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Man vs Machine: Automation in Recruitment

4 months ago by Matt Comber

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Over the past couple of years, the topic of automating the recruitment process has gathered momentum. 

It's hard not to be caught up in the attraction of having a machine autonomously perform the actions of a human but for a fraction of the cost and with minimal overheads.

Today, we hear a lot about better matching, sourcing and communication technology, but what about the future? A lot is made of the future when it comes to Machine Learning and Artificial Technology, so we want to explore some of the ways we believe technology will alter recruitment.  

24/7 Consultant

Machines don't sleep, your consultants do. The ability for machines to run 24/7 gives recruitment business owners a genuine placement potential. If you have candidates who work late into the night, it can't be expected that your consultants match their schedules. A machine, however, could engage in online discussion, via email or online chat with the candidate at any time of the day or night. This 24/7 approach to placements takes stress off your business and staff, meaning a better work/life balance. Have a 24/7 consultant also makes international expansion and timezone difficulties a thing of the past. 

Repetitive Tasks

One of the key areas Machine Learning will thrive is in taking over from humans who perform mundane tasks. Machines are already laying walls, roads, building other machines and programming themselves. If your consultants have tasks they do on a continual basis, such as organise interviews, match candidates to clients, find leads, write job descriptions or post to job boards, then machines will be able to do this. It's often a worry that machines will make mistakes which could damage your brand and relationships. Whilst this is true, machine learning is by its very nature an iterative tool. If it makes mistakes or doesn't get a favourable outcome, it will instantly adapt and become better

The Communication Bridge

The immediate future for Robots in recruitment is communication. E-commerce companies are beginning to leverage the benefits of machines to help shoppers. Importantly, they are not focusing on promoting products or matching the consumers with products, yet. Instead, they are focusing on day to day questions which their customer service teams would normally deal with. As a recruiter, think of the number of calls you receive which a machine could answer;

  • When will I get paid?

  • What's the address of my interview

  • Do you have any jobs that match my skills currently?

  • Have I been successful in being shortlisted?

The examples above are a snapshot of the thousands of questions your business will receive every day. If you gauge the hours spent answering these questions and tally them up, I'm sure you would have a full recruiters day, per week in hours, if not more!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will thrive in a customer service environment, Amazon, Google and other service providers all have voice activated software (Siri, Lex (Amazon Echo)) and are fully expecting that users will migrate to a more connected world. The cost and time saving from having a service set up to deal with customer service questions in recruitment it potentially huge. 

Marketing

At a recent conference for AI/ML, marketing was tipped to be the area which is first targetted. Marketing can be predictable due to user behaviour. We all have patterns, be it the same Social Media networks, same TV shows we watch or same websites we visit. Machines are able to predict and analyse your online behaviours and then make judgements about when to contact you and what content to contact you with. It's not beyond the realms of realism for Voice services such as Siri and Amazon Echo to gather the searches you are asking for and to sell them on to automated marketing systems. 

This, in a way, is already happening. Loyalty schemes from supermarkets have been gathering your shopping data for years. Every time you swipe a club card, your buyer behaviour is being tracked and through the post, you receive a coupon for your most regularly used products.

Recruitment Marketing can be similar to this. Every time you show intent to look for work, either a quick browse of a job board, looking at a careers page of an employer or Googling 'X jobs in Y', your data is being captured. Machines will take this type of behaviour and use it for highly targetted marketing. 

HR/Finance

Along the same lines of automating repetitive tasks, AI will bring a large amount of time savings to business functions such as HR, Finance, Accounts and Purchasing. Having a 'Chat Bot' at the ready to answer any HR related questions from staff i.e. "can I book a holiday X date, to X date" will take away the need for staff HR departments. Paying your staff, calculating back pay and entitlements and dealing with HMRC are also tasks to be automated. 

Current payroll and finance systems do go a long way to automate some tasks, however, they all need human interaction. In the future, these systems will be automated in 'human' way, with machines building a full and complete picture of individual members of staff. Performance could be mixed with pay rises or warnings(!), Sensitive HR issues could be flagged early on and correct adherence followed at all times and your month and year end accounts correctly presented, audited and delivered.