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Is AI a Threat or a Boon to Recruiters?

A Look at AI’s Capabilities and Potential Impact on Hiring Professionals

AI is the future, but not the future that some envision. We aren’t going to be living in a Jetsons-style utopia any time soon.

While AI has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade, affecting everything from the way we work to the way we run our households, bank, and play, it’s not as big of a danger to workers and recruiters as some would fear.

In fact, AI adoption can be a big advantage for recruiters who embrace what it can do well and ignore what it can't. The time freed up by AI and automation means that more important tasks get priority on a recruiter’s schedule. 

Here’s everything you need to know about AI’s potential and pitfalls, as well as its effect on the recruitment industry and why it’s not as big of a threat as you think.

Why Is AI Scaring Workforce Employees and Recruiters?

There’s a fair bit of panic around AI and its abilities, especially thanks to the rise of ChatGPT. A survey by Tidio revealed that almost 69% of college graduates in the United States fear that AI will take their job or make it irrelevant in a few years.

Why do people think this? It goes back to an infamous study on the future of employment, now known as the Oxford Study. This study was published a solid decade ago, in September of 2013, and based quite a few of its conclusions on data prior to that data - data that has since been proven highly optimistic and premature when it came to predicting AI’s future capabilities.

For example, the Oxford Study claimed that about 47% of total US employment was at risk due to “rapid computerization,” which included both AI and robotics. It pointed at data for driverless cars to support the idea that industries employing drivers were at high risk for workforce collapse - ten years later, there are still only around 14,000 autonomous vehicles on the road and most of these are still in the testing stage.

Possibly the one area the study got right was in the area of cashier replacements; but that is due more to automation than AI. Technology has already been making inroads with self-service checkouts becoming more and more popular, and it’s estimated that around 40% of grocery store checkouts are now self-service.

That doesn’t mean all of the cashiers got fired. Most companies still have to maintain staff levels high enough to provide personalized help to customers having trouble with the machines. So the number of jobs is only marginally reduced.

IBM’s CEO had formerly predicted that as many as 30% of existing roles would go to AI in the future, but has since walked back the statement just a little. While many back office HR roles will be automated and AI driven going forward, IBM is now saying that AI won’t cost a single programmer job, and in fact, more human workers will be hired by the company in the near future.

AI Is Here to Stay

AI isn’t going away. Experts predict that large-scale AI in the workplace will add as much as $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. But AI isn’t replacing human workers in the grand scheme of things; rather, it’s taking over thankless, repetitive, and mundane tasks so workers can focus on tasks with a higher value and reward.

While Pew Research Center estimated that about a fifth of workers have high exposure to AI in their jobs, surprisingly these were mostly college-educated workers, including mathematicians, paralegals, and web developers. This is thanks to AI’s unique suitability to assist automation in the following areas:

  • Data entry and review
  • Automated note-taking, transcription, and summarization
  • Clerical work
  • Basic customer care inquiries
  • Exploratory research and compilation 
  • Complex math

AI is able to augment human intelligence, not replace it. While AI is terrific at hard skills, it’s less capable when it comes to soft skills and one-on-one interaction on a personal level.

AI Is Smart, But It’s Not Very Creative, Empathetic, or Savvy

AI can do a lot of things very fast and very well, with a smaller margin for error than humans. Where it falls short is in jobs that require human skills such as creativity, emotional intelligence, and good judgment.

In regard to creativity, AI only regurgitates mashups based on millions of creative works that already exist. In fact, AI-generated art, music, and literature is already under fire as unethical and stealing from copyrighted works. A class-action suit against Open-AI (parent to ChatGPT) is already underway with big-name authors like George R.R. Martin, John Grisham, and Jodi Piccoult attached.

When a human touch is needed to show appropriate empathy for a customer, client, or patient with a concern, AI just doesn’t have the chops to come through with believable emotional intelligence. This is especially true in healthcare; 79% of U.S. adults say they would not want to use an AI chatbot if they were seeking mental health support.

Good judgment by AI is also under suspicion as misinformation abounds. For something supposed to reduce human error, AI is proving far from infallible in iterations like ChatGPT, which routinely “hallucinates” - making things up in response to queries. 

Since so much “content” is being generated by ChatGPT, a lot of this misinformation ends up online and being perpetuated. Those who use ChatGPT have to be careful to fact-check everything it comes back with; lawyers are now facing fines and sanctions after using ChatGPT, which generated completely fictitious cases and insisted they were real.

What About AI In Recruitment?

AI and automation have been incredible tools for recruiters, hiring managers and HR professionals. However, they can’t replace recruiters, not if the goal is hiring the right people every time. Amazon made that obvious in 2017, when the retail giant decided to let AI make hiring decisions. They quickly pulled the AI tool because of its glaring bias against women

Certain regions are now passing laws to ensure discrimination in hiring doesn’t happen due to AI. New York City recently passed an anti-bias law requiring companies that use AI and machine-assisted hiring decisioning tools to have annual audits of their recruitment technology performed by a third party.

Current resume screening tools have been proven to overlook qualified applicants, since one in four resumes never even get seen by a human recruiter. Many applicant tracking systems eliminate 75% of candidates due to parameters being too tight, or misinformed by bad data.  

These examples don’t mean AI is bad for recruitment. It’s just not a complete solution. AI can be a fantastic asset when used properly. It’s not AI vs. human recruiters, it’s AI + human recruiters. 

So, How Can Recruiters Effectively Use AI?

The jobs and skills that AI can’t replace include learning how to ask the right questions and really interacting with people. AI is unlikely to replace jobs requiring human skills such as judgment, creativity, and emotional intelligence

Why? AI can process data, but it can’t predict how humans will respond to new information or interactions. It simply can’t grasp short-term versus long-term concerns. It’s unable to truly create: rather, its powers lie in iteration. 

In fact, there’s an even longer laundry list of things AI just isn’t equipped for when it comes to connecting with humans:

  • Sense of humor
  • Authenticity
  • Imagination
  • Originality
  • Morality

In a field like recruitment, where success hinges on tapping into the all important human connection, AI can assist humans, but it can’t replace them. Recruiters can learn to use AI to increase efficiency — leveraging AI tools as a way to take away the load of repetitive tasks.

This leaves more time and energy for the all-important job of connecting with candidates and hiring managers. You can create great candidate experiences that lead to positive hiring processes and growth of your talent pool.

Hiring professionals agree there is a place for AI in their world. In a survey from Tidio, nearly 67% of HR professionals supported AI as having multiple benefits for and a positive impact on the recruitment process. 

Tidio noted that most HR professionals and recruiters are ready to embrace the power of AI as a helpful tool, and only 15% are worried about AI taking over their jobs completely.

  • 89% said AI could improve the application process for candidates
  • 85% said AI could be a helpful technology for the hiring process
  • 68% said AI could help reduce unconscious bias
  • 44% said AI will free up the recruiter’s time 
  • 41% said AI could provide valuable insights during the recruitment process 
  • 39% said AI can make a recruiter’s job easier  

Bottom line: AI hiring tools are only capable of enhancing the role of a recruiter, not replacing them. 

How Crosschq Helps You Leverage AI for Superior Hiring Results 

Crosschq 360 Digital Reference Checking Reports are helping recruiters do the repetitive but important parts of their jobs - like reference checks and skills assessments - faster, more effectively, and without bias. 

Tailored survey assessments allow both candidates and former managers/coworkers to provide scoring and feedback on skills and competencies needed for the specific requirements of a role. 

Each candidate can then be compared to the next with no bias or confusion - just a clear scoring of skills and attributes across the board. You might even find the perfect candidate for your next open role hidden in your candidate pool. 

Crosschq helps you engage in high impact hiring. Our advanced AI modeling gives you the information and insights you need to make more informed decisions with hiring data to increase your Quality of Hire.

To find out more about how Crosschq 360 can help you leverage AI as a useful recruitment tool, contact us for a demo today.


Katie Kennedy

by Katie Kennedy

Talent Consulting Lead

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