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Can AI replace the recruiter?

Written by Vicky Jessop on 01 Aug 18
Can AI replace the recruiter?
Technology has been impacting our lives for centuries, but perhaps never quite as much as in the past twenty or thirty years. With the advent of the Internet and smartphones, we’ve become accustomed to accessing everything we want at the touch of a button, whether it’s ordering food, clothes or checking our bank balances.

This applies to recruitment, too. For years, the sector hasn’t changed all that much: recruiters still sift through piles of CV and decide which applications to take further, and which not. But the introduction of AI might be due to change that. Along with big data, it’s proven to be quite a disruptor, and has already changed the way in which the sector works. 

Alongside introducing chatbots to communicate with clients, and analysing masses of candidate data to develop smarter marketing and recruitment techniques, it is capable of running algorithm-based searches which can find candidates and match them to the best jobs, based on their CV and digital footprint. Given that this is the recruiter’s bread and butter, this could spell quite a worrying trend for the industry. 

So, what does this mean for the recruiter? 

Automation has the potential to be a huge threat for recruiters: after all, machine learning is capable of matching more clients, more accurately than any human, which is a huge part of any recruiter’s job. For an industry that is also worth billions of pounds worldwide, machine learning also has the potential to automate low-level tasks, streamline the recruitment process and decrease the time to hire. 

However, there are some positives too: though AI algorithms can match the key skills and experience on a candidate’s CV to their ideal jobs, they cannot sell a job in the way that a recruiter can. They don’t know how to present an opportunity- or to negotiate between the client and the candidate in the way that a skilled recruiter can. Similarly, the ‘cold’ feeling of interacting with a machine or chatbot can’t replace the relationship that many recruiters build with their customers.  

As machine learning gets smarter, many of these problems may be overcome: by smarter machines, by machines that are already learning how to hold primitive ‘conversations’ with humans- such as Amazon’s Alexa. However, the fact remains: recruitment is a human-based industry, and while AI is an immensely useful tool for streamlining the recruitment process, the decision-making will stay at a human level. 

The world of recruitment isn’t finished changing yet.

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