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Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

The term artificial intelligence (AI) conjures up rather negative images for many people in the recruitment and Talent Acquisition (TA) function. For many, the introduction of AI threatens the loss of work tasks or indeed whole job types.

This article explores how AI is impacting the recruitment and TA function including employment branding.

And whilst hysterics will always prevail, it is helpful to look at the ways in which AI can in fact improve the recruitment function and enhance your employment brand. It can play a very important role in augmenting human processes within your recruitment function which results in improved sourcing and talent attraction strategies. 

How does AI help with employment branding?

AI can and is starting to be used to augment human processes of recruitment. In many ways, AI will enable recruitment and TA teams to become more human again. And whilst some of you may be scratching your heads when you hear that statement, I will outline how this is true.  

AI helps employment branding in the following areas:

Routine functions

When undertaken by humans, routine functions can be lengthy, inefficient and frustrating to candidates in the recruitment process. When assumed by AI, rather than people, many routine functions become streamlined and more efficient.

For example, let’s say you are trying to get in touch with a candidate. Leaving messages for one another because you cannot connect in real time can be enormously frustrating and time wasting for both parties. By using some form of AI, you can quickly find a mutually beneficial time to talk.

Routine data

Let’s say you are trying to track your average time to fill rate. Or perhaps you are trying to determine how many people applied for a recent role via your website versus directly from a job board. Whilst a person could be assigned to investigate tasks such as this, AI will get this job done more quickly.

That leaves humans with more time to work out how to improve performance, rather than gathering data before undertaking some kind of analysis.  

Social listening function

With so many digital platforms now populated with information about your company, it is near impossible to manually track who is saying what, where and when. AI allows you to learn what your talent pool of prospective applicants is saying about your company. This is achieved with social listening tools.

By using AI to source the content, the humans in your company can focus on responding to that digital commentary and devise ways to improve the candidate experience.

Again, spending time gathering the data is ineffective and your chances of doing a “clean sweep” of the web consistently is limited when asking humans to perform this task.

Social marketing data

There is no doubt that humans play a pivotal role in developing social marketing campaigns to source and attract candidates to your company. But when evaluating the effectiveness of these campaigns, AI is a helpful ally.

AI allows you to determine which campaigns convert candidates to applicants, the viewership of various ad campaign content and the social platforms that provide the most applicants for specific roles. It can even provide heat maps to show you which content on your digital platforms is most often searched for.

Assigning this task to a human would be painstakingly slow and potentially inaccurate. AI data insights inform how further job advertisement campaign elements should be developed and deployed to attract the very best talent.

Applicant liaison

The jury is still out on the extent to which AI should be involved in the recruitment process. Whilst automating scheduling activities such as arranging interview times, seems intuitive, other candidate touch points in the recruitment process may still benefit greatly from human contact.

As an example, recruitment and TA team don’t work 24/7. And chatbots are sometimes engaged to answer straight forward candidate queries on company websites. Now, their effectiveness in this regard may well be questioned depending on the specific technology you use.

Candidates quickly become frustrated when technology doesn’t meet their specific needs in the recruitment process.

With this being the case, AI should be considered very carefully before incorporating it into your recruitment and TA processes and procedures. Enhancing your employment brand should outweigh your quest for efficiency and cost savings in the short term.

Employee referrals

AI can be applied to look at the networks of your employees on social media platforms. This is helpful because it provides you with a path to network with talent, including passive talent, in a more socially connected and intuitive way.

By using AI to identify those links, your recruitment team is freed up to nurture those new relationships and undertake the activities that create an exceptional candidate experience as you “woo” talent your company is keen to engage now or in the future.

Identifying passive talent

Whilst not yet fully developed, technology is emerging that sweeps digital landscapes to find candidates with skillsets and capability that your company would value. The human grunt work is taken out of the process and instead, robots sweep for key candidate data in line with your company’s human capital needs.

Where AI is not working in building an employment brand

AI’s involvement in the recruitment and TA function is still in its infancy. And this is probably because there are times when AI doesn’t contribute to building a positive employment brand.

Here are some of the reasons AI isn’t currently embraced whole heartedly in the recruitment and TA function:

  • In many cases, technology in still in beta stage – we still see mistakes when technology is included in the recruitment process. And given the candidate experience of your recruitment process is pivotal to attracting the best candidates, recruitment teams and hiring managers can’t afford mistakes that frustrate candidates  
  • Automated tracking systems (ATS) are not perfect – obviously the most common application of AI in the recruitment space is via Applicant Tracking Systems. And whilst those systems have come a long way, most systems predominantly rely on matching keywords in resumes with role requirements.

Using ATS’ does not necessarily result in highlighting the best candidates for the job. Candidate variability in the way they express themselves in their resumes and digital profiles is significant and as such, keywords system tools don’t always shortlist the most suitable candidates.  

In saying that, AI is taking huge leaps forward in capability with many systems now designed to look at keyword context, semantics and incorporating a better understanding of user intent.  

  • Some AI simply doesn’t engage people – there is no doubt that AI is creating efficiencies when applied to aspects of the recruitment process. But at this point in time, it doesn’t replace human empathy, personality and humour that people can add to your recruitment process.

In saying that, continuous monitoring of AI application to your recruitment process is essential. There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Just because it’s application in some areas of your recruitment and TA process may not be currently viable, its introduction in other aspects of your human capital function, in some capacity now, may be highly beneficial.

Start small

Now if you are a new company or start up, you don’t have the funds to invest significantly in AI technology. But there is no need to worry. You can start small.

There are some free (or nearly free) tools on the market that you can use to monitor your employment brand:

Hints and Tips for leveraging AI in recruitment teams  

  • Train your recruitment and TA team in the application of technology to enhance the recruitment process. The team needs to work hand in hand with your IT team to implement technologies that meet their needs
  • Hiring Managers need to be open to using new technology in the recruitment and TA process to source and attract talented individuals
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by AI – you could start by using a simple virtual assistant at the bottom of your website that can answer questions when you are off line or consider scheduling tools, to help arrange interviews
  • Social listening is important. You no longer own your brand. People on social media platforms have plenty to say about your brand and you need to be listening in and responding to what they are saying  
  • Consider using Digital Social Monitoring/Listening tools – you will find some inexpensive options available. Alternatively, you can use something like Google Alerts, which gives you reports covering online discussions about your company. This allows you to then go in and add to the conversation (you can even ask people to email you to further explore details about their poor experience with your company)
  • AI can troll hundreds of social media platforms to see what is being said about your brand – good and bad. You MUST respond to bad press quickly and professionally
  • AI can help to detect red flags about applicants in the digital social sphere. Whilst you are not likely to be looking for reasons NOT to hire someone, these tools can be helpful if there are obvious cultural mismatches


When used wisely and appropriately, AI can and will enhance the candidate experience, recruitment process and talent acquisition efforts of your company. The key is working out when to use AI and how to monitor it’s impact on the candidate experience in your recruitment and TA process.

By augmenting the work that humans do in your business with AI technology, you free up your teams to spend more time on high pay off activities.

And when those activities are informed by the “grunt work” that AI can do for you, your teams will be more competitive, potentially more engaged (given they no longer need to focus on repetitive tasks) and will have more time to act on initiatives to improve your company’s recruitment and TA function.

Further Resources and Reading

How “Cobots” Are Transforming Jobs in Every Industry, from Fast Food to Law

How to talk to employees about the future of work

The top social media monitoring tools

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