Algorithms – The End of Recruiting as We Know it?

Following the shock US-election result last November, Mark Zuckerberg was under pressure to explain how Facebook would address the issue of fake news on its site. Many people expected that Facebook would have to employ human editors to determine whether an article is fake or not. But not surprisingly, the answer from the tech giant was that they were planning to use better algorithms to weed out the fake news.
While better algorithms might be the answer for Facebook, can they ever be the answer when it comes to what many regard as the quintessential human activity of recruiting?
Here, Paul Wolfe, SVP, Human Resources at global job site Indeed, explains how algorithms are already being used in recruitment and what the future might bring for people working in the industry.

How common is the use of algorithms in recruiting today, and what trends do you see in the area?
 Exceptionally common. For instance, here at Indeed we use algorithms that help companies get the right jobs in front of targeted job seekers. “Algos” are becoming more common and sophisticated in sourcing and recruiting because they’re needed to take this massive amount of data being generated before, during, and after the recruiting process and turned into actionable information. For example, one goal might be to predict whether a person will be right for the job, team, and company.  There are many factors that companies can use to “map” the potential success of candidates, such as education, current and previous employers, and these factors can be weighted differently for different companies, functions, levels, locations, seasonalities, and more.
The ultimate trend is hiring talent acquisition data scientists to develop and analyse the results of these hiring algorithms. It’s an exciting tipping point for our profession.

What do you think this means for recruiters and sourcers? Will it change their roles and how?        

On one hand, these complex algos can actually simplify the way sourcers and recruiters identify and engage with candidates by minimising the impact of implicit biases.  At the same time, the more you automate something, the less human it becomes – and people do notice.
One of my guiding principles in Talent Acquisition is: “Tools don’t recruit, people do.” Ultimately, we’re trying to help people make incredibly important decisions that impact their lives and the people around them. Sourcers and recruiters have the responsibility to listen to the candidate – it’s called “human” resources for a reason
From where I sit at Indeed, being able to distil vast amounts of hiring and performance data into information that we can use to identify and engage people before they become candidates, and to make far better hiring decisions helps not only our internal teams but our customers too. It’s win-win all the way.

Would you say this is having a dramatic impact, or is it more evolutionary?                                                      

Certainly it’s evolutionary – we’ve heard many times that we’re going to be fully automated. However, it never becomes 100 percent automated because human beings want human interaction. Tools, algorithms and automation will unequivocally make things better; they’ll reduce variability and implicit biases but I don’t see these taking over what the sourcer and recruiter do. The evolutionary beauty behind these algorithms and “talent analyses” is that they’ll actually enable sourcers and recruiters to be more human – and this will have such a positive impact on hiring and retention.

Of course, many people hype algorithms as being “the end of recruiting as we know it”. Is this true?

The end of recruiting as we know it has happened a few times! The internet was supposed to be the end of recruiting, sourcing science was supposed to be the end of recruiting. Throughout all of these major “disruptions”, it has always come back to re-humanising the total recruiting experience.
Hiring is very complex, and I do know that algorithms and other automation tools are going to make us better as an industry. But I also know that recruiting is still here, it’s still about people, and it still matters.
Image: Provided by Indeed

This article is sponsored by Indeed.

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