When The Terminator stormed theaters in 1984, futuristic, cyborg assassins disguised as humans, and Skynet, an artificial intelligence system destroying humankind, were fantastical fiction. Artificial intelligence or AI, where a technological tool is designed to perform functions typically done by humans, was a fairly new concept for many. The 80s experienced a technological revolution putting personal computers, microwaves, video games, VCRs, CDs and the Sony Walkman in our homes. While we enjoyed how technology made our lives easier and infinitely more enjoyable, there was something a little unnerving about it all. Was it possible for us to create machines with intelligence that matched or even exceeded that of their creators? And, if so, could those machines use that intelligence in a nefarious way turning against us and wiping out humanity all together? “Ahnuld’s” ominous warning, “I’ll be back” left us on the edge of our seats wondering what horrible fate would befall us. Fortunately, the fear of the unknown in this case was all for naught. Today, artificial intelligence is more friend than foe. Think WALL-E and Alexa.
You likely know AI is at play in our everyday lives, from Facebook’s facial recognition technology to Amazon’s personalized recommendations. You may not know AI is helping to reshape the human resources landscape as well which may seem counterintuitive. Afterall, wasn’t/isn’t the fear that AI actually replaces humans? Not so. These technologies are altering the nature of human resources departments by improving and automating functions, making human resources departments, in effect, superhuman.
AI in Recruiting
Recruiting may be the HR area in which AI can be most beneficial, because it can handle repetitive tasks in an unbiased way. Among some of the ways AI can be used in the recruiting process are: automated candidate sourcing, pre-employment assessment tools and diversity hiring.
Automated Candidate Sourcing
These AI systems are designed to help you identify the best talent and select top candidates for the job. Rather than waiting for candidates to come to you, candidate sourcing allows you to take an active role in candidate recruitment from the very beginning. Candidate sourcing can weed out less desirable candidates and create a funnel of highly desirable candidates through targeted ads, emails and websites. Many can include a link to your company and its application.
Pre-Employment Assessment Tools
The day may come when resumes are an assessment tool of the past. Any good recruiter will tell you they often don’t accurately reflect a candidate’s real strengths and compatibility with an organization. Not to mention how labor intensive it is to screen large volumes of resumes for a single opening. A good pre-hire assessment tool can also decrease your legal woes by providing a non-biased, legally-defensible screening process. The right pre-employment assessment tool can provide insight into how a candidate will “fit” into your organization and learn and perform the skills necessary for the job. Many pre-employment assessment tools focus on “soft” skills, versatility and motivation, attributes often hard to identify during a traditional interview. According to the Talent Board’s 2016 Candidate Experience Research report, 82 percent of companies are using some form of pre-employment assessment test with two popular types being job simulations and culture fit.
A job simulation pre-employment assessment measures how well an applicant would perform the actual duties of the position for which she is interviewing. For example, a candidate for a call-in customer service operator might answer several mock customer service calls with an algorithm measuring her performance. This type of pre-employment assessment allows employers to see in real time how the candidate would likely perform in the position. How often have you hired a candidate who looked good on paper only to find out later her on-the-job performance was lacking? Using AI-driven job simulations in the interview process could increase your chances of hiring the right individual.
A company’s culture is its personality, comprised of work environment, company mission, ethics and performance expectations. How well a candidate fits into your company’s world is critical and often hard to determine during a traditional interview. AI has created the ability to quantify a company’s culture and help match candidates who will strengthen and support that culture.
A diverse workforce has proven advantages for organizations including improved employee productivity, morale, innovation and creativity. Even without meaning to be, humans can be biased, particularly in the recruiting and hiring process. Whether the problem lies in recruiting or is because of other factors, certain industries, such as tech, have experienced a lack of diversity. Whatever the barrier to entry, AI can help eliminate hiring bias and identify individuals with the skills needed to perform the work. Catalyte, a workforce data science company, uses its proprietary AI software to identify individuals, regardless of background, who have the innate potential, cognitive ability and emotional quotient (read more about EQ in this this Smart HR blog) to be good software developers. Those accepted into the Catalyte program complete a two-year apprenticeship program and then go on to work on software development teams for Fortune 1000 clients. Jacob Hsu, Catalyte Chief Executive Officer, states, “Our goal is to do this across industries so that we can make a much more diverse, egalitarian workforce, where everybody gets a shot if they can prove that they have the potential.”
Smart HR Can Help
The current AI landscape is vast and continually changing and improving. If you are interested in exploring ways in which AI can help your organization with recruiting or in another HR capacity, contact Smart HR for guidance. An experienced Smart HR consultant can find ways to incorporate AI into your existing processes in a more streamlined, effective and unbiased way. As you say hasta la vista to 2019, say hello to your new Smart HR business partner in 2020!