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The Myth of Using AI to Free Up Recruiters

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

Let me begin with a caveat. AI-based tools in talent acquisition are a giant leap forward for recruiters. They will make all recruiters more efficient and many recruiters more effective. However, at this point in time, we are not yet anywhere near the end state of the technology’s development. We are, in fact, still very early in its application rollout phase. The most appropriate metaphor, therefore, is the driverless car. As with those vehicles, the state-of-the-art for AI in TA still requires a human in the loop and, as with a driverless car, that human will have jobs to perform, jobs that take time.

The past five years or so have seen an explosion in the availability of AI-based tools for talent acquisition. There are now solutions for sourcing, candidate communications, candidate relationship management, person-job matching, the scheduling and conduct of interviews, assessment and even selection. Said another way, virtually every aspect of the recruiting process has now seen the introduction of tools that derive their capability from artificial intelligence.

These tools deliver a number of benefits, which fall into two general tranches: productivity gains and performance enhancement. On the one hand, they can take over much of the grunt work that has historically consumed huge chunks of recruiters’ time. On the other hand, that time savings will now enable recruiters to “do what they do best” to build relationships with high quality prospects, assess them carefully and sell the best on their employer’s value proposition.

It has all the makings of a virtuous circle, except the ends don’t connect. The circle isn’t complete because there is a short circuit that’s often overlooked. Automation does not eliminate the need for recruiter oversight of even the best AI-based solutions. Or to put it another way, the use of AI solutions itself creates additional work that recruiters must now invest their time to perform.

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The New Cost in Time of AI Solutions

AI is already changing the face of talent acquisition, though not as much as the commentary on social media would suggest. According to LinkedIn’s State of Recruiting 2024 report released just last month, barely a quarter of the TA leaders and professionals who responded - 27 Percent – said they were using or even experimenting with gen AI. With so few potential users yet to get started, now’s the time to figure out how best to implement this powerful capability so it actually delivers the anticipated gains in recruiter productivity and performance.

One of the key aspects of that preparation will be to understand what new or additional tasks will be involved in using AI-based solutions. Here are some of the most obvious:

If gen AI is used to write job postings, recruiters will have to become editors. They will need the skills required to review the content returned by a solution to ensure it is accurate and consistent with the organization’s brand, values and public-facing vocabulary.

Quality Assurance Expert
If AI is used for sourcing, person-job matching or for assessing and/or selecting candidates, recruiters will need the data collection and analysis skills to monitor and evaluate the solutions’ performance/output to ensure it complies with the criteria established by their employer and is free of bias.

Systems Analyst
If AI is used in any part of the recruiting funnel, recruiters will need the technical, business and critical thinking skills to identify and correct human-solution disconnects or misalignments that are undermining the performance of either or both of them.

Using AI to free up recruiters is a myth unless we apply the technology with our eyes open. The key to achieving target KPIs and the anticipated ROI from the introduction of AI-based TA solutions is to understand the new tasks that will be generated by the use of those solutions and to prepare for them in a way that ensures recruiters actually have the time to do what they do best.

Food for Thought,

Peter Weddle has authored or edited over two dozen books and been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.