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Guest Post

A role for AI and humans in the recruiting process

Artificial intelligence tools can help job seekers find the right role and help employers close the skills gap. But AI can't replace human intelligence -- at least, not yet.

Artificial intelligence can help power a successful recruiting process. But for the foreseeable future, we still need human input, too.

My daughter is beginning her career journey. As part of that, she's getting coaching from me and from a leading job website's coaching algorithm.

Like any good coach, we both drew from our stores of information to come up with possible paths. While I had the benefit of years of being her dad, the job site had the benefit of data -- avalanches of it, most likely. It could use data from thousands of job seekers just like her. It also used the skills, interests and preferences she input to customize the job advice it gave.

Watching her experience with the site's coaching helped me see deeper into AI's role in recruiting and how business and HR leaders could apply AI to the broader employee experience.

AI-powered personalized job leads

My daughter was able to choose whether to make data public or private and even take skills assessments to validate her strengths.

Almost immediately, she received requests from employers to apply for jobs that aligned closely to the keywords entered. The AI within the job site crafted personalized emails from employers and they pursued her periodically until she responded.

The opportunities were surprisingly relevant and the follow-up was very targeted. Automated outreach from these employers quickly led to interviews. Within just two days of starting the process, she landed a great role. I can't imagine my own searching skills or personal network would've found compatible matches as quickly or effectively.

AI to lighten recruiters' loads

My daughter's not alone in searching for that perfect job.

AI-powered recruiting tools can help guide employee development efforts.

Fifty-two percent of North American workers are looking for a new job in 2021, according to a March study published by Achievers, an employee experience vendor.

On top of that, more states are eliminating federal unemployment supplements, which is likely to spur more people to look for jobs.

Those who graduated in 2020 faced a dismal job market. But employers are projecting a 7.2% increase over 2020 for college graduate hiring, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

With this dual surge in both job seeking and hiring, employers are hungry for electronic help to support external recruiting and boost internal mobility.

Artificial intelligence can mine job seekers' skills and proactively pursue candidates for ideal matches. This includes not just first-time job seekers like my daughter, but also existing workers looking for greener pastures.

AI to boost internal mobility

If we are on the verge of massive job migration, how can employers keep their best talent and find new, great talent?

Harkening back to my daughter's story, my own knowledge of her personal history, her interests and her goals would far surpass what a general population-based AI-driven amalgam of people like her might suggest.

Employers similarly amass treasure troves of data. They maintain skills profiles, competencies gained from online training, compensation history and performance measurement.

Artificial intelligence can help employers process this data. AI-powered recruiting tools can help guide employee development efforts. Skills and competencies that are critical to the success of the organization can be weighted accordingly, and high-potential employees can get algorithm-driven career pathing options that don't necessarily require their manager's approval. In some organizations where manager hoarding occurs, this can be a critical step to getting key talent out of dead-end jobs.

If this key talent is among the 52% looking for a new job, they may find their ideal job elsewhere in the organization instead of feeling they need to look outside the company. For example, AI tools can help HR teams uncover that a particularly skilled technical call center representative is a good candidate for an adjacent career in IT. A strong project manager in client delivery could be destined for a senior-level operations role. Organizations with formal mentorship programs can supply mentors with internal mobility options to inform ongoing career discussions.

Similarly, learning and development teams can tailor training based on potential career paths. AI tools can identify courseware that aligns with the pathing, along with internal projects that may be ideal on-the-job experiences. AI-powered HR, in conjunction with learning and development software, can further store results to track progress and align with performance objectives.

Managers still have a role. For example, they need to conduct assessments of employees' soft skills and ensure they are developing as expected.

Why humans still matter

AI-powered job coaching offers a number of benefits to employers, employees and job seekers, but it also has limitations.

AI tools can mine data and surface insight that helps individuals align with relevant opportunities. AI-powered job coaching tools can create career paths that look great on paper. They can track progress against goals to identify whether internal candidates are reaching their potential.

What AI tools can't do yet is think like an employee. The opportunity has to feel right for the individual. For example, my daughter didn't choose the highest paying job with the best title, but the one that felt right.  

About the author
Scot Marcotte is the CTO at
Buck, an integrated HR consulting, technology and benefits administration services firm. For 29 years he has helped organizations solve human resources challenges through the strategic use of data, communication and technology. He holds a certified employee benefit specialist (CEBS) designation, has co-authored a book on employee engagement, was named Xerox's innovator of the year and is a regular presenter at global HR conferences.

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