"Mike, I have no clue what HR is doing with my job opening. It's been three months, and I still don't have any good candidates."
This call is one I hear too often. A hiring manager is panicking because his company is missing a vital player on the team, and no strong candidates are lined up.
My first reaction is to ask, "How many job requisitions are assigned to your internal recruiters?" Meaning, how many jobs is each recruiter trying to fill? Too often, it becomes clear that the recruiter is overwhelmed by requisitions and applications and is getting pulled in too many directions.
Therefore, many recruiters are trying to find ways to save time. As a result, 49 percent of recruiters already use AI and advanced data analytics through an applicant tracking system (ATS) or customer relationship management system (CRM) that can scan resumes or answer simple questions via a chat box.
So why hasn't it helped to automate the system and fix the backup of candidates?
In a 2018 issue of Tire Business that also featured a special report on Tech4Tomorrow, my piece ("Is the road to AI a roundabout?") examined the problem that AI merely has been refining the current tools and methods, rather than focusing on innovation and paving new ways for HR.
This trend has continued, and there is still a large gap between the general public's understanding of AI and what progress is being made.
Movies and books have led us to believe that AI will result in rebellious, super-intelligent machines with wills and desires of their own, but it isn't quite there yet. However, there is a whole movement out there, led by world-class entrepreneurs who insist the future is right around the corner.
This inability to think like a human is why AI is nowhere near close to replacing human recruiters. While the best search algorithms already are being utilized to scour resumes, there isn't much that can be done without a human pilot.
Take the recent issues with the Boeing 737 Max 8. The media and aviation community is speculating whether the plane's automation is "too much."
While it is still unknown what exactly happened, it appears that the pilots, with years of experience, were unable to compensate for an automation fail, leading to the deaths of hundreds.
While the stakes aren't that high for HR and recruiting, time and money are on the line. According to a survey by CareerBuilder.com, employers estimate that a single bad hire can cost $25,000 or more.
When we rely too much on automation, we lose the human touch. That's not to say it does not have its place.
In fact, 96 percent of recruiters believe AI can enhance talent acquisition and retention, and on average they lose about 14 hours each week on completing tasks manually.
Finding strong candidates also is problematic, but AI can help that, analyzing an applicant's social media profile and public online data to decide what sort of jobs the person might be interested in, or even how likely he or she is to accept the role. In recruiting, we can automate the initial screening, which can help increase direct interaction time with each qualified candidate.
In addition, an AI-driven chatbot for the initial contact can lead to better response times and increased candidate experience.
Studies have found that using a chatbox such as Mya Systems can improve candidate engagement by 150 percent because it never takes a day off, giving the candidate and recruiter instant information.
When using AI talent platforms to handle pre-screening and calls, 14 hours a week of the recruiters' time is freed up to spend more time speaking with the candidates, giving them a more comprehensive view of the candidate.
However, if the human factor is completely eliminated, candidates might be overlooked. While an ATS can filter roughly three-fourths of applicants, it sometimes can miss qualified candidates.
For example, AI might not be able to recognize that a specific phrasing or set of words might mean that a candidate has the necessary skills for the jobs. ATS might not be able to compute any chart or graphic used by an applicant, either. A human, on the other hand, can recognize this.
While a candidate can look great on paper, a good recruiter takes into account how the prospect will fit into the corporate culture.
While AI can screen resumes for compatibility and even ask questions to understand the candidate better, it ultimately will come down to a human's decision made through an in-person interview and interaction.
According to CareerBuilder L.L.C., only 7 percent of HR managers believe a robot could do their job.
There also is the inability for AI to replicate human relationships. Recruiters often have to rely on connections they made when choosing between a candidate.
Likewise, a candidate also will think back on the relationships formed with recruiters when choosing among multiple offers. When the candidate is weighing options, the interactions with a human recruiter can sway a candidate, despite all other factors.
The influence of AI, even though it has its limitations, will continue to increase. A survey by staffing firm Addison Group found that 94 percent of hiring and talent managers who use recruiting software say it has improved their hiring process.
Artificial intelligence is in your future. It makes a substantial appearance in our lives every time we ask Siri or Alexa what the weather is.
But the human-like AI we see in science fiction books and movies will have to remain in a fiction for now.
With unemployment at an all-time low, it becomes more critical than ever to have a human touch selling your brand story. After all, no one can do it better than you. Embrace AI for how it can help you hire today.