Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.” - Elon Musk Here, Elon emphatically outlines the relationship between people and technology. There is a clear shift to relying more on technology than human beings. Now, as bizarre as it may sound, the human element of the so called “Human Resource” industry seems to be on shaky grounds due to rapid headway Artificial Intelligence is making worldwide in different industries. Of course, on one side, we have enough evidence that AI is a game changer in recruiting space, and in the light of changing technologies recruiters are embracing AI tools to improve their hiring process. They say, the strategy will deliver on its promise by offering smarter job hunting platforms, backed by mighty chatbots, analytics and the like. On the contrary, in an industry like recruitment, we can’t brush aside the mantle of human touch, and the very fact that the puzzle can never be complete without this human piece, corroborates a different view. Now an uneasy question we need to ask our self is, will AI really call the shots or human component is still indispensable in the recruitment industry? Let’s pause and reflect on the answer even though it might not be foolproof, but worth deliberating as it is a subject which is in the full glare of publicity.
Being more Human
So, whether it is Alpha Zero, DeepMind (Google’s subsidiary) Artificial Intelligence conquering Chess or Alibaba’s AI outperforming mortals in comprehension tests, the war seems to be uncompromising with the fierce rise of the machines. There is no question, with the help of AI, today we can diagnose certain diseases, grade essays, outsmart comprehension tests or may even conduct audits in near future, but the fact of the matter is that we can’t eliminate the human element from the recruitment process entirely. According to Kevin Wheeler, Founder and President of the Future of Talent Institute, San Francisco said in a conference for recruiters, “AI will get better, but right now, AI tools are really stupid. No recruiter should fear that they will lose their job within the next five years. Some low-level, repetitive jobs may be in danger, but we still need people to make decisions." Now, this is quite a respite and will certainly leave the terror-stricken bunch of recruiters to breathe easy. Well the idea here is not to set a tone to belittle AI in anyway, but to figure out how AI and recruiting can go hand in hand to drive better decisions. Since there is a price to pay for everything that makes our lives easy, the resolution lies in being prudent when it comes to usage of such tools.
Think about the life of the recruiter, who handles the quotidian activities like touching base with the candidates, screening and shortlisting resumes and communicating with the job applicants through emails every single day of his/ her life. We need to act smart here and remember, “Automation is a blessing if used well”. And these are the areas, where we should brace ourselves for these utterly revolutionizing technologies. Now tell me which recruiter will mind the smarter recommendations coming their way from Textkernel, a tool that assists recruiters to latch on to their ideal candidate, not having them to do anything whatsoever. Creya, a conversational recruitment assistant from Interviewdesk, a Chennai-based Interviewer community platform is under development. She can perform tasks like resume parsing, interview coordination, interview scheduling etc. which could save up to 75% of time spent on scheduling done by recruiters. Interviewdesk team is already doing trial runs and their masterly work is in progress. So, the next time you come across the buzzword AI, you should not be surprised that machines are capable of outperforming human tasks, if given the right data. And we couldn’t agree more that we humans stand no chance of competing against these tools on frequent and high volume tasks due to their ability to multi task. ML is a potent branch of AI which started making its way in the industry in the early 1990s. Here again, Creya is seamlessly being trained to use Machine Learning to ask questions relevant to the job and thus will aid in screening suitable candidates. She can even evaluate interviewers in order to help create the best panel of experts at Interviewdesk. Matt Hendrickson, CEO of Ascendify, a company into AI powered talent acquisition software, says “One HR person, with the support of an intelligent AI assistant, can make smarter, more strategic recommendations based on any business line manager’s need.” Creya bot will help candidates find the right job as well. She is trained to understand natural language and speech to answer intelligently. Candidates can simply upload their resumes, talk a bit about themselves and Creya can find the right employer for you.
More Good News
Imagine the significant reduction in time a recruiter could save in sourcing finest of talents for the organization thereby increasing the overall productivity and economizing processes. In the same breath, AI is back on your side in obliterating bias in the hiring process which would enhance diversity. Unlike the emotional earthlings, where traces of preferential treatment could be observed all around the corners and crevices of recruiting.
Humans vs Machines
There’s enough fluff around AI and ML all over the shop but are these systems intelligent enough? All of it is too good to be true, right? Although many jobs might be hanging by the thread with the advancement of AI across industries, it can’t let the curtain fall on the careers of a recruiter. Getting the support from machines on hand can be extremely compelling due to the element of ease they bring on the table. Having said that, we must be mindful of the flip side too which can’t be disregarded. Whether or not there are inadequacies in using AI tools, is essentially a question of time. However, the best answer lies in finding the middle ground always. And if we want to stay ahead of the machines, remedy lies in attacking the enemy of your calling. There’s no question machines have limitations and so do humans. But humans can tackle novel situations and develop strategies, while AI tools can’t. The most basic limitation of machines is, it depends on large volumes of past data to learn from and this is where humans will lay down the law and overrule.
Let’s conclude this by what had been reiterated in the beginning of the article. The single but most pivotal of all the components is the human element. Even the best of robots can’t emote like we humans do. There is a wide range of emotions that are experienced each day in the hiring process by candidates, recruiters and the hiring managers and here’s why we need to keep the sanctity of human touch intact. That’s something AI cannot capture by any close imagination in coming years.
Recruiters should do the craft they are good at – build networks, devise strategy, collaborate and communicate with applicants while let AI tools to do what they are good at- transactional stuff, so to speak like schedule interviews, storytelling the role to candidates initially etc. This is where AI tools like Creya, IBM Watson, HireIQ, Affectiva can perform extraordinary feats and revolutionize the interviewing process effectively.
In the end I would like to finish by quoting what Anthony Goldbloom, Founder & CEO of Kaggle (a Silicon Valley start-up) spoke in one of the TED talks. “Whatever you decide to do, let everyday bring you a new challenge. If it does, then you will stay ahead of the machines.”
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