Artificial intelligence helping HR find, hire better candidates

Artificial intelligence is giving HR professionals the information they need to source and hire higher-quality professionals, according to a new survey from Korn Ferry.

“A lot of folks thought AI was going to replace recruiting, but our perspective has always been AI is going to allow recruiters to do even more, from a qualitative standpoint,” says Franz Gilbert, Korn Ferry’s vice president of product innovation.

The consulting firm’s survey of 800 talent acquisition professionals found that industry professionals routinely leverage AI to hone different aspects of the quest to find the best candidates for the right jobs. Among the survey respondents, 69% turn to AI specifically to aid in finding higher-quality candidates, and the same percentage of respondents agree that AI has transformed recruiting.

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An attendee photographs an autonomous parcel delivery robot, developed by Starship Technologies Ltd. at the AI Congress in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. After decades of premature promises, artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into businesses from hedge funds to law firms tobeer makers, as the line between ordinary software and AI software has blurred and cloud computingmakes AI available to small companies as well as large. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Among the other findings:

· Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents said that compared to five years ago, when AI was still novel, candidates now are more qualified, and 51% reported that roles are filled in a more timely manner.
· Forty-eight percent of recruiters say AI is making their roles easier.
· Forty percent say AI’s No. 1 benefit is providing valuable insights.
· Twenty-seven percent report that AI’s No. 1 benefit is freeing up time.

But not everything that came out of the survey was positive. Of the 14% of respondents who report that AI has complicated their work lives, the majority say it leads to an excess of data and they aren’t sure how to leverage it all.

Artificial intelligence is task-based, Gilbert says — not a sweeping solution to broad processes.

“Am I going to use it to source candidates? To interview them? Every application is different, and you have to decide where you are going to use it,” he says. “Also, recruiters need to ask, ‘What data am I training AI for?’ You have to train AI. You can’t take a retailer’s data, for example, and run it against a bank. [Those are] very different environments. And finally, when you do implement AI, you have to measure it. What are your results? How do they contrast to systems you were using before?”

Looking ahead, Gilbert says, among other things, he is excited about AI’s natural language processing possibilities. For now, most AI is mostly through English, but AI is swiftly learning new languages and is on the cusp of engaging with many more world languages.

Why does this matter for recruiters?

“Think about video interviewing,” he says. “For now, most recruiting is geographically based, often because of language. But soon AI will have auto translation, so I can interview somebody in China” without the recruiter speaking Chinese, or the candidate from China speaking English. “It makes geographic barriers disappear, and you make sure you get the right recruiter to do the right interview.”

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