SmartRecruiters Hiring Success Journal


Practical Guide to 2018’s Top AI and Automation Trends

Technophobic no longer, recruiters are embracing the potential of AI to positively impact their workflow.

Fairly or not, the recruiting industry is often branded as tech-averse. However, recent survey findings concerning the future of technology in HR are helping shed this negative stereotype, ushering in an era where TA becomes the poster child for early adoption.

According to Korn Ferry’s latest survey, 63 percent of TA professionals report AI having changed the way their organizations recruit. Not only that, but 87 percent say they’re excited about increasing their AI interaction in the future.

While these integrations are exciting sometimes it’s difficult to get past buzzwords to decipher the real concepts behind them.To gain a better understanding of the possibilities of tech when it comes to recruiting, we did the unpacking for you. Here are four main types of AI and automation technologies and how they’re being implemented in recruiting.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the ability of a machine or computer program to simulate human capacities such as learning, problem-solving, planning, and perception.

AI for recruiting is the application of artificial intelligence in recruitment designed to automate or streamline some part of the workflow, especially repetitive, high-volume tasks.

Let’s get specific.

In recruiting, there are three subdomains of AI techniques being applied:

  • Machine learning is a type of algorithm that has the ability to teach itself by analyzing data and automatically improving its solutions through experience. Machine learning is being used to automate sourcing and resume screening as well as analyze candidate fit during digitized interviews.

An example of an innovative organization using AI for their screening is Indigo, a leading retailer that receives more than 2200 applications every week. Using AI to automate manual resume screening, Indigo has been able to reduce their cost per hire by 71 percent, triple their qualified candidates, and improve recruiter efficiency by 3.7x.

  • Natural language processing is the ability of a computer program to understand spoken or written human language. One major way natural language processing is being used in recruitment is through chatbots that provide answers to FAQs and feedback to candidates in real time.
  • Sentiment analysis is the ability of a computer program to determine the subjective opinion, emotional state, or intended emotional effect of spoken or written word. Sentiment analysis is being used to improve job descriptions by suggesting alternative adjectives, for example.

Recruitment chatbot

A chatbot is defined as ‘a computer program designed to stimulate conversation with human users.’

Randstad found that 82 percent of job seekers believe the ideal recruiting interaction is a mix between innovative technology and personal, human connection. According to Allegis, with 66 percent of candidates comfortable interacting with a chatbot, the market seems ready for mainstream adoption.

In recruiting, chatbots are being used to ask candidates qualifying questions, answer FAQs, and even schedule an interview with a human recruiter. A major advantage of using a chatbot in recruiting is its ability to answer thousands of candidates’ questions simultaneously in real time. Information collected by the chatbot is then fed into an ATS or sent directly to a human recruiter for follow up.

Robotic Process Automation

Hand in hand with AI is automation, or more specifically, robotic process automation (RPA).

The Institute of Robotic Process Automation defines robotic process automation as the application of technology that allows employees to use computer software or a machine to capture and interpret existing applications for processing transactions, analyzing data, triggering automatic responses, and communicating with other systems.

RPA is being applied in recruiting in two main ways:

  • Candidate outreach such as automated emails or texts to maintain speedy and consistent contact. This outreach can be scheduled as a DRIP campaign for passive candidates, for example.
  • Interview scheduling is being automated by software that offer time slots when a recruiter is free that candidates can then select without a back-and-forth email, text, or telephone exchange.

Blockchain technology

While blockchain is still in the beta stages, it’s gaining more and more attention this year.

A blockchain is a system of record keeping using an open, distributed digital ledger that records transactions between two parties. Each transaction in the ledger is verified and then recorded permanently across a peer-to-peer network of users. One advantage of blockchain technology is its speed of use — everyone has access to the most up-to-date information regardless of how many people are using it.

For recruiting, the main application of blockchain technology so far is candidate background checks; for example, on their educational or work history. For blockchain technology to work as a tamper-proof record of candidate history, it’s crucial that a credible and reliable source verifies the data in each block. For educational institutions, this is pretty straightforward, but it becomes more ambiguous when it comes to work history.

Even with all this technology making the recruiting process smarter, it remains to be seen how these elements will ultimately affect the business of managing human capital.

Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal, AI recruiting software that automates time-consuming tasks such as sourcing, screening, and messaging. She has a Master’s in Industrial­-Organizational Psychology and her interests include data-based recruitment, HR tech, and diversity. Find out more about Ideal in the SmartRecruiters marketplace here.

Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min