Press 1 to Learn About AI, Press 2 to Ignore It

The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. There are websites administering this test online where individuals can chat back and forth with an unknown source and at the end, guess if it was a computer or another human. Similarly, it seems companies have been administering the same test on us with hundreds of unsolicited calls to our homes and cell phones. Unfortunately, these robocalls continue to fail miserably at winning our collective hearts and minds. Since the 1950’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistive software has made huge strides: it has won Jeopardy, beaten the great chess masters, and now it has turned its web camera on huge portions of the economy. The latest technology out there is looking to blur the lines between man and machine with a humanistic voice and software that could find us having pleasant conversations with our future robot overlords without even knowing it’s a computer. The same market forces driving automation within the manufacturing industry or self-driving cars within the transportation industry are also at work within the recruiting field. Great advancements are being made that could automate significant portions of the tracking, screening, assessment, and retention portions within HR and recruiting. With these advancements, will there still be a place for a human touch?

The latest AI technology designed for the HR and recruiting industry is able to handle dozens of different monotonous and repetitive tasks. Today, large firms are primarily using this technology to sort through and communicate with thousands of incoming applicants at lightening speeds. AI bots are pushing, scanning, parsing, and evaluating candidate applications in relatively brief intervals. These Bots can contact and interact with new and existing applicants via email, text, and some “verbal” dialog to extract additional required info and generate interest. Candidates can be administered logic-based competency games where their every move will be tracked and used as part of the evaluation.

AI software can also conduct video interviews, asking prepopulated questions while analyzing facial expressions and eye movement to record stress, inattention, anxiety, or numerous other involuntary pieces of info, up to approximately 25,000 different data points from just one, 15 minute interaction. The AI software does not have to deal with the same functional limitations that humans may have such as language barriers or the tendency for interviewers to “zone out.” Once a candidate finally makes it past the machine’s user adjustable scrutiny, machines are able to cross reference the calendars of multiple recruiters and hiring authorities to find coinciding open windows of availability, schedule calls, and set interview reminders for the humans involved.

But the machines don’t stop once a hire is made. AI software continues to go even further as it stays vigilant and tracks and analyzes performance and retention KPI’s such as tardiness, work output, social media activity, and PTO usage. A recent Forbes article discussing IBM’s AI system claimed that the company was able to predict within 95% accuracy if a team member is about to quit his or her job, thereby saving IBM over $300 million in turnover costs. Thus, it has been established that AI does and will provide insight into employees who may be ready for a new challenge or departments that are understaffed, perhaps eventually preemptively finding and suggesting candidates for current or perceived upcoming vacancies. For the time being humans will still make the choice of who to hire, but even that could one day face the inevitable adaptability presented by AI.

So, what is left for us air breathers to do in the above described automated dystopia? Firstly, it appears that most current AI programs within the HR and recruiting world are geared towards high-volume staffing and bulk applicant type environments. Fortune 500 giants have thousands of openings to fill and thousands more applicants to sort through, so automating any part of that process is a huge plus from a time, cost, and labor-intensive perspective. From what we are seeing with our partners, for most land title insurance, appraisal, and settlement companies that make far fewer hires each year, having some human hands in the mix early still makes a lot of sense. Additionally, in our experience, passive candidates are not typically applying online. Executives, middle management, and skilled front liners are typically not sitting through a robocall until they can press 1 to be considered for a role. How a regional sales person connects with a human being during a one-on-one interaction, whether in person or on the phone, is incalculable by a computer.

Whether first party (working directly for an employer) or third party (like Anderson|Biro), the experienced recruiter’s role is just as much about making the process simplistic for the hiring company as it is about connecting top talent with their organization. Once the greater public realizes that their eye movement is being tracked and analyzed during that robotic interview, the real talent out there in the industry is likely going to make hiring companies chase them just that much more. It may be perceived in the candidate mind as one more necessary hoop through which they will be expected to jump.

So, good news folks, similar to just about every other industry, AI is definitely changing the face of the recruiting and retention space. In our opinion, probably for the better. The key will be determining how and where to leverage its functionality. For now, AI is being used as a time saver and way to create additional leverage for recruiters and hiring managers alike. It is helping internal and external recruiters and hiring managers net more candidates, spending a little less time on menial tasks and more time on interviewing and building relationships with industry talent. We will continue to monitor the progress of our future AI overlords. At least for now, it turns out that having a human partner that occasionally breathes is kinda nice.  Eventually, we will likely see more and more synergies with the AI element and the people side of recruiting and retention and that will likely be a good thing for everyone!

Should you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website www.andersonbiro.com and one of our team members will be happy to hear your thoughts.