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How Artificial Intelligence Is Reinventing Human Resources AI sees data whereas humans sense emotion and this is something that will not be changing in the foreseeable future.

By Barbara Van Pay

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"To AI or not to AI", a play on Shakespeare age-old adage, is making waves into today's' teched-up world as many industries are looking into AI solutions for their businesses, especially when it comes to human resources.

Due to the 'Hollywood' driven concept of AI, many organizations are scared of letting a non-human entity handle certain procedures of business, but the day when AI robots could possibly take over the world is far from today. Having an untold potential in the increase of efficiency, partnered with a cost-effective solution, does it not only make sense to adapt to the modern world, but to use the benefits of AI for your businesses recruitment needs, or your needs in general? Is it the right choice for your business? Here is what you need to know in order to answer that question.

AI means reduced recruiting timelines

The time of spending hundreds of man-hours filtering through thousands of CVs and online job-board profiles for new employees is coming to an end. For example, ideally, a company, specializing in AI recruiting services, claims on their blog and estimates their AI candidate sourcing algorithm can "reduce time to hire from 34 days to 9 days". This is a 73.53% increase in candidate sourcing and on boarding efficiency utilizing a non-biased process that removes stereotypes from sourcing and finds candidates that are technically appropriate for the position.

Candidate screening is another task that can be automated by AI technology. By using this intelligent-style method much more online data can be collected such as information from social media profiles, previous online job records, and educational qualifications that will then enhance the ranking system of candidates for recruiters to select from.

Given AI technology can efficiently source and screen multiple candidates in a short period of time the acceptance criteria set by the business and the candidate profile has to be matched to identify and match the most promising candidates for the job. Using this gathered data AI programs can then rank candidates on a scale using various pieces of information such as experience, work history, skill sets, and salary expectations to find the right person. This method of processing data is becoming highly valued in today's market because of its ability to locate passive candidates, who are generally the most desired, as they aren't actively looking for other positions and they are content with their current position meaning they are an asset to their company which in turn means there is less competition to place them.

A huge part of the recruiting timeline, after you've found the 'perfect fit' for the role, is interviewing. In today's' international job market, numerous expats are actively seeking roles abroad while not always being able to go to the respective country of their desired job just for an interview. There are a few startups that are specializing in AI interviewing software such as HireVue and Mya. These companies are shifting their focus on simplifying the interviewing process by utilizing video as the medium. Programs such as HireVue use preset questionnaires that the candidate can then film themselves answering. This allows for the recruiter to generically interview a higher number of potential candidates via pre-recorded videos, which can then be sifted through to select individuals who will progress in the talent acquisition process.

Using AI technology, the footwork is taken care of from sourcing to interviewing which drastically reduces the recruitment timeline. This, in turn, allows for the talent acquisition team to engage with prospective candidates and determine their ability to perform in the specific role, and inevitably, make a placement at a much faster rate.

Related: How the UAE's New Minister of AI Views the Future Of Tech in His Desert Nation

AI in human resources is cost-effective and better for business overall

Along with numerous man-hours, countless company dollars are being spent on old-fashioned recruitment in today's' market. A 2016 Society of Human Resource Management survey found that "the average cost-per-hire is $4,129". That is a staggering dollar amount to place one individual. Let's put it in perspective.

In 2017, CNN reported that Amazon had "541,900 employees in the third quarter of 2017, which was up from a little more than 300,000 in the same period a year earlier." This means that over that period 12 month period, Amazon hired an estimate of 241,900 new employees. Granted Amazon is already using AI technology in its recruitment services but for the sake of the argument let's pretend they didn't (like a lot of large companies today) and let's pretend their cost of hiring one employee was that of the average found by SHRM. The cost would look like:

$4,129 (Average cost to hire) x 241,900 (New employees) = $998,805,100 in recruitment costs per 1 year.

It's estimated that in this scenario Amazon could have spent upwards of $1 Billion USD on recruitment costs alone over the period of 12 months. This is quite astounding and nearly incomprehensible, but possible. With many of the AI recruitment and Human Resources programs available offering tailor-made packages on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly subscription basis, it's not hard to see that you can save a pretty hefty penny by transitioning to AI technology solutions.

AI in human resources will improve the "employee experience" and take "engagement down to the individual level."

In the recent IBM Think 2018 panel, Richard Hughes, Senior Vice President at UnitedHealth Group, stated, "The future is going to be centred on the employee experience and taking engagement down to the individual level. There is no way we can do that on any scale without applying the best that "data science' has to offer." AI isn't just about giving humans a hand at doing lower level tasks, it's about data. Vast amounts of data can be collected at an exponentially higher rate with AI than humans can wish to accomplish. This data is what drives businesses in general, not only in the Human Resources department.

In larger corporations many employees can feel lost and unengaged by their employers and Human Resource department. Anything from vacation requests not being acknowledged to unenforced policies can be the tipping point for most employees which results in high turnover rates. A high salary does not make an employee happy. Most people feel their jobs are their lives, and who wants to live an unhappy life? No one.

Having access to a wider array of data means you have the ability to make your employees' overall experience better by applying the gathered data and making relevant adjustments to the workplace atmosphere or internal processes. A recent tweet by Hughes says, "Having good data is like having good health. When you have it, you take it for granted. When you don't, you panic." Simply put, increased data means increased data analytics, which means advanced insights that lead to improved working conditions for employees that keeps turnover rates low.

AI In human resources and setbacks to consider

As you've gathered by now, there are multiple advantages to utilizing AI technology for your human resources and recruiting needs, but nothing is perfect in life, certainly not a budding form of technology that has yet to reach its maximum potential. Many services and programs offered could lack different aspects one might be accustomed to in manual the non AI world, such as the ability to leave feedback to a candidate after a video interview, or specific CV search criteria. One major aspect that AI technology lacks is empathy and human interaction or the opportunity to handpick a candidate and get to know them personally during the recruitment process which simply cannot be done at this time while relying on AI technology to do all the work for your company. AI sees data whereas humans sense emotion and this is something that will not be changing in the foreseeable future.

Therefore it is up to you to decide if AI technology is the right solution for your businesses' needs. Are you a corporation with thousands of employees, spending big bucks on recruitment annually and desperately need a way to streamline the process and cut costs? Are you a mom-and-pop shop that has less than 15 employees and takes pride in getting to know each employee like family? Every business has different goals, budgets, and desires, but the beauty of the AI industry is that there is a solution for everyone, no matter how big or how small.

It is up to you to decide what works for your business, whether that is adapting to the constant growing AI industry or keeping things as they are or just introducing small changes over time. Either way, AI technology is only going to keep growing and at some point in the future AI will be the norm and the old-fashioned ways of recruiting and human resource processes will seem like the stone ages.

Related: The Future Is Now: The UAE Is All Set To Be A Leading Destination For AI Investment

Barbara Van Pay

CEO of SmartHR Consultancy

Barbara Van Pay is the CEO of SmartHR Consultancy
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