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What Kind of Impact will AI Have on the Recruiting Industry?

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When it comes to technology, artificial intelligence (AI) is what is emerging in an everyday way.  We are starting to see AI being embedded into different tasks that we complete, and we probably don’t even really know it.  There are some obvious examples of AI, but there are also some that aren’t so obvious.  Think about the last time you applied for a job.  How did you do that?  Was it an online form?  Or did you physically print your resume off and hand it to a recruiter?  I’m guessing not.  Which means, there is likely some form of AI embedded into the software that you used to submit your resume.

In some instances, it’s not a sophisticated form of AI.  But it’s AI nonetheless.  That software, if you didn’t know, scans for keywords in your resume.  If you’re applying to be a project manager, the technology is going to be looking for a word that is associated with that.  When it comes to recruiting, in my opinion, this is a better way to go.  Not only does it let you pick out the best candidate for the job, it also doesn’t factor in anything related to diversity.  That means, the system doesn’t know what gender you are, and it certainly doesn’t know what your race is.  Or it’s not guessing what it is based on your name and where you went to school.

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I’m not saying that organizations try to stereotype, but there are names out there that might sound like a particular race or ethnicity.  As a result, it’s easy for a recruiter to make a judgment based on something on your resume.  As I alluded to earlier, AI likely exists in some of the recruiting software that you might have used.  But there are a number of start-ups who are aiming to take that one step further.  For example, Paris based Goshaba, lets candidates play cognitive games in order to make the recruiting process more efficient and inclusive.

The company was co-founded by Camille Morvan, who taught cognitive science and organizational psychology at Harvard. In 2014, she switched to entrepreneurship following a simple observation: Recruiters tend to be solely fixated on CV’s and cover letters while ignoring the candidate’s soft skills. But things are changing, says Morvan:

“We’re seeing a real shift with large corporates becoming increasingly convinced of the benefits of objective, data-based, fair recruiting. In particular, they have observed the danger of unconscious biases in recruiting. Diversity is not only a key ethical question for companies but it helps them attract and retain the best talents.

For example, we will shortly be working with EDF Energy to target candidates just starting their career from school or university. Diversity and inclusion is a huge strategic programme for the energy firm, in a sector that has been quite white and male-dominated. They want to change that.”

It’s this kind of technological advancement that I love.  It’s helping people (indirectly) and removing biases. When it comes to recruiting, we are starting to see a shift away from what’s solely on our resumes.  For example, I have a strong background in policy analysis and legislative review.  But I have other skills that you don’t necessarily pick up in an office, or while you’re working.  I inherently am very organized.  That’s just my nature.  But I can’t put “re-organized car, three times, in order to fit entire apartment when moving home from college” on my resume.  (Which is a true story)

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My point is, this kind of software is going to help organizations find people who are the perfect “fit”.  I usually hate when organizations hire based on fit, but that’s because they look at a person and make assumptions about them.  I am a very easy going person and have been told that I have a great personality.  So when I talk to people (or when I interview) I bring those skills forward.  People, however, are making a huge assumption about me.  On the outside, I’m laid back and easy to get along with, but on the inside, I’m introverted and structured.  This isn’t something that many people can “tell” by looking at me. And this is how some people get hired.

That said, I think that AI is going to take us to the next level when it comes to recruiting.  It’s no longer just about software scanning your resume for all the right keywords.  It’s now understanding who you are, and how you think.  I think that’s going to help those of us who pick up skills on our own.  I’ve had to learn how to do things for myself because I’ve lived alone most of my life.  You pick up skills because you have to survive, and those are hard (if not impossible) to put on a resume. It will be interesting to see how this expands in the future and how this transforms recruiting.

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