Artificial Intelligence as a concept has been with us for centuries, from its origins in Greek mythology, to Alan Turing’s theory of computation, to modern AI technology.

AI is no longer simply chat bots or the automated voices you hear when calling the bank. Look at Google’s AI engine in action: it can make a phone call to a real person to discuss subjects as simple as booking a table for dinner, or as complex or political theory.

When it comes to recruitment, AI can also be more sophisticated than simply matching a candidate to a role based on their skills. It has become far more advanced – and somewhat terrifying (though not terrifying in the sense of Terminator’s Skynet or the titular robot of I, Robot) – in terms of the possibilities of what can be achieved.

Just look at this video and see the Google AI in action.

Do We Need it and What Could it be Used For?

It’s a debate that has been rumbling in the background for a while now: is this something we actually need or not?

In certain situations, it probably has its place, particularly in the fast-paced world of temp and contract work where the ability to give candidates the perception of a personal touch, even at high volumes, could be achieved by AI.

However, for in-house recruitment teams, that interaction with a real-life human is still key. You are not employing them impersonally for a third party, you’re employing them into your own business, and so you are most likely going to want that human conversation.

Many people I’ve spoken to see the best use of AI in making the initial contact with your perspective employees: that first stage of sifting and screening, especially when there is an influx of candidates that all score highly on assessment. Beyond that, the human touch takes precedence.

Will a Candidate Notice?

With technology becoming so advanced, it’s difficult to say. But does it matter?

If you’re recruiting a new employee for your own business, it probably does. Prospective employees commonly now research companies thoroughly, with the ethics of the company being one of the main things they are looking to understand. How you treat and interact with your employees and how you conduct your business is key to securing top talent.

How would you react if you thought that phone call telling you “Congratulations, we would like to offer you the job” was not made by the Hiring Manager or Head of HR, but instead by an AI platform?

It’s a personal dilemma that we are all going to wrestle with at some point in our lives. Perhaps in the future it will be commonplace – something candidates wouldn’t bat an eye over. But in the present day, it does arguably feel cold, distant, and mechanical – not how you would ideally want candidates and applicants to see your company.

What’s Next?

There’s no doubt AI will play an ever larger a part in our lives. We are seeing it’s growth in real time. Perhaps the call you made last week to order your Friday pizza was answered by an AI platform and you didn’t even notice.

Maybe that is a bit Skynet frightening after all.

But some companies will embrace it wholly, seeing AI as a way to reduce staff overheads and lessen the stress on their recruitment teams.

Yet on the other hand, many businesses are likely to carry on as they are.

“You can take recruitment out of the human, but can you take the human out of recruitment?”

I’d personally rather receive my job offers from a real person, and I bet you would too.

About the author

Andy Betts

Andy has been involved in recruitment, payroll and HR for 15 years, having previously worked at Adecco looking after their front office applications and payroll, as well as the London Deanery, which places junior doctors in hospital once they’ve completed training. Most recently he worked with The Access group as product manager of their Recruitment CRM, Candidate and Client Portals and the mobile worker app. He has been with Hireserve since January 2022.