Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of Talent Acquisition


Jun. 15, 2018

From artificial intelligence and automation to machine learning and semantic search, we’ve been inundated with the industry’s hottest buzzwords, but what do these terms really mean for us in the talent acquisition space and for the future of our profession?

These terms are far from passing fads. Nearly 3 in 4 employers expect that some roles within talent acquisition and human capital management will become completely automated within the next 10 years, according to a 2017 survey by my company, CareerBuilder.

Our research also shows that artificial intelligence and automation will have a major impact on HR and employment over the next few years, as more than 1 in 10 HR managers are already seeing evidence of AI becoming a regular part of HR, while more than half say it will be within the next five years.

This has been stoking unwarranted fear in our industry and beyond. While most HR managers say the thought of AI in HR does not make them nervous, there are still a third of them (35 percent) who say it does. In fact, a smaller group (7 percent) would go so far as to think a robot could do their job.

AI Enhances Our Jobs — But It Won’t Eliminate Them

This is not like a scary sci-fi movie where the robots take over. In fact, you’re likely automating parts of your recruitment and human capital management processes right now, so there’s no reason to fear tech-led automation and AI-powered technologies. AI technology is not intended to eradicate your skillset and take over your job — at least not in the way you think.

The purpose of AI and tech-led automation is to enable you to become smarter, faster and more efficient as you search for and hire the right candidates for your organization. But it can only do so much.

It cannot replace the relationship-building piece nor the intuitive instinct that are integral to finding the right candidates and building strong talent pools. So regardless of the constantly evolving technological landscape amidst which we find ourselves, the most crucial parts of your job — the things technology cannot do, the “human” in human resources — will never become obsolete. However, it will allow you to automate rote or labor-intensive tasks so it frees up your time to focus on the things that really matter.

How AI Is Being Used Today

Artificial intelligence is far from just a buzzword in HR circles — everything from chatbots to intelligent assistants to predictive analytics are either actively being used in the talent acquisition space today or will be for the foreseeable future.

More than one third (36 percent) of HR managers say that one of the biggest time wasters in their day is seeing candidate search results that don’t match the context of what they are looking for. Semantic search capabilities can interpret a recruiter’s simple keyword searches and apply our custom ontology and taxonomy structure to better understand the intent of a user. That means the product not only understands what you say, but what you mean. The result is more accurate search results as well as better handling of acronyms, synonyms and related concepts.

Behind the scenes, machine learning technology can also predict the likelihood of a candidate to respond to a particular offer, and this type of information is used to fine-tune automated email outreach, search result rankings and job recommendation algorithms.

These are just a few of the ways AI and machine learning technologies are helping to power our industry into a modern era — and if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, the future is ripe with possibilities.

Humair Ghauri is the chief product officer for CareerBuilder. Comment below or email

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