The role of AI in recruiting: Top uses, benefits, and concerns

Artificial intelligence has been revolutionizing nearly every industry for years now, and HR is no exception. In particular, more companies are opting to use AI in recruiting, with 45% of organizations already utilizing AI-powered recruitment tools.

That number is even higher among Fortune 500 companies, as 99% are using AI tools, with 65% of them using AI to bolster their recruitment process in particular. It’s pretty easy to see why it’s become so prevalent, as AI recruiting software can streamline the hiring process like nothing else.

AI technology can instantly scan resumes, automate repetitive tasks, generate job descriptions, and so much more.

However, AI in recruiting isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

There’s no shortage of challenges facing widespread AI adoption in recruiting teams, including privacy concerns and the massive amount of data it takes to train AI systems. Yet, one can’t deny how much easier candidate sourcing becomes by using AI tools, which is why so many companies are eagerly adopting it.

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With AI recruiting tools at the helm, it becomes possible for hiring managers to focus on the most critical aspects of talent acquisition, like outbound recruiting and using their soft skills to attract the strongest candidates.

The future holds a lot of promise for using AI-powered tools in recruiting, including getting rid of human bias — which would make true skills-first hiring an actual possibility. Read on to learn more about how you can use AI to improve the recruitment process at your organization.

Understanding AI in recruiting

The use of AI in the hiring process is nothing new, as lots of companies have used applicant tracking systems (ATS) for years now, and many of these platforms contain AI-powered automation. In particular, recruiters use their ATS to scan job applications and resumes to filter the most qualified candidates out from the rest of the pack.

Why do they do this?

It’s due to the sheer number of applications each job listing receives in the current era. According to recent data, most job postings receive an average of 250 applications. That’s a massive number of resumes to review manually, which is why ATS programs have become so popular in recent years.

However, screening resumes is only scratching the surface of what AI can do for the recruiting process. AI chatbots featuring cutting-edge natural language processing became all the rage in 2021, primarily due to the public release of ChatGPT.

Users were blown away by ChatGPT’s advanced language model, which was capable of carrying on natural conversations and answering questions. It could even generate articles, marketing copy, and emails from scratch, which has proved enormously helpful for various industries, including recruiting.

HR professionals can now use chatbots to draft onboarding emails, job descriptions, and responses to candidates. For example, sending a personalized rejection letter to every unqualified candidate is time-consuming and not feasible in most cases.

With generative AI and automation, recruiters can draft a few variations of rejection letters and then have them automatically sent out to every candidate who didn’t receive an interview offer. This is just one simple example of how AI can streamline the recruiting process, and it’s by no means the only one.

Let’s take a look at how AI tools will soon completely transform how hiring managers operate.

How AI is set to revolutionize hiring and onboarding

As more and more companies adopt AI tools into their HR departments, hiring teams will integrate them into their existing workflows. Rather than replacing recruiters, AI has a lot of potential for augmented intelligence, where humans use AI tools to perform their jobs with enhanced capabilities.

HR teams can use AI for:

  • Analyzing large sets of personnel data to aid in hiring decisions

  • Removing human bias from the hiring process

  • Automatically scheduling interviews

  • Categorizing and scoring quality candidates based on specific parameters

  • Using recruiter chatbots to interact with job seekers and answer their questions

  • Determine the best candidates by using AI to analyze videos of their job interviews

As you can see, there are tons of uses for AI in recruiting, and this list will only grow as time goes on. Let’s take a closer look at the top ways AI enhances recruiting and the candidate experience as a whole.

Time-saving automation and generative AI

Administrative tasks account for a large portion of recruiters’ time, but it doesn’t have to be that way with the addition of AI. There are two main ways that artificial intelligence will save recruiters time: automation and generative AI.

First, let’s take a look at the kinds of tasks recruiters can automate using AI tools and ATS programs.

Using AI to source candidates has been around for some time now, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s where you program your ATS to identify the best candidates by screening their resumes in search of the most essential skills and qualifications for the job. This saves you from manually reviewing 250+ applications, which is a huge time saver.

From there, you can narrow things down even further by getting your ATS to score and rank all your qualified candidates. That makes scheduling interviews a breeze, as you can start from the top and work your way down. To save even more time, you can also automate interview scheduling, too.

52% of Talent acquisition specialists say that the hardest part of recruitment is screening candidates from a large talent pool, which is what automation makes much easier.

Besides automation, generative AI (GAI) is another huge timesaver for recruiters. With GAI, recruiters can generate email responses, job descriptions, job qualifications, thank you letters, rejection letters, and more. Instead of spending hours working on these documents, recruiters can put AI writers to work and knock them out within minutes.

By saving all this time with GAI and automation, recruiters will have much more time to focus on more critical tasks like interviewing candidates and making hiring decisions. GAI is also excellent for creating onboarding content, such as new hire checklists, welcome letters, training materials, and employee handbooks.

Using AI to personalize the candidate and recruiting experience

Your hiring process isn’t only a way to acquire top talent, but also a glimpse into what working for your organization is like.

The proof?

When polled, 68% of candidates believe that a company’s hiring and onboarding process accurately reflects how it treats its employees.

As such, you should view recruiting as a way to enhance your reputation amongst job seekers. If you treat the hiring or onboarding process haphazardly, you can expect that word will get out about it.

Sites like Glassdoor and job boards like Indeed are filled with reviews from candidates who had bad experiences at all sorts of organizations, and they receive tons of views online.

With recruiting and employee retention as difficult as it already is, the last thing you need is for your recruiting process to give you a bad name. Luckily, using AI is the perfect way to improve and personalize your candidate experience.

For example, you can use AI programs to treat candidates with dynamic content like job matching that aligns with their experience and qualifications. This is especially useful for rejection letters, as it’s a great way to break the bad news and offer a ray of hope.

The copy could read something like this: “While we went in another direction with the position you applied to, your experience and qualifications were impressive, and we think you’d be a great fit for these other open positions.”

AI-powered programs make it effortless for you to find previous high-quality candidates that you didn’t hire. Most ATS systems automatically store resumes from top candidates in your database, and you can pull them up with just a few clicks. That makes it effortless to fill new job openings, improving your time-to-hire.

Speaking of new hires, AI can provide personalized training materials, opportunities for continued education, and resources for things like mentoring and career advancement.

Improve hiring experience with chatbots

Chatbots powered by the latest language models can do a lot more than generate content; they can also interact with your job seekers directly. Recruiters can utilize chatbots on job application pages to provide support to applicants.

A friendly yet discrete pop-up that says something like, “Want to learn more about the position? Ask me anything about it!” is great for improving the candidate experience without being too intrusive.

These chatbots will save you the hassle of responding to applicants, and they won’t have to scratch their heads trying to figure out how to get in touch with you just to ask a basic question.

Receiving feedback from employers is huge for job seekers, as 58% say they form a negative impression of a company if they don’t hear back after submitting an application. AI-powered chatbots will help you avoid this by interacting with job applicants during the entire process, including informing them of the next steps (such as precisely when they can expect to hear back).

This type of interaction shows that you care about your job candidates, which will help you attract top talent.

A survey by CareerBuilder backs this up, as they discovered that 67% of job seekers form a positive impression of a company whenever they receive frequent updates throughout the application process.

If your hiring team is too busy to provide candidates with real-time updates, then AI chatbots are the next best thing – and will help you improve your candidate experience.

Making better hiring decisions by analyzing candidate interviews

AI is already changing the way some companies approach the interview process.

How’s that?

They’re conducting video interviews that don’t require the presence of human recruiters.

Companies like HireVue and Interviewer.AI provide asynchronous, AI-driven video interview software, and they’re among the latest forms of HR tech taking the market by storm. With a platform like HireVue, hiring managers can use AI to screen potential candidates through video interviews.

It works like this: the hiring manager programs a series of interview questions into the software. From there, the candidates sit in front of their webcam and answer each question to the best of their ability.

While this is happening, the AI is using a combination of algorithms, machine learning, and predictive analytics to determine if the candidate is a good fit.

The AI pays attention not only to their answers but also to things like:

  • The quality of their speech

  • Nonverbal cues that signify confidence or uncertainty

  • Facial expressions

  • Word choice

Once the assessment is complete, the AI will provide detailed feedback on the candidate’s performance.

Hiring managers are finding this software to be extremely useful for narrowing down large talent pools, but it has to be said that the technology isn’t perfect yet. That’s because the AI may unfairly score some candidates if it isn’t able to understand their accents. It may also unfairly score candidates who are neurodivergent or have speech impediments.

Software providers are continuing to enhance and tweak AI video interview capabilities every day, and the technology shows massive potential for improving the recruiting process. For the time being, while AI video interviews can still be enormously effective, you should leave the final decision to a hiring manager.

Skills-first hiring becomes a possibility

One area that has enormous potential for AI in recruiting is using it to get rid of unconscious bias. For example, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that hiring for skills over pedigree is a far more accurate predictor of a candidate’s future success at your company.

Yet, there’s one thing that stops pure skills-first hiring from being possible — and that’s unconscious human bias. As humans, we’re biased toward all sorts of things, and we may not even realize it.

This is also why the halo effect is a problem for recruiters, as it’s common for a hiring manager to get distracted by one positive quality of a candidate (such as physical attractiveness or a specific skill set), which leads them to believe the candidate is more qualified than they actually are.

Whenever the halo effect is in full swing, the thinking goes something like this, “Well, if they’re that attractive, they’ll certainly show up on time and do a great job for us.”

This is illogical, as being attractive has no relation to being punctual or a hard worker. Yet, these types of bias always show up in human recruiting, which is why AI is the best way to get rid of it.

By using AI-powered software to make data-driven decisions about who the best, most qualified candidates are based on their skills, recruiters can make hiring decisions free of bias. While AI can show bias, it’s far easier to discover and correct it, unlike the unconscious bias of a hiring manager.

Top challenges and concerns facing AI in recruiting

Now that you’re familiar with AI’s enormous potential for revolutionizing the hiring process, it’s time to look at the other side of the coin. AI recruiting software is by no means perfect, and there are still some serious concerns surrounding its widespread adoption, so let’s take a look at them.

AI needs a massive amount of data

If you want to use AI to supplement your recruiting tasks, you must understand how much data it takes to program artificial intelligence properly. Modern AI systems use machine learning, natural language processing, and deep learning to understand how to mimic human intelligence.

For recruiting, an AI will need THOUSANDS of resumes for just one position to learn how to hire for it properly.

Some organizations may not have access to the vast volumes of data required to train AI systems on their hiring procedures, which is definitely a cause for concern.

Gaining buy-in from staff

As with any change, there’s bound to be some resistance to it. Before you can adopt AI into your HR teams, you’ll need to gain buy-in from all your HR professionals. This can be easier said than done, as some recruiters may be set in their ways and oppose using AI to make hiring decisions.

In this scenario, you have to act as an ambassador for change, meaning you need to sit down with everyone and clearly explain A) why AI adoption is necessary and B) all the ways that it will benefit them down the line.

Data privacy concerns

Granting AI access to all your sensitive people’s data poses a risk, as you’ll need to take measures to safeguard data like employees’ bank information, credit card numbers, and personal contact information.

If a hacker can carry out a backdoor attack on your AI system, they could easily gain access to all this sensitive information, which would spell disaster for your organization. That’s why it’s pivotal for HR professionals to know how to protect their AI from cyberattacks.

That means implementing the most stringent security protocols for the entire data environment and using rock-solid authentication and access control.

Lastly, all your AI records (documentation of every action it takes) should be properly logged and placed into an audit trail.

Final thoughts: AI in recruiting

Artificial intelligence has already been revolutionizing the hiring process, and that trend is only set to intensify. Using AI-powered tools like chatbots, video interview software, and ATS – recruiters can automate time-consuming tasks, make better hiring decisions, and improve their candidate experience.

While there are undeniable challenges involved with AI, the pros still outweigh the cons, and developers are working hard on making improvements all the time.