Virtual assistants on your phone or laptop are powered in no small part by AI. And while reliable usage stats for virtual assistants are hard to come by, it’s remarkable how many people have access to artificially intelligent devices and software.
In January, an Amazon SVP announced that over 100 million devices with Alexa on board have been sold. Apple claim 500 million customers use Siri. And Google Assistant’s on over half a billion devices.
Putting artificial intelligence quite literally in the palm of your hand.
Last year I wrote an article on The Immediate Future of AI in Recruitment in which I hazard some bold guesses as to how recruitment would adapt to AI in the workplace. This year I’m updating it, comparing the market then with the market today, and speculating wildly on what’s next.
2018: There’s AlphaGo, the first AI program to defeat a human in the ancient Chinese game of Go. 40 million people play it worldwide and AlphaGo’s considered to be substantially better than all of them.
Sophia the robot, of Hanson Robotics, cracks jokes on her Twitter account and was the first robot to receive citizenship to any country.
That happened back in October 2017. Or in tech terms, yonks ago.
2019: The House of Lords released a report on AI in the UK, titled Ready, Willing and Able? with five recommendations on an AI ‘code of ethics’. These range from the assertion that AI “should be developed for the common good and benefit of humanity” to “power to hurt, destroy or deceive human beings should never be vested in artificial intelligence”.
Hopefully that’s a point we can all get behind. But testament to the gravity of the situation that it needs to be written down.
Recently, Amazon’s AI recruiting tool was found to have favoured men for jobs:
“Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable. It penalized résumés that included the word “women’s”, as in “women’s chess club captain”. And it downgraded graduates of two all-women’s colleges, according to people familiar with the matter”
The team working on the project were disbanded and Amazon have gingerly begun work on similar projects with a greater focus on diversity. A reminder for a company that built itself on automation that failure to tread carefully with AI has very real consequences.
2018: Textio is a writing platform that analyses the performance of millions of job ads every month and coaches Consultants to write ‘higher performing’ content. HireVue’s video interviewing software uses AI to assess candidate responses and uncover hidden insights into candidate suitability.
Software corporation SAP achieved 500 hires globally, saved an estimated £250,000 in recruitment expenses, and slashed applicant drop out rates from 93% to 25% by funneling recruitment through an algorithm.
Augmenting or streamlining certain processes, rather than outright replacing them is the current state of play.
One trend at the moment is to roll several services into an AI-powered ATS suite. Avrio screens candidates, grades them, matches them to jobs and comes with a chatbot of its own. Ideal shares similar features but positions itself as particularly useful for Consultants that recruit in volume.
2018: AI personal assistants are where we’ll see some of the more usable leaps in innovation.
HiringSolved have RAI, a conversational AI program designed to source ‘on-paper’ candidates for roles; Arya, by Leoforce, fulfils a similar function albeit with a strong emphasis on freeing up focus for more meaningful tasks; and Mya, an AI program from FirstJob, claims to be able to save up to 75% of your time by automating the majority of your admin.
Leaving you free to build relationships and do some actual recruiting.
2019: The Virtual Assistant on your phone is genuinely quite handy at basic admin. Like booking appointments, setting reminders and rattling off quick notes.
Although you might get a few weird looks talking at an invisible digital entity at first. So meet Olivia. “The AI Assistant obsessed with transforming global talent acquisition for companies”. Olivia screens candidates, books interviews and answers technical questions on your behalf.
All things you can do, yes. But the question programs like this ask is do you need to?
Or could you be doing something more useful?
2018: IPSoft’s Amelia AI boasts about replacing most support and front office staff by helping with all manner of administrative tasks and functions. It’s more likely your clients or their MSPs/RPOs will have the budget and incentive to invest in AI tech like this.
We regularly cover the best Rec Tech, much of which runs on AI, in our Productivity Hacks series.
2019: A lot’s been said about how good AI is at improving productivity and enriching our everyday activities. Although I think the ripest space for innovation is in diversity and inclusion.
There’s work to be done to eliminate bias from the recruitment process. Doing so opens up talent pools to candidates from non-traditional or overlooked backgrounds, ensuring that opportunities are there for everyone. And as a result, recruitment markets remain lively and competitive.
If you take advantage of AI to either automate or augment the bland bits of your job, you’ll give yourself the edge on your competitors.
You’ll be able to legitimately say to clients you’re best placed to deliver unbiased, high-quality candidates inside short timeframes, backed up by plenty of analytic data. And you’ll either have more time, insight, or both to focus on the candidate journey and delivering for your clients.
So if you’re thinking of trying out some AI tech for yourself, here are 7 programs that either do free trials or demos of their product. So you can see whether they’re right for you before parting with any cash.
Because that’s the question that has to be answered before splashing out on this kind of tech: is this an investment I can get a return out of?
Senior Consultant - Sales & Marketing at Michael Page Dubai
International Recruitment Consultant at Madison Parker
Principal Recruitment Consultant - HR at Ernest Hunter Green
Recruitment Team Leader (French Speaker) at Montreal Associates