Some recruiters are still hesitant to embrace automation and AI within their workflow. Should they be?
This article was first published on August 31, 2023, by HR Daily Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.
“Automation” has been a business buzzword for quite a while, but only in the past year or 2 has it really picked up steam in the recruitment industry. No longer does it conjure up mental images of robots or impersonal interactions. Now, recruitment automation can look like anything from chat bots to screening software. There are a ton of systems and software programs being invented to help recruiters excel at their job. Many recruiters use automation and artificial intelligence (AI), even if it’s on a small scale.
But some recruiters are still hesitant to embrace automation and AI within their workflow. They fear it will make interactions feel stale and tense and that it can’t possibly help attract top talent. Isn’t a personal touch always best? In some ways, that’s true—if you’re hiring for a major role or a very specialized niche, a completely personal recruitment process may be the way to go. AI is just that—artificial. But for many other roles, automated recruitment can be immensely helpful. The leaps AI automation technology has taken in the past few years can’t be overstated, and recruiters who use automation are seeing it make a huge difference in their systems. If you’re able to outsource more of your low-level recruitment efforts to software, it will free up more of your time, energy, and resources for positions that require more personalized attention.
If you’re still on the fence about automation, you probably have a few unhelpful myths floating around your mind preventing you from taking the leap. When it comes to the cons of automation, though, you shouldn’t believe much of the hype. Here are three big myths about automated recruitment and why they shouldn’t be a concern.
Automation Will Make Recruiters Obsolete
This is a major fear not just for recruitment but also for society in general. Won’t the robots just swoop in and take our jobs if we let them? If automated recruitment is that helpful, does it mean we no longer need recruiters? Is recruitment, an area of your job that you’re passionate about and have worked hard to cultivate the skills for, about to be ripped away? The media certainly seems to think so—almost every day, there’s a new article warning us about the dangers of automation.
But as mentioned above, there will always be some roles that automated recruitment isn’t a good fit for. Even for lower-level positions, AI tools aren’t meant to completely replace recruiters. They’re meant to enhance the job recruiters are already performing. They still need to be run and monitored by human beings. In fact, over two-thirds of employers see AI tools as a way to support their employees, not a way to get rid of them (source). As any great recruiter knows, human interactions are still the most vital part of recruiting, and there are some intuitive feelings that really need to be relied on when meeting with a potential job candidate. That will never go away, no matter how great the latest chatbot is.
Automation Won’t Bring in High-Quality Candidates
It would be easy to think automation is the lazy recruiter’s way out. Sure, it brings you in new leads, but are those leads qualified? Are they worthy of a job at your company, or were they just people who knew which keywords to use on their application? Maybe they look great on paper, but they’re not a fit for your company culture at all. Can automation actually help recruiters do their job?
High-quality recruitment automation doesn’t do it all, but it does help in some major ways. It can help with your volume, allowing you to process more incoming leads at a quicker pace. It can help schedule interviews and meetings so you aren’t bogged down with back-and-forth e-mails about time zones and afternoons vs. mornings. It can reduce your cost per hire so you’re able to bring on new team members at a fraction of the cost. And some recruitment automation tools can even help you evaluate the quality of your hires, narrowing down what makes someone a great fit for your team and what you should look for in the future. Automation can absolutely bring in high-quality candidates when it’s implemented with time and care.
Automation Is Too Complicated and Expensive
“Artificial intelligence” just sounds … complicated. Ditto “machine learning” and “technology stack” and all of those other fancy buzzwords. It feels like you need a degree in computing or technology to start to use automation. Isn’t the way you’ve always done it just fine? After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But so much of automation is actually really simple—it’s just a glorified computer program where you input data. Automation isn’t nearly as complicated as it used to be, and many companies offer designated on-call customer service reps to help you with anything tricky. Some will even lead you through the implementation and onboarding. As automation for recruitment becomes more commonplace, it also becomes more affordable. There are, of course, costs associated with automation, but the benefits automation tools provide likely outweigh them. You might be surprised at how many chatbots or screening systems are well within your budget. While automation doesn’t eliminate the need for talented recruiters, it may allow you to take on fewer new hires, saving you money in the long run—after all, software is almost always cheaper than an entire salary and benefits. You may not know something’s “broke” until you see how much better it can be done!
Don’t Be Afraid of Automation
You may have even more concerns about AI and automation within your recruitment process, but do those negatives really outweigh the positives? The only way to tell is to try it out. Evaluate where you’ve been using automation within your workflow over the past year, and try to identify areas where it may be helpful going forward. You may just see your costs decrease, your productivity increase, and your recruitment success skyrocket.
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