Due to record-low levels of unemployment, companies are being forced to compete more than ever for the talent they need. These tight labour market conditions are especially acute for leadership and specialized hard-to-fill positions. There is an opportunity to use technological solutions to assist in finding talent, however, there are limits to what artificial intelligence can do for HR.  

The potential
New technology is emerging to make sourcing and screening candidates easier. Artificial intelligence (AI) screening software has greatly helped in filtering resumes according to the job descriptions. Today’s challenge for HR is reaching the right, most relevant candidates.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have been widely used for screening resumes. A traditional ATS requires recruiters to input keywords and the ATS sifts through incoming applications. However, the AI behind this technology is evolving. 

One example of this is IBM’s AI recruitment platform called Watson Candidate Assistant. This software can infer specific skills that a candidate must have based on the jobs listed in their resume. If the candidate has worked in business intelligence, Watson can ascertain that they have skills in data analytics, forecasting and reporting on trends, even if these skills are not explicitly listed. 

When recruiters post a job on LinkedIn, the professional networking site now automatically offers them a customized short list of candidates sourced from its database that closely match the job description. 

AI can also be beneficial to recruiters in the screening process. Automated questionnaires and chatbots can conduct the initial survey of candidate qualifications and expectations. Chatbots can further answer candidate questions, respond to applications, and even set up interview times. This immediacy of response can be crucial for success. 

The limits
Artificial intelligence is great at crunching data, reacting with automated responses, and automating mundane daily tasks of recruitment. However, it is far less effective at evaluating personality and motivation.

A human recruiter can understand a manager’s work style and the culture of the team. Finding the candidate with the right aptitude and attitude to merge seamlessly with the department usually requires the experienced eye of a recruiter who gets it. The out-of-the-box thinking, people management, human interaction and coaching aspects are crucial and will continue to demand a human touch.

Also, while technology can make the recruitment process much more efficient, engaging with coveted top talent, and enticing them to work for your organization over a competitor, requires more than automated responses. Chatbots and form e-mails are great for moving through the early steps of disseminating information back and forth, but eventually candidates need to make a human connection.

What does this mean for HR?
Increasing efficiency, reducing time spent on mundane tasks, and improving overall productivity for recruiters are just some of the benefits of integrating AI into HR. However, selecting the right-fit candidate from a group of applicants that are similar on paper, and negotiating a contract with that chosen hire, are as much art as science.

This is where a lifetime of human interactions and experience become essential. That is where they can bring the greatest value: assessing candidates and selling them on the role. The connections that are made by HR professionals is undeniable.

Source: Globe & Mail