How AI Compliments (Not Replaces) Sourcers

By Chris Murdock

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Worried about being replaced by AI in recruiting and sourcing? With the way current media and AI hopefuls are directing the AI narrative, I would be too. Artificial Intelligence has become a looming presence in many job markets. This is especially true for talent acquisition because it can outperform humans in practically every field without the hindrance of human error. Many fear the advent of AI is the herald of impending layoffs and company downsizing as new advances in technology worm their way into businesses, replacing the hard-earned positions of many a recruiter and sourcer.

Artificial Intelligence and Candidate Sourcing

It’s ironic, however, that countless job positions remain vacant. Employers still have a hard time reaching out to applicants and maintaining communication with them. Amidst all the doubt and uncertainty regarding the future of human labour, employers still have major problems creating and maintaining solid talent acquisition strategies. That’s why we think AI will never fully take the place of the physical human workforce.

As AI technology stands now, it can’t fully replace people. Instead, AI compliments sourcers, recruiters and talent acquisition positions.

1. AI automates tasks, not relationship-building.

The best feature about most AI technology associated with talent acquisition is that it can automate the redundant tasks in the recruitment process. For example, some AI software can source quality candidates across social media platforms in a matter of minutes with their high-powered search algorithms. They match experience with interactions to determine the candidates fit with the position — a task that would normally take an entire team to complete. With natural language processing, AI-powered chatbots can easily analyze candidates’ questions and generate accurate responses. It also allows some chatbots to conduct basic interviews to help weed through large-scale applicant pools.

But does successful automation qualify human sourcers as “obsolete?”

Not in the slightest — it just makes their job easier to manage so they can focus on more difficult tasks like building relationships with candidates and answering in-depth questions from applicants. In a survey conducted by Oracle, 42% of the participants embrace the idea of automation technologies, 48% are already using automation technologies and 40% are planning to implement automation by 2020. However, 43% of adult Americans say they prefer to deal with a real-life assistant, rather than automated software like chatbots. Additionally, in another study, 34% of survey respondents say they would use a chatbot to find a human customer service assistant.

So, in other words, while people are excited to see what AI automation can do for their business, customers and candidates prefer to talk to real people. Human interaction is part of the value of having human capital in your workforce and it’s something AI can’t replace.

2. AI integrates easily but isn’t equipped to handle every outcome.

AI technology like CRM software, AI chatbots and augmented writing software give sourcers the ability to increase their job productivity tenfold. CRM software helps manage candidate relationship building, AI chatbots answer basic questions and direct candidates along the application path and augmented writing software helps establish accurate candidate pools. While these all sound extremely useful and helpful, they’re not programmed to handle every possible situation and can’t adapt as quickly or as easily as people can.

Say a candidate asks a chatbot a complex question about the company’s position with diversity and inclusion. To be more specific, let’s say the candidate asks for specific examples where the company displayed their values on workplace equality among gender, religion, cultural background, sexual orientation, etc. Since the chatbot cannot answer the specifics of the question (due to programming) it directs the candidate to a physical human representative, AKA the sourcer. The representative can then address the situation properly and provide the necessary information. The chatbot and the sourcer work in unison to complete the task, but the menial tasks along the way are managed by the chatbot’s AI.

Bottom Line: AI can’t fill the need for human interaction.

While many speculate AI is still in the beginning stages of its developmental crescendo, it will be a long time before it can accurately “think” on its own. In the meantime, the human brain still functions as the best thought-processing mechanism at our disposal. We, as humans, are a social species and we crave interaction with other people. While AI helps to accomplish and simplifies a vast number of tasks, its current purpose is to integrate with human capital, not submerge it beneath the waves of change.

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