Artificial Intelligence Can Be a Big Help for Recruiters But Will Not Replace Them

In Bladerunner 2049, Ryan Gosling’s character comes home to find Joi preparing his dinner. She flickers like a hologram but her voice is clear, like the voice assistants we’re already used to now, in 2018. The tone in Joi’s voice is something close to our home experience, as soon as we arrive: “How was your day, dear?” She’s a highly evolved AI, the kind many think will be a job killer.

Joi is an AI companion for the protagonist who hunts down replicants for a living.  Later, when the protagonist brings home a real person to his home, Joi acts like a human being, slighted for what she cannot do–offer physical contact. Joi is almost a human-form AI but in 2018, the AI that everyone knows  is more computer-based, not a threat at all. For global mobility managers, AI is a supplement to one’s recruiting efforts. It’s a big help for global mobility managers looking for quick turnarounds.

In a recent Korn Ferry survey, 63 percent of 800 HR professionals said AI has changed the way they recruit, and 69 percent said that using AI in recruiting results in higher quality candidates.

Some may balk at the idea of AI replacing recruiters, but LinkedIn found that just 14 percent of global mobility professionals were concerned about AI taking away their jobs.

In reality, the fear of losing jobs in the HR industry is outrageous. Most recruiters believe AI simply can’t replace the personal, human, emotional and intuitive aspects of recruiting, because they are only good at one thing; doing repetitive tasks. They cannot extend the most human of human emotions to people: empathy.

Here are some reasons why AI can’t replicate what humans do culled from various sources, including tips from HR Technologist, Go Avrio and Undercover Recruiter.

1. Human recruiters can actually sell a job

Does anyone really think AIs can sell anything? That would require the AI in question to have a persuasive personality. In sales, creativity comes into play when dealing with humans undecided in what is being offered to them. AIs may be knowledgeable, but they cannot think outside of the box when it comes to closing the deal.

2. AI cannot really offer won’t have empathy for candidates.

Human relationships build over time and requires delicate and special handling. There’s the interaction between recruiter and candidate that takes awhile to develop–one that AI would not be able to process. AI doesn’t have the personality yet. Joi may still be decades away from happening in the real world.

Also, AI cannot determine if candidates are presenting themselves poorly in resumes — and this is where recruiters can help candidates sell themselves to employers much better.  Inputs from the recruiters are still valuable.

3. AI will never really have the foresight

AIs cannot be visionaries or planners who think of the big picture or the bottom line for the company. Humans can think far ahead in terms of what a candidate can do for a company 3 months or 3 years from his or her employment date.

4. AI will never love their job like humans do

Finally, AIs can’t claim to love their job. Recruitment is what you could call the most human of industries. There may be AI tools that help narrow down the best candidates for the job, but that just means AI is just part of the process, not the go-to decision-maker. It aids and supports HR or global mobility managers to do their work. Human recruiters cannot plan career goals based on data and analytics.

5. AI cannot do interviews

Yes, AI can assess a candidate on a base level, but the ability to identify the unique potential of each job hunter is subjective. AI will not be able to find out if a candidate is a good culture fit for a company. It can review resumes, but it cannot conduct a job interview, whereas recruiters can spend more time on phone and in-person interviews, giving them a more comprehensive view of the job at hand.

Yes, AI will take away jobs in other industries like the grocery store cashier. Amazon Go, the self-checkout grocery store, is now doing business in San Francisco, following a few other test stores in other cities. The ride-sharing drivers may be replaced by AI-driven vehicles in the future. Coffee baristas may be replaced by robots, if another robot at the Metreon beside Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco is a sign of things to come.

But for recruitment and talent acquisition, it’s still a long shot.

If it’s any consolation, Gartner reported that by 2020, AI will have already created 2.3 million jobs, replacing the 1.8 million mid-level jobs it could replace. Even in the industries where AI is expected to take the most jobs there will still need to be many new human jobs made for sales, customer service marketing and others tasks where human interaction is still favored by customers.