Recruitment is history: AI the elixir!


In the networked digital era amid proliferation of smart devices and surge of Big Data, AI — or smart machines that can think intuitively and make intelligent sense of the vast data — is the new battleground that is roiling multiple sectors, disrupting companies and stoking new rivalries. Serious enough for Tech world’s two titans — Tesla’s Elon Musk and Face book’s Mark Zuckerberg — to spar over it. Digital giants Google and Amazon are now dueling with their AI-based virtual assistants. Think of driverless cars and robotised assembly plants that are disrupting the automobile industry and the manufacturing sector.

The recruitment industry is on the verge of a complete reconstruction with AI playing a significant role in the process. CHROs can use AI and data science to study and understand their workforces and take effective and timely decisions. From search and match to stack ranking resumes to predicting the joining probability during the recruitment phase; talent transformation and attrition modelling in the workforce management phase, most available products and services are garnered by AI and data science.

AI-based startups like Edge Networks, Skillate have sprung up both in India and overseas. Bengaluru-based  Belong scans a range of social networks and databases — from LinkedIn to Facebook to GitHub and ResearchGate — matching a company’s hiring history and position requirement to candidates’ profiles, many of them passive job seekers. The invasion of AI is  sounding the death knells for the Job portals. Job portals have struggled to keep pace amid this growing complexity. HR consultancy firm Randstad acquired online job portal Monster for $429 million, sending ripples across the recruitment industry.  The Job portal CareerBuilder got acquired by a group of investors led by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. It laid off 120 employees, 4% of its staff.

“Multiple issues have bogged down job portals. The biggest is that they were born in the era that preceded the social networks.  Facebook, Twitter, GitHub (for software engineers), Kaggle (for data scientists), offer easy and accessible platforms for professionals to interact, network, collaborate and seek-and-offer jobs. A CareerBuilder report says that 70% of the employers today use social media to screen candidates before hiring, a sharp surge from 11% in 2006. Sale of LinkedIn to Microsoft last year too made headlines”

Cheap handheld devices, rising internet access and falling data tariffs have democratised the digital world.Structural shifts in the economy, are making the employer-employee relationship complex as millennials entered the workforce. Pay-per-use models in both products and services have become the order of the day and banking on this trend the AI-based recruitment tools  are changing the game to the extent that the three broad verticals of the Recruitment Industry — ATS (like Oracle Taleo), matchmaking and sourcing of talent recruitment industry have converged in the era of Big Data. Companies from Indeed to Randstad to even PeopleStrong have been acquiring firms to prepare for the converged world even as new niche AI-based startups have mushroomed.

Bengaluru-based Skillate, an artificial intelligence (AI)-based recruitment solution platform helps companies read and match resumes. AI based products are discovering sharp improvement in staff’s efficiency rate. Resume parsing and matching technology is ensuring that searches  throw up more relevant candidates. Users are looking forward to newer features— scanning candidates’ profiles and posts on social networks. Belong helps reach out to candidates otherwise not available. Belong’s engagement piece through personalization has increased the percentage of responses from candidates.  Hyderabad based, automatically pre-screens resumes that land on the company’s careers’ page and tells the company if the candidate is good, bad or average depending on its past hiring patterns. It automates initial screening. It has another product called Retarget that mines the company’s database of resumes, and sends out automatic messages asking candidates to update them; this helps keep the database fresh and current. Next up is Param 2.0, where it is developing chatbots that will automate features like prescreening candidates. The programme will ask and answer some basic queries in audio files, which will automatically be converted into text files for recruiters to take forward. Mumbai-based, founded in 2015, wants to tackle the problem of ‘no shows’, where candidates take the job offer and don’t join. wants to use AI to combine past data, candidate psychology and engagement analytics to predict the likelihood of a candidate dropping out.

India is still at an early stage of adoption with the IT sector, digital startups and multinational R&D centres leading the AI wave in recruitment. But rapid growth is expected and these products are expected to become mainstream in the next five years . Tesla’s Musk has warned that competition for AI superiority could trigger a World War, but those engaged in combat for talent may be harboring few such apprehensions. However there are concerns, the biggest being invasion of privacy. While most AI-based platforms assure that they only track data in the public domain, boundaries may be blurring. For instance, the political views of candidates could potentially bias an employer’s decision-making, especially in these politically-polarised times where new technology in the wrong hands can also be used in a wrong way. But the verdict on this is fuzzy as bias mitigation tools could also worsen it.

We need to have checks to recognise the dangers of unchecked algorithms. But that would need a lot of struggle negotiating the labyrinth of privacy invasion and whole sorts of issue.

Till such time dinosaurs are finding lots to chew and ingest!!!!!!

Author- Partho Ganguly is currently the CEO of XHire HR Consulting a venture capital funded HR Consulting company. He is the Co founder of the Global Work Force Management Network Forum. Partho is an accomplished Author having published  numerous Press Articles in Business Magazines and Newspapers in India and has acted as a referee for Research Articles in a few International Journals of Marketing. He has authored two books in Marketing and Human Resources which were published in France in 2004 and 2006 and are recommended reference books in leading French and European Business Schools.


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