Generative AI Can Help Recruiters, But Shouldn’t Replace Them

Businessman looking at recruitment website on a laptop computer.

Everyone’s talking about artificial intelligence (AI). Will it help us? Will it hurt us? Will it replace human jobs? Human resource (HR) practitioners are especially curious about the latter and AI’s staffing ramifications for their company and team. Talent acquisition leaders should take advantage of the incredible benefits of AI, while also acknowledging its limitations and challenges.

Recruiters have been using traditional AI and machine learning for years. Applicant tracking systems (ATSs) search resume databases for matches to job descriptions and make recommendations on the most qualified candidates. LinkedIn targets job advertisements to individuals that best align with a posting and pulls candidate profiles like those recruiters have recently engaged. However, those algorithms aren’t always accurate or objective. The results are only as good as their inputs, and we’ve seen how they can perpetuate bias and harm an organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Human intervention and critical thinking are necessary to reduce bias and avoid AI’s pitfalls.

The emergence of generative AI and tools like ChatGPT have brought new possibilities. They can improve speed and quality of hire, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to quickly identify the best matches to their organization’s needs. But they can’t replace the importance of human connection and intuition in the hiring process.

Here are some tips on how to employ generative AI to provide the greatest help and least harm to your hiring process:

When To Use Generative AI

Generative AI is a great tool for drafting job descriptions. No one likes to write them, and most of us aren’t good at it. Leaders say they want to be more data-driven, and generative AI can quickly source data on job postings, resumes, and social media profiles to craft a great starting point. But remember, that’s a ‘starting point.’ Recruiter and hiring manager review is key to ensuring the language is accurate, inclusive, and attractive to your target candidate.

Recruiters can also use generative AI to draft customized messages to candidates, whether through modern ATSs or platforms like LinkedIn. This will save time and improve productivity. LinkedIn says that when you personalize messages to candidates, there’s a 40 percent increase in acceptance rates. They launched AI-assisted messaging through their Recruiter product a few months ago, which crafts messages based on elements of the candidate’s profile, such as experience, skills, and location. But once again, don’t hit send without reviewing what AI has written. Candidates know when recruiters aren’t doing their homework, and getting the outreach wrong is worse than sending something generic.

When To Avoid Generative AI

Some organizations have been using chatbots to conduct initial screening processes for years, and now that ChatGPT can talk, others may be tempted by AI’s interview capabilities. But if you want to hire top talent, you should avoid it. Candidate experience matters, and even though every hiring manager has been a candidate at some point, they often fail to remember that hiring is a two-way street. It’s not just about identifying talent; it’s about providing talent with an experience that matches the effort they’ve put into your process. Candidates are doing hard work to apply to your organization—job searches require a lot of time, effort, and emotional energy—and they expect you to reciprocate.

Candidate experience has taken a hit with the rise of virtual interviews since the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the scheduling benefits of virtual interviews, a recent study showed that 70 percent of Americans prefer in-person interviews. They feel they can better present their candidacy, build rapport, and get a sense of company culture in person. If candidates are underwhelmed with virtual interviews, then they’ll be irritated with AI interviews. AI should not replace the human interaction and exchange of an interview process. Candidates know when you haven’t given them the time or consideration they’ve given you, and they’ll withdraw from your process.

Finally, AI shouldn’t be used to make hiring decisions. Just as human judgment is needed to review AI-generated content, it’s required to make important decisions that affect your organization and your candidates’ lives.

Humanize the Hiring Process

At Georgetown University, we prioritize the ‘human’ in our Master’s in Human Resources Management program. We place particular emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion and embed ethics, responsibility, and sustainability throughout the curriculum.

Bottom line: As you consider AI tools in your hiring process, proceed with caution. Make use of the incredible content-creating benefits of generative AI where it can save your hiring team time, but don’t let it replace human dialogue, critical thinking, and decision-making. Remember that candidates are interviewing you, too, not your AI substitute.

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