Personality AI: A New Approach to Artificial Intelligence in Hiring

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With unemployment at a low of 3.7 percent, it’s a buyer’s market for job seekers. Recruiters certainly have their work cut out for them.

The combination of a constant demand for talent and a short supply — not to mention the time pressures inherent to recruiting in a tight market — has driven significant investment in recruiting technology. Today, we have a plethora of tools available to help recruiters make placements, such as chatbots that can make initial engagements and virtual assistants that can vet candidates before an actual person ever reads a resume.

Many of the most powerful tools for today’s recruiters are based on artificial intelligence (AI), and they can be tremendously effective in increasing efficiency. However, that efficiency may come at too high a price: If recruiters rely too heavily on AI and rush into hiring decisions, they run the risk of picking the wrong candidate, which can be a very costly mistake.

Defining the ‘Right Fit’

Putting aside the new pressures and new technologies of the current talent market, the recruiter’s job still comes down to the same thing it always has: finding the right fit.

When we say “fit,” we mean matching a person with a role that gives them energy, a role that highlights their natural strengths and enables them to succeed. The easiest way to determine a candidate’s fit is to get to know them and how they may act in a variety of scenarios on the job.

But reaching such a thorough understanding of a candidate can be a time-intensive process — and time is the one thing most recruiters don’t have right now. It can take several interviews to really see how a person works, and even then, the limitations of the interview format mean you don’t really get to see under the hood until the candidate has already started their new job. At that point, a hiring mistake becomes painfully clear.

With limited time and resources, how are recruiters supposed to identify the right people for their roles?

A new technology called personality AI is meant to address this challenge. Personality AI aims to help recruiters learn more about each candidate’s personality and fit by reaching beyond their past work experiences and interview answers.

What Is Personality AI?

In a nutshell, personality AI uses AI and machine learning to predict a candidate’s personality based on their online footprint.

AI can analyze large amounts of data to predict possible outcomes, similar to how our brains quickly process our past experiences and knowledge to help us make decisions. More specifically, personality AI takes in several types of inputs — like text from a resume or a LinkedIn profile, demographic data, and real-life observations — and uses these to generate personality insights.

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By analyzing millions of data points, personality AI offers insights into how someone thinks, acts, and communicates. When recruiters understand candidates on this level, they can adjust their communication styles and recruiting strategies to better suit their target talent. As a result, recruiters can make better first impressions, conduct more effective interviews, and make better hiring decisions based on candidate fit.

What Makes Personality AI Different From Standard Recruiting AI?

Traditional applications of AI in recruiting tend to focus almost exclusively on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruiting process, often by speeding up sourcing, screening, onboarding, and other key components of hiring. While these applications have made it easier for recruiters to complete tasks, they don’t always consider the real people on both sides of the hiring process.

Personality AI does aim to make recruiting more efficient and effective, but it does so by helping people understand each other. It doesn’t reduce candidates to their past positions; rather, it allows recruiters to get to know job seekers more quickly. When you understand how someone works, you can put them in a position and a team where they’re likely to thrive.

How Will Personality AI Change Recruiting?

At its core, personality AI helps people understand and communicate with each other. While hiring can easily become detached and mechanical, personality AI can make recruiting more straightforward and empathetic. By allowing recruiters to understand each candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and communication styles, personality AI can streamline hiring without eliminating the human aspect of it all.

As personality AI continues to grow in popularity, it’s important to remember that it was never designed to replace the human interaction that is essential to successful recruiting. Rather, personality AI should be used as a tool to enhance interpersonal communication in order to make it more effective. When you truly know your candidates, you make better hires. It’s that simple.

Drew D’Agostino and Greg Skloot are CEO and President of Crystal, respectively, and coauthors of Predicting Personality: Using AI to Understand People and Win More Business.

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Drew D'Agostino and Greg Skloot are CEO and president of Crystal, respectively. Crystal is the app that tells you anyone's personality. Using AI, Crystal accurately identifies a person's motivations, communication style, and other behavioral traits. Previously, Greg and Drew cofounded, an event software company. They are coauthors of "Predicting Personality: Using AI to Understand People and Win More Business," a book published by Wiley in November 2019.