Can You Balance Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Hiring Process and Keep the Human Touch?

by Kip Havel, Dexian Chief Marketing Officer Effective hiring has hinged on the ability of HR and recruiting professionals’ ...

by Kip Havel, Dexian Chief Marketing Officer

Effective hiring has hinged on the ability of HR and recruiting professionals’ ability to distinguish exceptional talent from a sea of candidates. This has, at its best, been a true people process, where humans connect to make careers and corporations better. Yet, in this rapidly evolving landscape, artificial intelligence is reshaping the paradigm, streamlining processes, and automating virtually all but the most intricate facets of recruitment. 

That in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. AI can help expedite and automate necessary but time-consuming workflows and processes that impede the hiring process. However, as organizations quickly adopt new technology, it is important modernization doesn’t come at the expense of morality or efficacy. The challenge for all of us is learning how to fuse innovation with the boundless creativity of the human spirit.   

Which Processes Can You Automate?  

Goldman Sachs predicts that about 25-50% of the workload of many jobs can be outright replaced by artificial intelligence. For the most part, that accounts for tasks that are easily repeatable or formulaic. Algorithms shine when they are handling high-volume processes that do not require much critical thinking or present too much novelty.  

In the hiring and recruiting world, these steps are particularly ripe for artificial intelligence:  

  • Candidate Sourcing and Screening – The manual process of proactively finding quality candidates has always been time-consuming. Skilled recruiters know how to speed up sourcing and screening, but it’s not the best use of their time, making this a perfect task for automation. Machine learning features enable HR professionals and recruiters to create automated search parameters with job titles, skills, keywords, and locations at their core. AI-powered platforms can even begin to learn lessons from the candidates who make it through every stage of selection and even stay with your organization, improving long-term hiring outcomes.
  • First Interviews – The pandemic familiarized people with virtual interviews and even pre-recorded video responses, but the technology is evolving even beyond those benchmarks. Automated video interviews (AVI) incorporate bots that not only collect candidates’ answers to your questions, but also data on their non-verbal communication cues, tone of voice, vocabulary, and keyword usage. If used carefully, AVI platforms can provide business leaders with some essential information. You can learn how well they grasp their subject matter and whether they know how to communicate information to their target audience (an indispensable skill for any job). Though we’re seeing more instances of AI-led interview tools that offer recommendation engines, it’s important to tread with caution: these unsupervised features can lead to unchecked biases (more on that below).
  • Notetaking – Jotting down thoughts, impressions, and follow-up questions during the interview is how most experienced managers and recruiters make decisions and differentiate between candidates (interviews aren’t all that’s on their minds). However, if someone is diligently typing responses verbatim or in-depth thoughts in real-time, they can lose the thread of a conversation or miss key details. This is a perfect time when artificial intelligence in the hiring process makes a difference. Tools like HireLogic can summarize the key talking points of calls and even notate any potential follow-ups. With the right integration, these algorithm-fueled notetaking programs can upload these recaps within applicant tracking systems and other hiring tools without skipping a beat.  

Which Processes Still Need People?  

Sometimes business leaders and innovators preoccupy themselves with whether they can use AI and don’t stop to think if they should. This technology is truly remarkable, with immense potential. Yet, it’s crucial to bear in mind that technology alone, without the enriching embrace of meaningful human interaction, can lead to disconnects that hinder us from achieving the extraordinary experiences we should all aspire to create. Here’s where we think human beings still have a valuable part to play:  

  • Follow-up Interviews – At the end of the day, your candidates will be interacting with human beings on the job, so simply testing one-sided recorded responses does them an injustice. How a candidate interacts with members of your team or a trusted recruiter can preview their demeanor on the job. Experienced HR leaders and recruiters have more value than just gauging how “people-friendly” a candidate might be. Their extensive knowledge can shepherd job interviews, using their knowledge to ask questions that build upon what’s already been discussed as well as respectively push back or dive deeper into yellow-flag responses.
  • Relationship Building – Hiring should never feel like a transactional exchange. The goal is to find someone who can fit within your organization, whether that’s on a permanent or contract basis. Everyone who is pulled into your hiring funnel should feel that personal touch, even if you don’t hire them. Artificial intelligence skill cannot emulate emotional intelligence (EQ). Their natural language processing abilities can tailor messages to answer questions, but they can’t share stories or build connections the way humans can. This is where the fusion between process and people remains crucial. The best recruiters not only take the time to talk with candidates, but they check in, share stories, exchange funny videos, and do the all-too-human work of building lasting relationships. 
  • Bias Elimination – Artificial intelligence’s hyper-focus on completing tasks is both a strength and a caution. These tools don’t stop to “think” about peripheral concerns, possible side effects, or the implications of their actions. They just act. Moreover, as machines learn in order to optimize, we must ensure the people positioned to provide that learning don’t carry troublesome biases into the process.
  • Modern AI algorithms will not catch biases or might even entrench those biases the way Amazon’s failed AI-recruiting tool did when they systematized preferring male over female candidates. On the other hand, experienced HR leaders and recruiters can step back, take a deep breath, and evaluate the larger circumstances, catching any partiality or discrimination before it hurts your talent funnel or organization.  

How Dexian Is Leveraging AI 

When it comes to every technology decision, we always ask this question: how does this measure serve our greater purpose of being in the business for good? When it comes to artificial intelligence in the hiring process, we’ve made a commitment to implementing the technology while also respecting what humans do best.  

Part of our early success has been partnering with HireLogic. Their emphasis on using their own recruiting knowledge to create an intuitive experience for staffing professionals is allowing our people to effectively accelerate hiring while also building lasting bonds with leaders and tech professionals. In fact, their conversational analytics are giving our team invaluable insights that are informing candidate recommendations, highlighting new opportunities, and improving outcomes at every level.  

Plus, our own growing expertise around AI and cognitive services is helping us to guide ethical and effective implementation across our business. It’s partnerships and experience like this that empowers Dexian to respect people-centric processes while enhancing workflows at the speed and scale of today’s business world. Who says you can’t have it both ways?  

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