What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean in Human Resources and Recruiting?
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One of the most talked about trends in HR and recruiting has been AI and artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is defined as “an ideal ‘intelligent’ machine [that] is a flexible rational agent that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.” It’s a branch of computer science that uses machine learning algorithms that mimic cognitive functions; making machines more human-like.
And who doesn’t need more human-like functions in an industry that is called human resources? Our department is focused on engaging, retaining, hiring and developing humans. The growing importance of our function in business and in keeping the economy healthy, is shining a spotlight on our activities in HR. Which is why AI is so attractive right now. It helps leverage intelligent machines keep us focused on the needs of candidates and employees.
Crystal Miller, the CEO of Branded Strategies recently published one of my favorite and most complete articles to date on AI in HR. She discusses the use case for it and provides a nice background to the benefits that artificial intelligence offers. You can click here to read it in it’s entirety. She provides a nice summary of AI concepts.
I’m excited about AI for a lot of reasons and some of them you might not expect. AI helps outsource not just some of the administrative tasks in HR an recruitment but also helps elevate our current efforts throughout our organization. Because our employees aren’t just HR’s responsibility, job or problem. They are the responsibility of every manager, leader and the executive team.
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There are a lot of sexy HR technology products out there touting their AI functionalities and many of them actually are AI. Some of them, however, are just glorified choose-your-own-adventure books and decision trees that some marketer has decided is AI. There is no real learning done by the machine. It’s doesn’t evolve, change or grow from common questions, responses or answers by the individuals who are communicating with the machine.
Nine Ways HR Can Use Artificial Intelligence
- Candidate Screening. At present, a number of AI tools exist that can engage the candidate either before or after they apply for a role within an organization. Imagine a world where companies can test candidates by having them interact with a chat box or AI tool, answering common candidate questions about the role while also asking for feedback and information about the candidate. This could help your recruiter to effectively assess the candidate in the quickest and most effective way possible.
- Candidate Engagement. Fifty percent of candidates are not receiving any type of communciation or having any type of interaction with an employer once they apply for a role on a career site or job board. Artificial intelligence automates a candidate engagement process that goes beyond standard automated emails or messaging workflows using a Hubspot or Marketo-like systems. Certainly, AI can be integrated into these types of candidate automation, however, these messages, responses and engagements can, with AI, be real-time and unique to the individual candidate and not just driven by a tags, positions, locations or categories.
- Re-Engagement. Whether it’s your ATS or CRM, candidate records often go untouched after they apply for the role or after the job requisition is closed. Artificial intelligence allows you to re-engage a very targeted group of candidates to determine their interest level in a position or role, while also using that engagement opportunity to update their candidate record to reflect new positions, work experiences or skills that might have acquired since the last time they were engaged.
- Post-Offer Acceptance. Once a candidate accepts a job offer, a gray area exists — normally two weeks from when a candidate gives notice to when they starts working at your organization. AI could fill that gap by engaging and following up with the candidate to increase the acceptance-to-start rates of your candidates.
- New Hire Onboarding. While new hire orientation is effective at introducing your new hires to the company culture, processes and policies, artificial intelligence can answer other common questions and provide new hires with information and resources that support your current programs. This is key when you consider 90% of your employees forget what was covered in your meeting, training and conference call. Information and learning reinforcement is key and AI might be the answer.
- Career Development. Your employees need support and possibly customized training, learning and career pathing information that a boss or leader can’t always provide. AI offers the ability to scale a career development program or company coaching for each and every employee.
- Employee Relations. Employees have questions. Sometimes they are easy ones like questions about benefit coverage, FMLA, vacation time and how they are paid. Sometimes they are more complex and might require an in-depth conversation with your HR manager or coordinator. Artificial intelligence technology can be used in chat form, email or a virtual meeting room, handing over and even booking a meeting between your HR generalist and the employee.
- HR Compliance and Case Management. The market is packed with case management software that provides employees with resources and information based on questions they ask. But imagine a world where incidents are documented and employee investigations are submitted through an artificial intelligence tool, asking a series of questions and gathering information for a formal complaint, investigation, or request for information.
- Scheduling. Whether it’s booking interviews or work meetings, spending time to coordinate schedules and availability is an unproductive activity that not only wastes everyone’s time but keeps our email inboxes full and overflowing. Imagine a world where a machine books meetings, schedules and even orders food without you having to do a single thing.
Obviously, I am on team artificial intelligence, as I think it offers many great possibilities to elevate HR activities, maximize workplace productivity and provide more support and resources to managers, employees and candidates. Where we go from here is really up to HR technology companies understanding our needs (many of which I have outlined above), and HR and recruiting practitioners providing feedback and making suggestions to their HR technology partners.