The Pros and Cons of AI in Recruitment


Artificial Intelligence has been finding a place within the recruitment processes of more and more companies. With the potential of cutting down a recruiter’s extensive admin work and creating a more efficient process, it’s easy to see why AI is being adopted by so many in the industry. However, some recruiters are worried that there are human elements to the recruitment process that AI just can’t replicate.


We’ve gone through the pros and cons of AI in recruitment to help you decide whether or not it’s the right way to go for you and your company.


Pro: Cut down on admin time

Tools like automated CV scanners and scheduling software can help free up recruiters from time-consuming admin tasks so that they can focus on tasks with higher priority, such as building productive relationships with top candidates. Artificial Intelligence can be used to quickly and efficiently match up qualifications and skills necessary for a role and highlight the applicants that fit the bill rather than a recruiter spending hours manually trawling through CV after CV. Huge quantities of data can be analysed in a very short space of time. Once candidates have been chosen to progress to the next stage of the process, say an initial interview or an assessment, AI can also be used to book applicants in.


Con: There can be some issues with accuracy

Many tools which rely on Artificial Intelligence are relatively new and errors can creep in. For example, if a candidate has used a different phrase or word to describe a skill than is used by the system, this candidate could be missed even though they are qualified for the role. Equally, with the growing popularity of such systems, more candidates are starting to understand how they work and may try to play the system to make it seem as though they are a better fit than they are by including certain buzzwords and phrases.


Pro: It can make things easier for the candidates too

It’s not just about making life more efficient and easier for the recruiters. Candidates can also benefit when recruiters use AI in their processes. Anyone in the recruitment industry will know that good candidate experience can be key in securing the top talent, especially when you’re competing with other businesses for the best new recruits. And any job seeker will be able to tell you how frustrating it can be when they don’t hear back quickly, or even at all, when they’ve submitted an application.


Artificial Intelligence can be used to answer candidate’s questions via systems like chatbots, to schedule in interviews and assessments and to keep them updated with their progress in the application process. Applicant Tracking Systems which use AI can also determine a candidate’s performance in an assessment or even help with initial interviews, delivering the same set of questions to candidates who have reached this stage. All of this greatly speeds up the process and reduces the risk of top candidates getting frustrated with a process being slowed down by a large amount of admin for the recruiter.


Con: Some things require a human touch

There are certain things that need to be decided by a human, such as judging whether or not a candidate will be suitable for the company’s culture or whether their work ethic is as good as their application might suggest. To determine such things, you will need to interview the candidate, usually face to face. Interviews are a key part of any recruitment process, so this might not be a big concern for you. However, there is the danger that AI might discount a candidate who is a great fit for the company’s culture but requires a little additional training in favour of a candidate who has more qualifications but doesn’t align with the company’s values.


There is also the risk that using AI to communicate with your candidates can sometimes feel a little impersonal. While it’s great that AI is there to respond to candidates at any time of the day or night, there is a barrier between the candidate and the hiring manager that can leave both feeling a little detached from the process. You may find that it’s better to use the time saved on an automated screening process to communicate with the candidates directly rather than delegating this task to your AI software.


Pro: Can provide recruiters with a pool of higher quality candidates

AI can help cut the amount of time recruiters spend looking through the applications of candidates that don’t have all the qualifications required for a role. It can also help recruiters produce job descriptions with a greater degree of clarity and attract those more qualified candidates in the first place. The software is improving rapidly and AI can also use programmatic advertising to get the right job opportunities in front of the right people at the right time.


Con: AI can learn biases in recruiting patterns

People often say that one of the great advantages of AI in recruitment is that it is free of human bias. This is sometimes not the case, however, especially in the initial screening stage of the recruitment process. Certain AI recruitment tools can look through the historical hiring data of a company to determine the characteristics the company looks for in candidates. This means that instead of removing any biases in previous recruiting patterns, AI could actually reinforce these.


So, based on these pros and cons, how should recruiters employ artificial intelligence in the recruitment processes, if at all? The first thing to recognise is that there are flaws in the current technology. If you’re going to use it, you need to know about these flaws in order to avoid issues such as those faced by Amazon in 2018 when its system had taught itself to downgrade applications which mentioned terms relating to women. It certainly seems as though the recruitment process will always require human input. A human will be required to determine things like the strength of a candidate’s emotional intelligence and whether or not their personal values align with those of the company. AI is not going to be able to do the whole job for you, certainly not with the current technology available, so be selective about where you use it.


You will also want to consider the size of your business and the amount of recruiting you do. For many small companies, the investment in AI is likely to be unnecessary with few roles being advertised at any one time. The bigger your company is and the more roles you regularly advertise, the more useful you’ll find artificial intelligence. It can help you significantly cut down time spent on admin tasks and free you up for more important things like developing relationships with the top candidates out there. If you do decide that AI could benefit your recruitment process and is worth the investment, spend time making sure that the system doesn’t inherit any human biases that may be present in your company’s historical hiring data.


Finally, keep an eye on developments to the technology. This is a relatively new field and many of the flaws in current recruiting AI are being addressed and in the future, it could become a more valuable addition to your recruitment process.