A.I. – If you can’t tell, does it matter?

westworldJust last week, CareerXroads hired Amy.  She joined our team to help us stay organized and save us time when scheduling meetings.  In five days, she has scheduled over a dozen meetings with recruiting vendors, venture capitalists, TA leaders and CareerXroads members (and one golf game with my dad.)  In that time, she's had to follow up with me for help with organizing my own calendar just once and she's been caught up in personal conversations with our meeting attendees just a time or two.  She has even received praise from one person stating, "I love your assistant, she's so professional and really worked with my schedule.  Please tell her that I said, thank you."

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Intelligent Retrieval.  A new list of terms to watch for as we move away from our industry's fascination with "Big Data" (can we talk about "Little Data" next, please?) and begin to embrace the idea of allowing systems to remove some of the basic and repetitive duties from the task list that each of us, and our teams, struggle with daily.  While an extreme, and fantastic, example, in the second episode of HBO's Westworld remake, a human guest asks his host if she's real.  Her answer is, "If you can't tell, does it matter?" which should spark all kinds of wonderful debate among HR and talent acquisition leaders as we get closer and closer to this question within our own professional space.

While you've likely made the logical leap that our Amy is an A.I. Assistant (hint: a really advanced and email-based chatbot) you may not have connected the dots to our industry just yet.  But don't worry - there are quite a few out there that have not only connected the dots, but have already started to paint an incredible and vibrant new picture for all of us to consider.

One vendor in particular, Recruiting.ai, was quite popular on this year's HR Tech trade show floor.  CEO Aaron Matos and his team at Recruiting.ai have created, and delivered, Olivia.  Olivia is a personal recruiting assistant that has already managed the application and hiring process for thousands of candidates, many of whom never knew that she wasn't a real person.  She even brags one of the highest application completion rates that we've ever seen at any organization - nearly 97%.  Her secret?  An easy application process via mobile (that includes video, resume uploads and social/professional profile sharing) combined with her 24/7 availability to candidates for questions, assistance and scheduling.

Over the last 6 months, CareerXroads has had at least as many conversations with companies that are already building and testing A.I. solutions that are learning from our behaviors within various recruiting and HR systems and preparing to source similar and/or superior talent for open (or predicted!) requisitions faster than the best of sourcers can type a basic Boolean string.    We're also seeing pop-ups that aren't quite as "smart" but that prove the wave is coming - like candidate.ai, Job Pal (already in use by Uber and Paypal,) FirstJob's Mya and even bots that lobby on behalf of the candidate, like EstherBot.
With smart A.I. solutions building requisitions, searching for talent both outside and inside our companies, predicting what talent will respond the most favorably because of world or corporate events, screening candidates and scheduling them for interviews, it's no wonder some recruiters and sourcers are getting nervous or calling foul.

My advice to those that are struggling with this inevitable evolution is that they consider the opportunity this creates for their own professional careers before they try to throw their favorite pair of wooden shoes in to the machine.

Over the last decade we've seen the sourcing profession evolve in to much more than just lead generation and basic market research but struggle with time and workload issues.  We've heard the term "Talent Advisor" thrown around by countless companies who've tried for years to manage resources that would allow their own recruiters to make the leap.  TA leaders continue to try and crack the code on quickly finding the right talent without breaking their own recruiting budgets or headcount allocations - oftentimes having to borrow or cross-charge internal talent just to make ends meet.  Perhaps the injection of a new and artificial resource is what helps much of this desired change to finally get across the finish line.

Incidentally, visiting the Westworld link provided here will afford you the experience of chatting with Aeden, HBO's own virtual host, much like you might chat with Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri, Android's Google Now or Amazon's Alexa.  (Seeing a trend here, yet?)  Just remember, we told you the response you'll likely get when asking Aeden if he/she/it is real.

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Chris Hoyt
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A 25 year veteran of recruiting and HR, Hoyt is a sought-after speaker with presentations including national conferences with SHRM, LinkedIn, HR Technology and others in the USA as well as iRecruit, Australasian Talent Conference and more abroad. Chris has been promoting and leading full scale and enterprise-wide integrations of social media and mobile marketing within workforce strategies for his entire career. His expertise and passion for interactive/social recruiting, candidate experience, and both national and international recruiting strategies are all areas that Hoyt now leverages as co-owner and Chief Innovation Evangelist at CareerXroads, a Recruiting/Staffing consulting and think tank organization that works with corporate leaders from around the world to break out of traditional recruitment practices and push the envelope in an effort to win the ongoing war for top talent.

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A.I. – If you can’t tell, does it matter?

by Chris Hoyt time to read: 4 min