Alexa, Is Human Judgment Obsolete?

AI in HR

Technology is pushing the boundaries when it comes to hiring, and candidates will benefit.

By Elliot Clark

Candidates can expect an improved hiring experience in 2019 with technology leading the way. “In the future, many of the technologies used for talent acquisition and candidate communication will go directly to mobile platforms as native applications,” says Dr. Peter Wiedemann, the CEO of the talent acquisition divison of Saba-Lumesse.

In fact, increasing attention on candidate experience shows that many people apply for jobs on mobile phones and tablet devices. But in the future, candidates may experience current platforms evolving into new devices yet to be developed. “I can foresee a time when candidates will apply on a device such as an Alexa device,” says Wiedemann. “The candidate will have to answer questions using natural language processing and be able to ask and answer questions during the completion of an application. What is more exciting is that these changes are going to come very fast.”

Wiedemann is unquestionably correct about the speed of advancement in HR technology. The pace of technological change is accelerating. In a recent article in Fortune Magazine, Josh Bersin, principal of Bersin by Deloitte said: “AI for hiring is hot and it’s competitive. I get emails every day from someone who decides they’re going to fix the recruiting market through artificial intelligence.”

But if candidates are going to apply for positions using Alexa, Siri, Bixby, or some other voice technology, the data will have to be converted and analyzed using something other than time-consuming audio files. Rapid analysis requires the help of machine learning to facilitate a great deal of the process. Does this mean AI will someday supplant the role of the human recruiter?

“Machine learning and artificial intelligence have progressed greatly. I can see a day when it could be used in an end-to-end hiring process for unskilled labor or possibly graduate recruitment where the analytical models and the ability to build profiles are very good,” explains Wiedemann. “However, as you move up the qualification scale, the need for the recruiter to use judgment and assess the candidate becomes greater and the technology is not there yet. AI is not yet able to replace the human recruiter and make the recruiting professional obsolete”.

However, he says: “If you look at most major companies or recruiting firms, the role of the recruiter is still 40 to 60 percent administrative. While that is down from historical levels, the current advancement in machine learning may someday make that ratio 90 percent high-level candidate interaction and assessments and 10 percent administrative.”

That goal is very possible and great strides have been made in how sourcing software works, the ability for chatbots to answer simple questions, programs to deliver customized content to job applicants, and management of interview scheduling. There has already been an expanding use of natural language processing (NLP) in initial phone calls with candidates and the first level of screening interactions. Will a candidate someday be able to apply online verbally with an NLP device such as the Amazon Alexa or Google Home and be interviewed and assessed for certain types of lower skilled job families and get hired? It is not only not far fetched, it does not sound far into the future.

Posted December 19, 2018 in Enabling Technology

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