AI is making its way into recruiting. But are employees on board?

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One key challenge in recruiting new talent, particularly in a tight labor market, is finding the right hires. Overwhelmed HR departments are turning to AI to help with the process, but many job seekers are wary of technology’s use in talent strategies.

So finds a new survey from Clutch, a business-to-business ratings and reviews firm, which found that job seekers aren’t enthusiastic about the rising tech. More than half of recent job seekers (51%) believe AI isn’t advanced enough to assist with the recruiting process, and 19% doubt AI will ever be helpful in the future.

The survey findings fall on the heels of recent news that Amazon ditched its AI recruiting tool after engineers reportedly found that the tool was unfavorable toward female candidates because it had combed through male-dominated résumés to accrue its algorithmic data.

Only 11% of job seekers believe AI improves recruitment, according to Clutch. Experts warn that AI can reinforce existing biases when it’s used to evaluate résumés and cover letters. For example, AI can replicate a company’s tendency to hire candidates of a certain gender or educational background.

So is HR relying too much on AI in the recruiting process?

"I absolutely am skeptical of how much AI I would use in the direct communication with applicants," says Reid Rasmussen, co-founder and chief executive of benefits consulting firm freshbenies. "I know first hand how much work it takes to make smooth conversations. Thinking again about a tough hiring environment, you want that candidate to know they’re an individual and worthy of a real conversation."

Experts, however, believe AI can be beneficial if used for skill-based testing instead of screening for race, gender or background.

“As long as your test isn’t easier for someone who went to MIT than it is for someone who went to community college, AI can be tremendously helpful,” says Harj Haggar, CEO and co-founder of Triplebyte, a company that uses background-blind testing to match candidates with tech companies.

And companies fighting for talent can tout their use of AI and technology to entice new applicants.

"It's key in today’s tough hiring market to prove that your company is a forward-thinking environment," adds freshbenies' Rasmussen. "How do you show that during the hiring process? I’d brag during the hiring about where we used tech — whether in screening, research or web/app interfaces — I’d call it out as proof of how we look to the future. Make it part of your brand."

AI also can supplement communication between companies and candidates. Currently, only 3% of applicants communicate with companies via AI-supported chatbots, but experts see potential for growth.

As an HR function, AI is most commonly used for talent acquisition. Dovetailing with Clutch’s data, 49% of respondents to law firm Littler’s 2018 Annual Employer Survey said they use AI and advanced data analytics for recruiting and hiring.

The Clutch survey adds that automation can help reduce the time and effort it takes to keep up with communication around hiring. In general, companies can use automation for:

· Sending a confirmation when candidates submit an application
· Communicating standard next steps, such as requesting references or sharing company-wide benefits information
· Rejecting candidates who are not a fit

Automated communication also can help prevent companies from inadvertently ghosting candidates, the survey adds.

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Artificial intelligence Recruiting Recruiting tools HR Technology Employee engagement Workforce management Diversity and equality