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Debunking AI Myths in HR

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When it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) there is no shortage of hyperbole with the emerging technology put by many somewhere between the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel.

It’s not just the fringe beating the drums for AI with Accenture in March releasing a report that says that generative AI “will transform work and reinvent business” and that “everything from science to business to society itself will be transformed. The positive impact on human creativity and productivity will be massive.”

While ChatGPT has captured all the buzz in the last 12 months, conversational AI has been making waves in various industries for several years, including human resources (HR), transforming how companies engage with potential candidates during the recruitment process.

“In recent years, the use of conversational AI in recruiting has gained significant attention and recognition. As technology continues to evolve, organizations are constantly seeking innovative solutions to streamline their recruitment processes and enhance the candidate experience,” writes Andrew Gardner, COO and co-founder of Humanly, in the SHRM Blog in June.

As with any emerging technology, misconceptions and myths tend to surface, leading to confusion about its true potential.

What is Conversational AI in Recruitment?

Conversational AI refers to the use of AI to engage in natural, human-like conversations with candidates through chatbots, virtual assistants, or messaging platforms.

Companies leverage conversational AI in recruitment to automate various stages of the hiring process, such as screening resumes, scheduling interviews, and answering candidate inquiries.

Some of the main benefits of utilizing conversational AI include:

  • Improved Efficiency: Conversational AI streamlines routine tasks such as candidate screening, interview scheduling, and answering frequently asked questions, allowing HR professionals to focus on more strategic aspects of the recruitment process.

  • Enhanced Candidate Experience: AI-powered chatbots provide quick responses and engage with candidates 24/7, creating a positive and responsive experience that leaves candidates with a favorable impression of the company.

  • Consistency: Conversational AI ensures consistent communication and application of predefined criteria to all candidates, reducing the risk of bias and promoting fair hiring practices.

  • Data-Driven Insights: AI systems can gather and analyze data from candidate interactions, providing valuable insights into candidate preferences, behavior, and pain points, which can inform recruitment strategies.

  • Cost Savings: By automating tasks and reducing the need for manual intervention, conversational AI can lower recruitment costs and free up HR resources for more strategic initiatives, contributing to cost efficiency in the long run.

8 Myths Surrounding AI and the Recruitment Process

Remember when it comes to the hyperbole regarding AI and its potential it is not limited to likening it to mankind's leaps forward such as harnessing fire, but some are painting a picture of the new technology as if it were the fifth horsemen of the apocalypse with dire doomsday predictions.

“These days worries about “existential risks”—those that threaten humanity as a species, rather than individuals—are not confined to military scientists. Nuclear war; nuclear winter; plagues; asteroid strikes and more could all wipe out most or all of the human race. The newest doomsday threat is artificial intelligence (AI),” wrote The Economist in July.

As far as AI and HR, it helps to debunk the following 8 myths surrounding its use in candidate recruitment to get a clearer idea of its benefits and limitations:

  • Myth #1: Conversational AI Eliminates Human Interaction and Replaces Human Recruiters: One common misconception is that conversational AI completely replaces human interaction in the recruitment process. In reality, it augments human efforts by handling routine and repetitive tasks, allowing HR teams to concentrate on more value-added activities. It offers a balance between automation and personal touch. Human recruiters are not replaced by AI, but freed from repetitive and mundane tasks, and allowed to focus their energy on the critical thinking skills required to make complex hiring decisions.
  • Myth #2: Conversational AI Lacks the Personal Touch: Some worry that conversational AI feels robotic and impersonal. However, modern AI systems are designed to be highly customizable. They can be programmed to adopt a company's tone and culture, providing a personalized experience for candidates. Additionally, AI can remember previous interactions, making each conversation more contextually relevant.

    Writes Gardner: “Critics argue that conversational AI cannot replicate the judgment and intuition of human recruiters. While it is true that AI is not capable of human emotions or intuition, it can be programmed to make data-driven decisions and provide valuable insights.”
  • Myth #3: Conversational AI Can Make Hiring Decisions: Conversational AI can assist in screening and shortlisting candidates, but it cannot replace the judgment and intuition of human recruiters. Final hiring decisions require a holistic assessment of a candidate's skills, qualifications, and cultural fit, which only humans can provide.
  • Myth #4: Conversational AI is Expensive and Complicated to Implement: While implementing conversational AI systems may require an initial investment, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs. Many off-the-shelf AI solutions are user-friendly and can be integrated into existing HR systems with minimal hassle. The return on investment often comes from increased efficiency and improved candidate experiences.
  • Myth #5: Conversational AI Only Benefits Large Companies: Contrary to this myth, companies of all sizes can benefit from conversational AI in recruitment. Small and mid-sized businesses can use it to level the playing field, compete for top talent, and reduce the administrative burden of recruitment processes, just like their larger counterparts.
  • Myth #6: Conversational AI is Discriminatory and Biased: Gardner in his article argues that biases in AI systems are not inherent but the result of flawed data and algorithms. Utilizing conversational AI can reduce recruitment bias by minimizing human biases in the decision-making process.
  • Myth #7: Candidates Are Uncomfortable with Conversational AI: Surprisingly, many candidates appreciate the convenience and immediacy of conversational AI in the recruitment process. It allows them to get answers to their questions and engage with potential employers on their own terms, often leading to a positive candidate experience.
  • Myth #8: Conversational AI is a One-Size-Fits-All Solution: Every organization has unique recruitment needs and goals. Conversational AI is adaptable and can be customized to align with these requirements. Whether it's for technical roles, creative positions, or any other specialization, AI can be tailored to suit different hiring scenarios.

Conversational AI is a valuable tool in the recruitment process, but it's essential to separate fact from fiction when considering its implementation.

While it may not replace human recruiters entirely, it certainly complements their efforts, making recruitment more efficient and candidate-focused.