, replacing the 1.8 million it would have wiped out.

Even in the industries where AI is expected to take the most jobs – such as retail, manufacturing and transportation, there will still need to be many new human jobs created for customer service, sales, marketing, and any tasks where human interaction is preferred by customers.

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