Recruiting 2.0 Challenges in the Age of AI

26 April, 2023

By Nunzia Di Bartolomeo, Simone Formato and Melania De Gennaro, PRAXI (Italy)

Our world continues to advance in unimaginable ways and although the technology revolution has made life more efficient, it has also exposed many human limitations.

Fast forward to the present, where we find Artificial Intelligence (AI) solving complex problems in mere seconds, and a frightening thought emerges: will AI replace human jobs and change the workplace forever?

AI in Daily Life

As a simple example, Shopping for basic goods has shifted from a brick and mortar visit, to our fingertips, via computers, tablets, mobiles, and watches. Since our buying activity is being extensively tracked and used to improve our experience, often without our full awareness, there’s no escaping AI’s omnipresence in our daily lives.  

Many traditional businesses are feeling early-stage challenges from AI’s impact, and one sector being deeply affected is Human Resources.

AI in Simple Terms

Whether it be for curiosity or fear of being replaced, recent searches for keywords like ChatGPT, chatbots and AI have exploded. Everyone is seeking to understand the meaning of this simple yet complex acronym.

Artificial Intelligence is, in essence, the ability of a machine to exhibit human capabilities like reasoning, learning, and creativity.

AI in Human Resources

In HR, AI has been applied to integrate, enhance and speed up the complex task of pooling candidates and selecting the best fit, as demonstrated by the use of robots and chatbots.

  • Robot Vera

Designed by the Russian startup, Stafory, global companies such as Ikea, L’Oréal and McDonald’s are testing it for recruitment purposes.

The Vera Robot contacts groups of people who have applied for a given professional opportunity and carries out both the candidate screening phase, based on keywords intercepted in resumes (age, place of residence, etc.), and the pre-qualification phase. Only closely matching candidates are referred to human recruiters, who are responsible for making the final selection

  • Chatbots

Among chatbots, ChatGPT, has gained notoriety by allowing users to interact with their digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person.

ChatGPT is a highly intuitive artificial intelligence system. When applied to recruiting, it can support many daily activities­­­ like identifying target companies in a specific industry, writing a job description for a given recruitment, identifying the most suitable technical interview questions, as well as the final interview reporting.

AI replaces neither intelligence nor human sensibility, but it accelerates and facilitates the timelines of procedures.

No matter how efficient these innovative tools prove to be, they will remain poorly compatible with the managerial creativity and customization required for accurate and timely identification of the most fitting candidate, not to mention the relationship factor needed for a successful placement.   

Which risks do AI algorithms pose to recruitment?

Like any machine, Artificial Intelligence has its limitations:

  • A lack of empathy, moral values, and ethics
  • No capacity for fairness beyond what is programmed, thereby running the risk of making wrong decisions or getting stuck in case of unexpected situations
  • Incapable of thinking cross-culturally or accurately calibrating an individual’s soft skills

And risks:

  • Selecting candidates most compatible with the algorithm, but not necessarily corresponding to the best profile on the market or best suited to the actual business context
  • A loss of the human touch, which is important for successfully hiring and integrating a new employee
  • Algorithm filters and matches set by humans that inadvertently reinforce biases and discrimination

Technology, with its many pros and cons, will continue to dominate, so it is up to us – humans – to create a more ethical and inclusive recruiting model.

Amid these emerging trends, it is crucial that these tools remain a valuable support for making recruitment processes more efficient, however only a human recruiter has the emotional intelligence necessary to evaluate the limitations and risks.

Being Human in the Digital Era

We can envision a world where recruiters and hiring managers will be free of repetitive routine tasks that can be delegated to AI, shifting attention to the more strategic work needed to develop human relationships with candidates and employers.

Technological innovations such as AI will allow us to work productively and improve employee retention, employer branding and talent acquisition, representing an opportunity — and not a limitation — for the evolution of HR and for the overall labor market. If used in a strategic and responsible way.

The question marks about AI’s capabilities remain. In the meantime, we humans should take full advantage our remarkable capabilities. As stated by Elbert Green Hubbard, “One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

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