Terrible experiences | In resourcing, AI can be your best friend, or your worst nightmare

In resourcing, AI can be your best friend, or your worst nightmare

It’s a tough market out there for recruiters.

Whilst Totaljobs data states that 29% of businesses increased their hiring in Q4 2023, 30% of businesses said they were concerned about meeting candidate salary expectations, an uncertain economy is making workers tentative to switch jobs and over half (54%) of HR leaders say it has become more difficult to hire for roles in the last two years.

In short, those in charge of hiring are doing more with less, and having to be creative about their strategies to coax talent. It's no surprise then, that artificial intelligence (AI) has found its way into the hiring process.

It’s clear to see why; in a time when businesses are struggling with uncertainty, cutting headcounts and having to maximise budget, AI can help streamline tasks and reduce biases. AI sounds like the perfect solution; however, we need to take a step back and consider its role, especially when it comes to job interviews.

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One big issue with relying solely on AI for interviews is that it lacks the human touch. Sure, AI can crunch numbers and analyse data faster than any human, but it falls short when it comes to understanding the subtleties of human interaction.

Take, for example, a recent case highlighted in The Guardian. A jobseeker named Ty landed an introductory phone interview with a finance and banking company. However, upon prepping for the interview process, they discovered that it wasn’t a hiring manager they were speaking to, but an AI bot.

“The voice sounded similar to Siri,” said Ty. “It was creepy.”

After an awkward interaction in which the AI repeatedly cut Ty off and asked a series of banal questions, the AI concluded with a pre-arranged message and stopped responding.

“After the third or fourth question, the AI just stopped after a short pause and told me that the interview was completed and someone from the team would reach out later.”

This hardly sounds like the engaging back-and-forth conversation that hiring managers will know can lead to a successful placement.

And herein lies the issue. Job interviews aren't just about evaluating candidates; they're also a chance for candidates to get a feel for the company culture and environment. AI simply can't provide that same level of insight and engagement.

While AI is great at assessing technical skills, it often misses the mark on softer qualities like creativity, adaptability and cultural fit. These are essential for long-term success in any role but are harder to quantify. Human recruiters bring that intuitive understanding to the table, which AI struggles to replicate.

Ethical concerns also come into play. Candidates may feel uncomfortable sharing personal information with AI systems, especially if they're unsure how it will be used. Building trust and transparency is crucial in recruitment, and AI's opaque algorithms can undermine that trust, potentially turning off qualified candidates.

It's important to remember that job interviews are a two-way street. Candidates are evaluating potential employers just as much as employers are evaluating them. They're not just looking for a pay check; they're looking for purpose, fulfilment, and alignment with the company's values. Human recruiters excel at conveying these intangibles, which can't be replicated by AI.

In the end, while AI has its benefits, we shouldn't rely on it to conduct job interviews. The human element is irreplaceable in fostering authentic connections and mutual understanding between candidates and employers. As we embrace technology in recruitment, let's not forget the power of human interaction in finding the right fit for both parties.

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