Written by Sally-Ann King | 21st July 2023

Artificial Intelligence is creeping into almost every aspect of our lives, recruitment included. Some claim this technology is on its way to replace HR, recruitment professionals and hiring managers – at least 1 in 5 recruiters are concerned about AI taking over their jobs. But can it really do the job of employing top candidates?

AI might be able to work smartly and support with some areas of the recruitment process, but it misses the human input and skills needed to create a robust recruitment process, positive candidate experience and ensure you have the right fit for the role and your company.

Here are some of the benefits and challenges of AI and how you can embrace it in the recruitment process.

What are the benefits of AI in recruitment?

According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 75% of recruiters feel that they do not have enough time to analyse the candidate pool and recruit the right people.

To free up recruiters’ time and allow them to focus on candidates and the recruitment goals of the business, AI can be successful at taking on the job of searching for qualified candidates on different platforms such as social media, creating job postings, screening candidates and scheduling interviews.

AI uses algorithms and keywords to sort through CVs and shortlist candidates, which can help speed up the recruitment process.

Chatbots and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can also gather data to generate personalised feedback reports for candidates, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, AI improves efficiency through the automation of tedious tasks – freeing recruitment teams up to focus more on strategic, big-picture goals.

It’s also suggested that AI can remove bias during the screening process, as it removes personal judgement, focusing solely on the skill set and candidate experience. This can help make recruitment more interactive and transparent and supports a more diverse workforce.

However there are examples of AI learning the unintentional bias, reproducing and exaggerating it.

One of these cases happened at Amazon when the AI algorithm in its recruitment tool was discriminating against female applicants and taught itself that male candidates were preferable. So, recruiters need to be careful and monitor the technology to ensure it is functioning correctly.

What are the challenges of AI in recruitment?

We’ve mentioned the possibility of unintentional bias in the recruitment process and there are other challenges of AI you should be aware of.

AI can overlook highly qualified candidates for various reasons. This could be because a candidate has named a skill differently on their CV, or the way they communicate.

This can make it challenging to use AI in chatbots – if the AI can’t understand what the candidate is saying, the candidate could get frustrated and give up on the recruitment process.

AI also doesn’t have the gut instinct or subjectivity that humans do – a reason why we suggest AI is used to aid hiring managers and not replace them!

It is also important to note that not all these challenges are internal, as candidates have started to use AI tools to get ahead in the recruitment process.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing AI and Google’s Bard are all in the spotlight as candidates are using them to write cover letters and CV’s. Poor hiring managers may be unable to distinguish between a cover letter written by a candidate and one generated by AI.

However, we don’t think there is a need to worry about this (just yet!), as we would avoid relying on a CV alone to make comparisons between candidates. Viewing a candidate’s social media (there is a lot of controversy around social media ‘screening’ so probably wouldn’t want to promote this and Linkedin profile, screening questions in the form of a video and personality questionnaire’s such as Quest Profiler can be very useful at supporting CV’s to help you find the right talent.

How can we embrace the future of AI?

According to SHRM, 80% of companies globally already use AI as part of the recruitment process in some way, but that doesn’t mean it will work for every business.

The first step is to assess your recruitment strategy and determine if any areas could benefit from AI technology. Could any tasks be automated and streamlined? When researching AI tools and platforms for recruitment, consider how this will work with your existing systems.

Pay close attention to ethical considerations and potential bias. You may want to regularly check the results the AI is giving you to ensure fairness and eliminated unintended bias. Implement measures to reduce unconscious bias in the recruitment process – we discuss this in detail in our blog here.

Overall, the human element within recruitment is imperative when hiring the right candidate. For example, job seekers are likely to engage with and put trust into a hiring manager or recruiter who communicates with them and offers them help and guidance. The final decision to hire a candidate should also rest with an individual, to ensure the right person for the role is hired.

Rather than AI replacing the need for hiring managers and recruiters, we see that it will enhance the role, giving them more time to focus on other aspects of the recruitment process such as candidate interaction, understanding their needs and job preferences, personality and ultimately making more effective hiring decisions.

If you have any questions or would like recruitment support, please get in touch with our team at [email protected].

Our Recruitment and Retention guide is a free-to-download guide that gives employers and managers advice on how to attract, recruit and retain a talented workforce including attracting candidates through ways other than salary and how psychometrics can support recruitment.