Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic among recruiting pros. Experts are clamoring to comment on the possibilities, raise concerns, and even downplay AI’s abilities.

But put aside the controversy and excitement for a moment. The question that really matters for our industry is this: In what ways can AI truly meet the needs of talent acquisition professionals?

Below, we survey a few of the forms AI commonly takes in recruiting. We’ll outline some pros and cons of each instance of AI, delving into how these technologies can both hurt and help talent acquisition professionals:

1. Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is a form of AI that collects data and analyzes it to yield new insights and make better decisions. This process occurs autonomously, minimizing administrative investments.

In the recruiting sphere, intelligent automation is often used to digest applicant information and present talent acquisition pros with the most relevant details so they can make better decisions more efficiently.

Intelligent automation is often used to automate candidate communications as well. This significantly speeds up the pace of communication between organization and candidate. This is a valuable benefit, as 65 percent of job seekers say they “never” or “rarely” receive notices about their application statuses, and 80 percent of job seekers would not reapply to a company if its communication were poor during the recruiting process.

Pros of Intelligent Automation:

  1. Saves time for recruiters
  2. Improves efficiency of internal hiring procedures
  3. Provides quick communication to candidates

Cons of Intelligent Automation:

  1. Automated communication lacks personalization and human emotion

2. Chatbots/Recruiting Assistants

AI-enabled recruiting assistants automate communication with candidates, lowering the administrative time needed to interact with potential hires. Depending on their features, these assistants might answer candidates’ questions, schedule meetings, and even screen resumes.

However, many HR and talent acquisition leaders deem assistants to be relatively ineffective tools, according to a recent report from Talent Tech Labs. Because these assistants are relatively new entries in the recruiting technology market, they are not yet fully functional, and they are vulnerable to compliance risks. For now, many feel this recruiting technology simply lacks the ability to effectively automate recruiting tasks generally performed by humans.

Pros of AI Recruiting Assistants:

  1. Lower administrative time investments
  2. Candidates have 24/7 access to employer
  3. Potential applicants are not accidentally ignored

Cons of AI Recruiting Assistants:

  1. Conversational limitations
  2. May miss nuances of human language
  3. Cannot be improved with experience – i.e., machine intelligence does not equal human learning
  4. Lack human emotion

3. Intelligent Screening Software

AI screening tools automate the resume-review process. These tools use machine learning to understand the company’s historical hiring and employment data. These tools then compare new candidates to the historical data and assess, prioritize, score, and shortlist those candidates accordingly. Some of these tools also provide suggestions on other roles at the company for which a candidate might be a good fit, should they not get the position they applied for.

Pros of Intelligent Screening Software:

  1. Quick identification of top candidates
  2. Identifies candidates from sources that might otherwise be overlooked
  3. Gains increased accuracy with more data
  4. Integrates with applicant tracking systems
  5. Helps recruiters make data-backed decisions
  6. Saves significant time
  7. Avoids implicit bias/compliance risks

Cons of Intelligent Screening Software:

  1. Candidates may be overlooked for trivial reasons, such as a resume format the software cannot parse
  2. Cannot assess candidates’ soft skills or cultural fits
  3. Lacks nuance of human judgment
  4. Integrating AI into your ATS can be costly and complex

4. AI-Enabled Interviews

Many companies have already adopted online assessments as part of their hiring processes, but new interview solutions that bring AI into the mix take those assessments even further. Certain AI tools can use video interviews to capture the less tangible human qualities – body language, word choice, voice inflection, etc. – that sometimes predict candidate fit. This technology can also assess a candidate’s ability to perform job duties by simulating customer/client interactions and measuring the applicant’s empathy and attention to detail in each situation.

Pros of AI-Enabled Interviews:

  1. Assesses candidate performance under realistic conditions
  2. Helps recruiters make data-backed decisions
  3. Avoids implicit bias in the hiring process
  4. Lowered administrative time investments
  5. Can evaluate candidate body language

Cons of AI-Enabled Interviews:

  1. Cannot completely account for varied personalities and habits
  2. Potential to overlook cultural fit
  3. Lack human judgment capabilities and emotion
  4. Can feel less personal or friendly than a face-to-face interview
  5. Can misread candidate’s intentions
  6. Technical failure can frustrate candidates

Drawing Conclusions: How AI Fits Into Recruiting

AI presents recruiting and hiring teams with many exciting opportunities. Automating mundane talent acquisition processes and eliminating repetitive recruiting tasks is possible with the help of advanced technologies.

However, each possibility is subject to certain limitations. As the overview above shows, human interactions are still key to making smart decisions and building personal connections in recruiting. Though AI moves faster, it is the human recruiter who can best identify a good hire.

Only the power of people can:

  1. Offer a Welcoming Candidate Experience: AI can interact with candidates and answer their questions, but it cannot bring the warmth and individualized candidate experience that human recruiters can.
  2. Build Relationships With Candidates: AI can keep candidates updated along the way, but technology cannot engage with candidates on a personal level.
  3. See Beyond the Resume: AI can quickly assess resumes, but only a human can understand the person behind the keywords.

A version of this article originally appeared on the WCN blog.

Jeanette Maister is managing director of the Americas for WCN.

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