I feel AI is going to have this same effect. It
is going to be social leveler, removing the bias and unconscious stereotypes
that the human mind thrives on. Why do we have less women in leadership roles?
Why are people of color missing in the entrepreneurial world? And we have these
endless arguments ad nausea blaming all and sundry, trying to put in artificial
rules and policies to address it. The results are incremental and tough to get.
Can problems like this disappear as we start using AI and ML tools for decision
making in hiring?
The world we are hiring in is constantly changing
Let’s admit, AI might have somewhat of a bad reputation in
hiring because it has already shown how it can eliminate jobs, especially in
the manufacturing field. Besides, there is a valid concern that it can
dehumanize the hiring process, one that is fraught with emotions and nerves in
the first place.
The requirement for skills no longer follows the traditional
positions and gone are the days when geography was a hiring barrier. We are
living in times when the right person for the job might not be one who has held
the right title or years of experience, but someone who might possess the right
combination of skills, experiences and an astute understanding of a business
problem. Clearly, it means that time is of the essence, and a wrong hire,
especially at the senior level, can cost an organisation dearly. Enter AI.
One of the most exciting possibilities of AI is the potential
to analyse vast amounts of data (although algorithms are only as good as the
data fed into them). It will not be too long before AI will digest data, make
predictions and carry out tasks that would normally require human intervention,
with alarming speed and accuracy. In fact, we have already started to see this
kind of technology in use, although it is still in the very early stages. For example,
Entelo, an SF-based startup, uses AI in HR recruiting to mine a company’s ATS
(Applicant Tracking System) as well as every social media platform in existence
to build a database of more than 300 million profiles. Some large organisations
are jumping on the bandwagon too. Citigroup is using predictive hiring software
developed by startup Koru to identify which new college grads to hire as
investment bankers, based on data collected using diversity, cultural fit and
loyalty as yardsticks.
The Venture Capitalists who are the trend spotters have
already given a thumbs up by pumping in about $863 million into recruiting
startups alone, in 2016, nearly tripling the amount in funding from just two
years earlier(crunch base). Exciting possibilities of how hiring can change for
the better and perhaps lead to a completely different looking organization
tomorrow! And why not?
Let us analyse a few aspects of hiring that AI will surely
Increased efficiency based on better access to data
There’s no denying that AI can, and will, help hire
candidates faster. When machines have already done the heavy lifting of
trawling through the world wide web to shortlist great candidates, contact and
schedule interviews with them, recruiters can focus on the decision-making. For
instance, the predictions that AI can throw up while filling a position might
alert the recruiter to an existing bias that previously went unnoticed because
there wasn’t enough information to develop a behaviour pattern. It would help
streamline their efforts, and reduce incorrect candidate-position mismatch.
That would save any company time and resources.
Better talent – employment fit
Drawing from many data sources means that it is not only the
recruiters who would benefit. Potential candidates will have as much to gain
from this process as well. In some cases, it might aid the realisation that a
position was not suited for them in the first place, and would lead them to
withdraw their application altogether, or not apply at all. Israel-based startup
Workey, is already making headway in this space, helping companies find talent
and talent find employment. Its business model has already attracted $9.6
million in funding, so the initial signs seem encouraging.
Leveraging data to ensure more nimble organisations
The rising tide of AI in recruitment will also undoubtedly
bring a certain rigor to the process of evaluation for large companies. In the
past, hiring intelligence was scattered and dependent on the people doing the
hiring. Hence the biases, room for human error etc. But in tasks where a human
recruiter could suffer from fatigue or inattention, a machine could do without
breaking a sweat. With all the available data on candidates and positions to be
filled, large companies would also be able to develop their own databases that
would not only aid their talent acquisition teams but also result in being a
strategic tool when companies inevitably get into new businesses. As businesses
evolve at lightning speed in today’s times, enterprises can ill afford to fall
back on previous patterns and make the same mistakes. In the future at least,
it will not be for want of accurate and voluminous data on their staffing
patterns, needs or candidate performances.
The writing is on the wall. It is only a matter of time
before AI will become ubiquitous in our lives. We might even take it for
granted one day, like we do electricity or the internet today. But the onus is
on us to collaborate and shape it for the greater good. It will be exciting to
see what the future will hold.