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Why AI will not (and cannot) replace the recruitment process

Why AI will not (and cannot) replace the recruitment process

Like many industries in recent years, the recruitment world has undergone significant transformation following the emergence of AI-powered tools. While artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised various aspects of our lives, many are becoming concerned about its impact on society, and whether or not it will ‘take our jobs’.

In this blog, we explore how the use of AI can assist and compliment human recruiters - but never replace them!

Areas where AI can shine

AI recruitment tools have become increasingly common in the hiring process, and while some of these tools bring undeniable advantages to the recruitment process, it is important to identify which aspects of hiring can be efficiently automated.

So, what are the processes that could benefit from AI enhancements?

Job descriptions and postings – Generative AI platforms, such as ChatGPT are being used more and more to streamline the creation of job descriptions and job ads. AI can draw from thousands of job descriptions across the internet to come up with the most frequently mentioned job responsibilities and requirements. This can be helpful if you’re describing a role that requires industry-specific knowledge and expertise, which are accessible to AI.

At the same time, generative AI platforms are not always factually correct, and they acknowledge this! Given this, generative AI is a great tool for quickly generating the first draft of a job description (or job ad), however, it still needs a person to refine and fact-check its output.

Applicant screening – AI has significantly improved the process of screening resumes and job applications by using algorithms to analyse resumes, identifying the best candidates according to set criteria. These tools can reduce screening time considerably and can also be effective at removing bias, helping recruiters to make more objective decisions.

We do, however, still need to be aware that without human intervention, there are ‘hidden gems’ (those candidates that don’t represent themselves very well on paper but are possibly the best fit) that could be missed by AI screening.

Candidate assessment – Using predictive analytics tools, AI can assess how well candidates match job titles based on their skills and experience. These tools use past hiring data to find trends and connections, assisting hiring managers to make informed decisions during the applicant screening process.

On the flip side of this coin, frustratingly, AI can sometimes make it more difficult to assess candidates. With AI written resumes, cover letters and responses to interview questions, it can become a lot harder for recruiters and potential employers to assess a candidate’s communication skills and understand their real motivation for applying for a role. This also makes determining cultural fit challenging – this would need to be assessed at the interview stage; which could lead to time wasting.

Candidate sourcing / matching – Using algorithms, AI can search online platforms and databases to find potential candidates with the skills and experience required, further extending a recruiter’s reach.

Recruiting always has (and always will be) human-centric

As great as this all sounds, and it is, there are still limitations to what AI can do, that remain invaluable in the recruitment process.

Personal judgment and intuition - AI lacks the ability to make nuanced judgments that come from personal intuition and experience. Decisions about cultural fit, personality compatibility, and other subjective criteria are best made by human recruiters.

Complex decision-making - While AI can assist in the decision-making process by providing data-driven insights, it can't fully replicate complex human decision-making processes that consider non-quantifiable factors.

Understanding nuances of human interaction - AI may not fully understand the subtleties of human communication, such as tone, context, and non-verbal cues during interviews.

Building relationships - AI cannot build and maintain interpersonal relationships in the way humans can. Networking, mentoring, and personal rapport are aspects of the recruitment process that are integral to building a trustworthy employer brand.

Adaptability and flexibility - AI operates within the parameters set by its programming and data. It may not adapt well to unique or unexpected situations that require a flexible, creative approach.

Full legal compliance - AI may not always be up-to-date with the latest employment laws and regulations, which can change frequently and vary by location. Human professionals are needed to ensure full legal compliance in recruitment practices.

Handling complexity in candidate profiles - Candidates with non-linear career paths, diverse skill sets, or unconventional experiences might be overlooked by an AI that is programmed to identify candidates with more traditional qualifications.

Final decision making - Ultimately, AI can streamline the recruitment process and provide recommendations, but the final hiring decision is a human responsibility that takes into account a myriad of factors beyond the capabilities of AI.

Negotiation and closure - Recruiters are skilled at negotiating terms between employers and candidates, adeptly addressing any concerns that may arise. The ability to influence and coach can make all the difference in securing the most suitable candidate for the job, especially when navigating challenges like counter offers, salary expectations, and working conditions.

While the progression of AI offers significant benefits, it is crucial that we understand where it can be used to benefit the recruitment process (and indeed society as a whole). However, we also need to acknowledge that it cannot replace the end-to-end recruitment process; only aid it.

No matter how ‘smart’ AI becomes, it will never be able to fully replace or mimic a skilled recruiter or be able to pick up the many personal nuances that make a candidate a perfect fit for a role. For real-person support to carry out all the recruitment tasks AI can’t support with, get in touch with the team at BWS Recruitment.

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