People & Leadership

Is AI the future of HR and what does it mean for your company?

Discover the role artificial intelligence can play when it comes to dealing with your HR and People management processes.

Artificial intelligence (AI), or self-learning technology, conjures up images of a dystopian sci-fi novel or the next Hollywood blockbuster.

But the bots have well and truly landed and they are already playing a significant role in saving time and money for businesses all over the world.

While bots have been used in several industries, including the automotive and manufacturing sectors, their possibilities are endless across all commercial industries including HR.

Used properly, AI in HR can significantly cut down on hours spent sifting through thousands of resumes, enhance the candidate experience, reduce bias in the recruitment process, and free up HR professionals.

Here’s what we cover:

Artificial or augmented intelligence?

Really, when people talk about artificial intelligence, they mean augmented intelligence.

The former is the replacement of humans with computer systems; the latter is using technology designed to assist humans, not replace them.

We can’t take the human out of human resources any time soon.

The role of AI in HR is to help humans make better and quicker decisions in line with the business strategy, not to replace them entirely.

Like with automation, augmented intelligence can give HR professionals time to focus on the more important job of working with recruits, and towards achieving the organisation’s business goals.

Using AI in HR for resume screening

Finding strong candidates among a giant talent pool is one of the biggest challenges talent managers face.

If we assume that, on average every corporate job opening attracts 250 applications, and the aim is to fill eight to 12 positions every month, it is clear to see that HR professionals spend a disproportionately large part of their jobs sifting through resumes.

An example of AI in HR would be to use algorithms to search resumes for keywords and other factors that match those of successful past hires, to create a shortlist of candidates.

Recruiters take six seconds on average to screen a resume. They aren’t necessarily taking the time to think about the person behind it.

AI programs don’t get tired and overlook important indicators that someone might be right for the job.

In fact, the more resumes AI reviews, the better it gets at finding top candidates.

Optimising candidate experiences

Chatbots are already used in the food and retail industries to help people place orders, ask questions and make complaints.

There is no reason why the same technology can’t be used to schedule interviews and answer job candidates’ frequently asked questions.

Take it one step further and the chatbots of the future could even help with the onboarding process.

Research shows that 44% of workers who don’t hear back from an employer when they apply for a job say they have a worse opinion of that employer.

They are likely to tell friends and family, and post their grievances on social media, potentially affecting a company’s reputation negatively and hindering their ability to attract talent.

An app downloadable on the new recruit’s mobile phone could walk them around the building, share company policies and answer common questions.

Eliminating recruitment bias

AI in HR can also be used to help eliminate bias in the workplace, as algorithms used are blind to race, colour, gender, social demographic, and really don’t care which school a candidate graduated from.

They are looking for qualities and qualifications that have been proven to produce the best outcome for that position.

It is, however, imperative, that AI algorithms are programmed with long-term ethics in mind and that they are audited, tested and tweaked on a regular basis.

More importantly, recruitment decisions should be made by an algorithm-informed individual, rather than by an algorithm alone.

The future of AI in HR

These bots are not about replacing human beings but rather about making it easier for them to get the most from technology and produce better outcomes for the business.

Done responsibly, AI can be used to automate the more tedious tasks of HR, thereby speeding up the recruiting process, enabling companies to make better people decisions and be more competitive in the race to attract top talent.

As a result, the world of HR as we know it will transform completely.

Editor’s note: This article was first published in October 2020 and has been updated for relevance.