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AI Report 3: 10 ways in which machines are [paradoxically] supporting human resources

Mya, Olivia or Vera are the head-hunters you might be talking to in the preliminary phases of your next job search. And yes, they are Artificial Intelligence (AI) software solutions used in the recruiting process.

“Entrusting machines in the field of human resources (HR) may sound like a paradox, but if paired to human agency, artificial intelligence is potentially a revolutionary tool,” Enza Artino, International Services Manager of Wyser, a global executive search and recruiting company of Gi Group, with operations in 12 countries across the world.

The experts know that a good part of the success of any organization depends on how effectively their HR match people, processes and technologies, so AI landing in their HR department was just a matter of time.

In today’s fast hiring cycles, with companies receiving hundreds or even thousands of CVs, the preliminary segments of a hiring process can be challenging, just in terms of the sheer time needed to tap into multiple data sources, screen and run the first interviews. “A high degree of automation in the preliminary phases allows HR experts and headhunters to invest their resources in strategic activities like selecting and consulting,” Ms. Artino said.

“AI technologies will help to efficiently automate many back-office functions for reliable HR transactions and service delivery,” the EY report on “Artificial Intelligence for Human Resource Opportunities and Functions” reads. With an ever-increasing amount of HR data in the cloud, “the use of artificial intelligence analyses offer better insight into how to execute and operate (…) Human resources executives have faith that merging AI into HR administration functions will benefit and improve the overall employee experience. This will provide more capacity, more time and budget, and more accurate information for decisive people management.”

Hilton hotel HR experts are using a chatbot to interview candidates and answer their questions that allowed them to shorten dramatically the early stages of a search from the 6 weeks needed in the past.

Another use case is Vera, a robot from a Russian startup that can conduct 1500 telephone or video 8 minutes interviews a day. Using a male or a female voice, Vera interacts with the candidates answering their questions in Russian or English. IKEA Russia is one of the 200 Russian companies already using the robot to manage the huge amount of curricula it is sent in a year.

The following are some takeaways on AI impacting human resources.

  1. Using Headhunters Time Wisely. Headhunters are irreplaceable because of their empathy, intuition and dedicated attention, but automation that speeds up the screening and the early selection of suitable talent, provides them with a much deeper analytical insight and an opportunity to be more effective in the next phases of executive recruiting. Enza Artino, Head of International Services, Wyser.
  2. Employee Retention. IBM’s Watson Analytics shows what drives attrition in the employee base, and can predict who will leave the job with 95% accuracy. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty via CNBC‘s @ Work Talent + HR Summit.

Below, the opinion of some members of the Forbes Human Resources Council, via Forbes Magazine (my abridging).

  1. A More Inclusive Workforce. [If trained with the right combination of data sets, EN] AI is eliminating unconscious bias when assessing candidates to provide a more diverse and inclusive workforce for an organization. Sherry Martin, OmniTRAX.
  2. More Accurate Candidate Matching. The ability to understand a CV beyond the words on the page is a human skill, but AI is proving to be significantly better at this than even skilled, experienced recruiters, thus providing HR experts with more time to coach, guide candidates and hire managers. Karla Reffold, Beecher Madden.
  3. The Ability to Find Applicants whose Skills Match those of Current Employees. One of the biggest challenges when targeting the right candidates is ensuring that the real requirements are clearly understood and communicated. AI could be used to compare skills and behaviors of current successful incumbents with those of job seekers. Joyce Maroney, Kronos Incorporated.
  4. Proactive Candidate Selection. AI helps augment a recruiter’s ability to find and engage candidates when they are scarce, by dramatically improving the efficiency of a proactive sourcing process. Steven Jiang, Hiretual.
  5. Accelerated Times-To-Hire. By interacting with candidates to quickly ascertain their fit for a role, AI accelerates times-to-hire, and is already a game-changer for employers and staffing firms. Genine Wilson, Kelly Services.
  6. A Better Introduction to Applicants. Getting to know and understanding candidates better, and then matching that to a company’s managerial needs adds value and efficiency to recruiting and makes the candidate experience more enjoyable. Adam Mellor, ONE Gas, Inc.
  7. Easier Candidate Filtering and Tracking. An AI technology like Google Hire can help recruiters filter out and keep track of candidates who previously applied. Michele Markey, SkillPath.
  8. Staff Forecasting. Identifying when and how many new people will need to be hired, e.g. through KPIs involving productivity, volumes, turnover, labor hours and so on, potentially accelerates recruiting cycles. Sarah O’Neill, SHRM-SCP, Humano LLC.