How Artificial Intelligence (AI) in HR Is Changing Hiring

A smiling HR professional takes notes during a job interview.

Not all that long ago, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) felt like some far-off notion that current generations might only tangentially encounter. Today, digital technologies like AI are everywhere, promising to change many aspects of our lives and how we live them. The workplace is certainly not exempt from both the direct and indirect effects of AI.

One question job candidates and human resources professionals have involves the role that AI in HR will play in the screening and hiring process. Although automated tools certainly streamline the process, they are no replacement for a human resources professional with expertise and education.

Companies will continue to adopt advanced tools into their human resources departments, but they will do so to supplement — not replace — the human element.

AI and the Modern Hiring Process

It is probably of little surprise that AI has become an increasingly significant part of the human experience at nearly every turn. Recruiting and job search measures are no exception. A full 55% of companies are investing more toward automated recruiting measures that use AI, according to data from smart candidate interview provider Predictive Hire. This investment is viewed as a way of being able to “do more with less.”

AI in HR has already proven to be beneficial for short-staffed human resources departments. Predictive Hire reports that 56% of people agree that automated tools relieve some administrative burden. Additionally, AI tools can help find higher quality candidates and reduce the overall time it takes to hire, according to Forbes. Considering all that AI can do for recruiters and job seekers, it is clear how invaluable AI is set to become across all industries, including human resources.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Changing the Recruiting Process?

Recruitment has changed significantly since the pre-internet world when jobs were posted in the local newspaper. It’s easier than ever to find job openings and apply to them within minutes. As job seekers navigate the digital marketplace, they should consider how artificial intelligence is changing the recruiting process.

According to data technology news provider Dataconomy, these core improvements include:

  • How HR reps are now able to sort through several resumes at a time using automated tools, saving them countless hours of manual scanning
  • How HR reps are now able to find the right candidates more quickly because AI tools are programmed to hone in on certain keywords and phrases
  • The ability of AI to be programmed to have no opinion on candidates’ gender, race or age, so there’s less chance of personal bias affecting recruiting

Artificial intelligence has not replaced the human element in the recruiting process, but it does allow HR reps to do their jobs much more quickly and efficiently. For qualified job candidates, this means they can expect to hear back sooner. For hiring companies, it means filling vacancies more quickly.

How Is AI Changing Human Resources?

Candidate resumes, applications and cover letters that are submitted through traditional methods have been on the wane for years now. Job candidates are increasingly sending this information to recruiters and job managers via email and website submission centers rather than through the U.S. Postal Service. When people think of applying for jobs, they think of sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed. Not only do these sites use AI to help job seekers find opportunities that appear to fit their experience, they also help hiring companies find candidates who are a close match to the job posting.

A Decrease in the Value of Resumes

Resumes were once the cornerstone of the hiring process, but hiring managers are finding that AI does a far better job of learning essential information about job candidates. AI streamlines the search and decision process for human resource managers by scanning each resume and searching for designated keywords to determine whether the prospective employee has the edge requirements for a given position.

Once a capsule of information, a resume now is merely the transportation device to reach the AI-oriented scanner. The rest is up to machine learning at its finest. If hiring managers had time to sit down and read every resume, the documents would still hold high value. As it is, detailed resumes are a smaller part of the hiring data puzzle.

Less Humanity in Human Resources?

A major concern in implementing AI in HR hiring processes is that the human factor will eventually and ultimately be removed from the process. According to an article by HR platform HiBob, AI will not replace human resources, but rather, enhance it.

AI has the power to efficiently and effectively filter through resumes and applications, so HR professionals can more quickly meet with candidates who most closely align with the company’s objectives. For example, upon a resume or application scan, hiring managers can request specific parcels of information, such as how far away candidates live from the business location and the times they are available for work.

Such nuggets of information can help an employer rule out an unrealistic candidate fairly quickly, since someone living a great distance with limited availability may become a liability to the business, and a burden for the candidate. Better to remove them from consideration and move to someone who better matches the company’s hiring needs.

At the same time, it is also important that the human element remains. If a candidate living far away has educational and job experience truly unique to the position, it is worth a second scan from human eyes to see if that candidate may work out.

Additionally, a human read on resumes and applications can deliver quantifiable benefits. It can help ensure companies hire candidates who are more aligned with the employer’s organizational culture and have a greater chance of more successfully delivering on objectives.

3 Ways to Keep the Hiring Process While Using AI Strategies

Hiring managers and organizational communication leaders continually work on ways to develop and adopt AI in HR without removing the crucial human factor. It is vital to keep in mind that the desire to find and hire the best candidates does not mean it’s all right for hiring managers and C-level executives to forget they are hiring human beings.

Candidates can make value judgments of their own, especially if they feel like they are being judged solely by AI capabilities, rather than by human hiring managers.

Here are just three ways to maintain the human element in HR while streamlining the hiring process with AI.

1. Plan Policies Regarding AI in the Recruiting and Hiring Process

No one needs to let AI simply take over the hiring process. Every organization and its leaders can control the degree to which AI plays a part in hiring. Focusing on factors such as transparency, fairness and accountability are key considerations to keep in mind when beginning to use AI for hiring practices. Developing strong and ethical policies helps everyone understand that AI in HR is just a tool to assist in human processes — and is not a means to replace the human factor.

2. Work to Eliminate Human Biases from AI Systems

Of course, computers themselves do not hold biases, but it is important to remember that humans do the programming and can sometimes instill some elements of bias. When organizations or recruiting firms begin to shop for an AI recruiting platform, it is important to ask what has been done to protect against human bias in the AI product.

Some people — even machine learning programmers — may harbor deep biases, whether they are fully aware of them or not. Providers must take extra precautions against biases when possible, such as insisting on using psychological profiling and predictive analytics. A few common biases that could negatively affect the hiring process involve gender, race, age and socio-economic status, so diligence is invaluable on everyone’s part.

3. Remember That the Human Resources Team Is the Core of Hiring and That AI Is Just an Assistive Tool

It is easy to feel impressed by all that AI can do to simplify various processes in hiring, but remember that it cannot replace a dedicated human resources team. People understand concepts such as integrity, ethics and morality from a human perspective and in ways that AI never will. Empathy is a highly human trait that is important when looking at the finer details of hiring. Additionally, candidates with highly developed interpersonal skills are usually an ideal fit for any work environment; however, only a live human being will be able to pick up on those nuanced traits.

AI in HR is a great tool that can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to finding and sorting through candidates. Ultimately, however, it is real people who need to step in to get to know the person behind the resume.

What Is Next on the Horizon for AI in Recruiting and Hiring?

Technology always continues to advance and evolve, so it is a certainty that more AI refinements are incoming in the hiring process. One of the most important features of AI immediately on the horizon is its ability to make better data-driven decisions.

Here are just a few ways that data-driven recruiting helps improve the quality of each hire and more.

Developing an Improved Overall Hiring Funnel

AI and the data it provides can help hiring managers find issues at various points in the recruiting process. For example, if there are strange fluctuations in the number of completed applications in one hiring round versus a previous one, communication leaders and hiring managers can determine whether there is a problem with the application itself or an issue with the entire hiring process.

Allocating the Budget to the Best Channels to Gain the Most Exposure

The data that AI gathers can be used to find the best channels to attract the best candidates, whether the platform is based on social media advertisements, recruitment platforms or job portals. The data that is aggregated can quickly tell the story, identifying where the most final hires have historically come from, guiding hiring managers to the best channels and thus, the best use of the allocated budget.

Prepare for Implementing AI in HR with an Advanced Communication Degree

The adaptation of AI in HR and other business areas is showing no signs of slowing down, which makes it critical that communications professionals learn everything possible about this continuing wave of emerging technologies. As a future communications leader who is pursuing an online communication degree, it is paramount to your success to understand the role of AI in your career field.

Uniting communication research and theory with practical applications, USC Annenberg’s online masters in Communication Management can prepare professionals to leverage communication principles and practices to address real-world challenges and opportunities. Students can choose from three areas of focus: Marketing Communication, Strategic and Organizational Communication and Market Research and Analytics.

Find out how USC can help you advance your communications or human resources career.


Recommended Readings

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Dataconomy, “AI’s Impact on Recruitment”

Finances Online, “83 Must-Know Resume Statistics: 2022 Data on Length, Cover Letters & Valuable Skills”

Forbes, “Artificial Intelligence In Hiring: A Tool For Recruiters”

Forbes, “Is AI The Answer To Recruiting Effectiveness?”

Healthcare IT News, “How AI Bias Happens – And How to Eliminate It”

HiBob, “Will AI Replace the ‘Human’ in HR?”

Predictive Hire, Automation with Humanity: Putting the Candidate First

Vervoe, “AI In Resume Screening: Expectations vs. Reality”