Is AI Going to Replace Recruiters?
Though Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems like a more modern idea, it’s quite old. The term was first documented in the 1950s when a group of scholars proposed a workshop with the goal of mimicking the human brain. The workshop was intended to last for a summer, as the authors of this grant confidently concluded that “every aspect of learning and every feature of intelligence can be described and replicated.” Given that it’s the present day and robots are not sentient, we can confidently conclude that this summer venture did not meet expectations.
Great strides have been made in science since this ambitious proposal. Consider that AI can create art, write stories, and process speech (e.g., Amazon Alexa). Scientists have long said that these abstract cognitive processes distinguish us from the rest of the animal kingdom. While these feats are extraordinary, they are not quite human when performed by AI.
A study about legitimizing bias demonstrated that humans assume AI is behind biased decisions. But, humans are as much of a black box as AI. Could this mean that AI (particularly black box AI) is not so far removed from us? If this is the case, should we fear an “I, Robot” reality?
The answer is no. AI makes mistakes all the time. There are countless notable examples, but perhaps a particularly prevalent one (with serious public safety implications) is how often self-driving cars fail when presented with situations absent from their training data (like a balloon in the street instead of a highly-accounted-for ball).
So, what AI can do is support the work of human recruiters. Determining whether an applicant is qualified can take weeks. AI can remove the manual labor of sifting through applications and allow recruiters to focus on pinpointing quality candidates. This kind of deep work is where humans excel, whereas the surface-level job of screening applicants out is where automated systems thrive. Simply put, AI can automate the “boring” and time-consuming tasks so recruiters can focus on the deep work.
AI will not replace recruiters. And hiring professionals should not fear or avoid AI recruiting. What AI recruiting does accomplish is access to talent. Hiring professionals should incorporate AI into their recruitment strategies. This increases organizations’ competitiveness and gives them the jumpstart on great candidates.