Ask the Expert – Will A.I. Kill Candidate Experience?

Welcome to another instalment of “Ask the Expert” – where experts in recruitment and HR gather to answer your everyday talent acquisition/workforce-related queries. Let us know if you have any questions. Leave them in the comments or email them to us, and you might just see it in the next “Ask the Expert” issue!
Artificial Intelligence and automation are the buzzwords in recruitment right now and many new HR technologies (e.g. chat bots) dabbling in these areas are selling their abilities to help recruiters save time, screen candidates, communicate with them during initial stages of application process, schedule interviews, etc. There seems to less and less a recruiter needs to do.
Could this spell the end of candidate experience? Will AI kill candidate experience? Yes/no why?

René Bolier
Co-Founder & Sales Director for OnRecruit

No. Right now the average candidate experience is definitely not great. Recruiters are too busy with tasks that could be automated such as basic initial screening, scheduling interviews, finding out what things to focus on, managing a huge amount of projects at the same time etc.
Instead, technology could automate these things and better organise their day. This will help the recruiter focus much more on the ‘art’ part of their job – writing better content, having better conversations, spending more time with hiring managers, spending more time with employees etc. This combination of automation/A.I. and more focus on the human touch will lead to a way better candidate experience and thus happier candidates, happier recruiters, happier hiring managers and more organisations being very capable at attracting great talent.

Cathy Riach
National Recruitment & Resourcing Manager at BAE Systems Australia

In the absence of A.I., a recruiter would typically hunt for and review every resume manually that crossed her/his desk for every vacancy they managed. Each step of the way from there would involve manual intervention. So what sort of experience will the candidates get then? Probably a great deal of silence between each step (or at all)!
Automation and A.I. to simplify the sourcing and screening process can only improve the candidate experience by making it more efficient. Chat-bots working around the clock, for example, to answer simple questions on the spot that may take recruiters days or in the worst case, even weeks to answer, is surely an advantage for the candidate.
However, nothing will replace the genuine connection between the recruiter and the candidate but to get to a decision more quickly with the use of A.I.; everyone benefits.  Strike a balance – that’s the key in my view.

Shannon Pritchett
Editor at SourceCon

Artificial Intelligence is unquestionably the top HR buzzword of 2017. It’s coming. But how it will impact candidate experience is still mysterious. It is said that no one better understands a human than another human, but A.I. is certainly becoming close.
Take a look at how Nvidia powered driverless cars, learning through an algorithm it had taught itself by observing a human. I’m all for driverless vehicles. It will not only be safer, but more time-efficient and clean for our environment. But I’m not sure it will entirely create a better experience. I often take an Uber and all of the best (and worst) experiences I’ve had don’t involve getting to my destination on time. They involve the driver. The driver creates the experience, and they work very hard to earn those five stars. I return to Uber, and other services, for the experience, not just efficiency. I’m not sure a robot delivering that experience would be as good.
The use of A.I. and chatbots in recruitment will unquestionably improve aspects like scheduling, interviewing and even sourcing. However, I don’t think it will entirely improve the experience. Most humans, do like to interact with humans, and that will never change.

Ruby Lee
Head of Recruitment at Cogent

I’ve experimented with A.I.-powered chat bots on several recruiting platforms and found them to be extremely useful. With initial contact driven by this technology, candidates are having amazing communication experiences and scheduling ease when it comes to booking interviews as these chat bots work 24/7 to keep them engaged. A.I. also helps with screening resumes during bulk recruitment drive and volume hires, which reduces my workload so my candidates can expect quicker, faster turnaround and an even better application experience. Gone are the days of waiting 3-4 weeks for meaningful feedback. Feedback is now instantaneous and relevant.

Robert Papworth
Group Manager, Talent at MMG Limited

I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer regarding increasing the use of technology in recruitment and selection processes. Any technology decision (including A.I) needs to be weighed against other design considerations (i.e. Servicescape, Hiring Manager Participation Levels and Candidate Engagement). A certain level of it might be efficient and effective in some scenarios but not in others. Video interviewing is a recent example.
At a high level, there are tremendous opportunities for automation and A.I. to improve database interrogation, sourcing intelligence, service delivery management and reporting. However, it should be a considered decision and your industry, company culture, company reputation and HR Delivery model will play a key role so it’s broader than just recruitment.

Hung Lee
Co-Founder & CEO at

A.I. will definitely upgrade candidate communications and, with it, candidate experience. I get a lot of grief for saying this, but I think the skeptics overestimate the value on human-to-human communications. This is especially the case when information is more important than relationship building, especially during the early stages of the job discovery process.
Many prospects require more information before committing to a recruitment process. E.g. what is the salary? Do you need a degree? Can you sponsor a visa? These are all factual job conditions in which an always on, 24/7, inhuman chat bot might well be superior to a hard-to-reach human recruiter. In this respect, A.I. driven chat bots will perform much like interactive FAQ’s, rather than full replicas of human communications. And it’ll work great.

Maarten Roosenburg
Director at SMAART Recruitment

I was recently at an industry lunch when I heard this comment, “Technology (i.e Automation & A.I.) won’t kill your business, it is the consultants who use the technology the best who will kill your business”.
That is so true. The recruitment industry should be embracing these changes in A.I. & Automation because it is going to allow consultants to identify their shortlists faster and more efficiently. Perhaps some of the candidate experience will be lost in the initial stages but by reducing overall screening in these early stages, it means more time can be spent interacting with candidates to determine cultural fit and overall suitability for the role. Not to mention salary package negotiation – that is still something only a human recruiter should do.
It’s for these reasons that I believe A.I. & Automation will enhance the candidate experience because it will allow consultants to focus on the more important elements of the sourcing process – spending time with and talking to candidates.

How can you manage the balance between the use of A.I./automation and ensuring that your hiring process remains “human”? Learn more at the ATC2018.

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