how AI is changing recruitment


Artificial intelligence (AI), refers to computers being able to perform tasks usually carried out by humans to a high standard. It incorporates vocal and visual recognition, decision making, and translating language.

Artificial intelligence has been in the news a great deal, due to fears it will make many jobs obsolete by eliminating the need for humans to perform many day-to-day administrative tasks.

According to the Economist, 47% of all jobs will be automated by 2034. That’s a very significant change over a 16 year period. However, it has also been reported as the biggest commercial opportunity for the economy, predicted to add £232bn to UK GPD by 2030.

However, some people argue that AI won’t eliminate jobs, but instead change the kind of jobs available. AI will remove the need for humans to carry out administrative tasks and allow people in these roles to make an impact elsewhere in the company.

There will also be a much higher demand for highly skilled technical roles. This is particularly true for the fields of big data and machine learning, which are the driving forces behind innovation in artificial intelligence.

How will the recruitment sector be impacted?

Recruiters are flooded with an influx of CVs every day that can’t possibly all be read– something which could be eased or solved by using AI. On the surface, it appears that recruitment is an industry at the top of the list to be automated.

Filtering & targeted searches

Most recruitment agencies are already utilising basic filter methods. These narrow down the list of potential candidates by filtering CVs based on terms in the job spec.

They filter out candidates based on qualifications, skills, and generic experience terms. Although this reduces workload for recruiters, it also leads to many excellent candidates slipping through the net due to missing the arbitrary terms required on their CV and/or application.

Furthermore, AI is targeting jobseekers automatically. Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? You’ve had a conversation online about a new pair of headphones you’ve been eying up. Suddenly, an advert for the exact pair (or similar) appears at the side of the screen. No one is reading your mind, this is the result of AI.

AI is targeting those who have been viewing job advertisements online with relevant job adverts. It also goes as far as targeting those who may not be actively looking but have expressed desire in finding a new job on their social profiles.

Software company Headstart felt many organisations were using systems that were too simplistic and restrictive systems to find candidates. So they developed an app which uses broad questionnaires and psychometric assessments sent to hundreds of employees to create ‘job profiles’. These results are then applied to a series of algorithms to help recruiters find applicants with particular skill sets and personality types.

Another company embracing AI is Alexander Mann Solutions, who are using technology to automate processes such as scheduling interviews and sending out job offers – tedious and time zapping tasks for many recruiters.

Pros of AI

Managing workload

70% of HR Managers believe AI will make recruitment more efficient. Recruiters must manually read through hundreds of CVs every week, which takes a lot of time. Using AI could therefore reduce the time taken in this process by analysing many CVs in a short time space.

AI can also go a lot further by analysing people’s public data and online behaviour (such as social media profiles). This way technology can predict how likely people are to accept a job or not and what roles they might be most interested in.

It can also analyse the profiles of candidates who have moved into roles already. By using all the information available on current employees, it can then search for other available candidates with similar personalities and skills.

Shorten delays in responses

Some jobseekers don’t hear back for many weeks from recruiters. The hiring process is can be very slow at times, which is incredibly frustrating for candidates. With AI shortening the lengthy process of reviewing CVs and scheduling of interviews, the result is a quicker hiring process, and happier candidates.

More inclusive?

A human might make implicit judgements and biases about a candidate, often without realising it. AI cannot remove discriminatory biases entirely as it still has to be programmed to target keywords, but candidates are less likely to be implicitly judged on personal traits and characteristics. Instead they will be judged purely by the word on their CV, during the initial stages of the process at least.

Giving candidates the time they deserve

Recruitment is an industry shrouded in negativity and often given a bad name. This is partly because jobseekers send off hundreds of CVs only to hear nothing back, feeling ignored. In reality, it’s simply not possible for recruiters to assist every candidate who applied the role.

Some roles receive several hundred applications, so there simply isn’t enough time in the day.

Making recruitment more efficient all round will give time back to recruiters to focus on getting to know their candidates better in order to place them suitably.

Cons of AI


Cost can be a pro and a con of using AI in recruitment. It can take over jobs, which eliminates costly staff salaries. However, AI can still be expensive itself. Highly-skilled (and highly paid) specialists are needed to maintain the tech and train other staff members on how to use the software. This can offset the savings made by having fewer members of staff.

Human element?

Recruitment is a very humanistic industry. It requires people to be understanding, empathetic and good at listening. It will be a very long time before technology can reliably emulate such traits. Heavy automation in an industry based on rapport and relationships ultimately removes a vital human element from the industry. As far as life decisions go changing jobs is up there with buying a house or choosing a partner – it’s likely most people wouldn’t feel comfortable turning the entire process over to AI tech.

Job losses

There is some irony in replacing job roles with software in the recruitment industry. If using AI removes people’s jobs, then surely, we will notice a decrease in jobs available across the board? Recruitment is an industry which relies on a healthy job market.

AI will likely have a significant impact on the recruitment sector, as well as the job market generally – somewhat positive, somewhat negative. It may be sooner than we think before we start witnessing the evolution of the sector.

About the author: Ella Patenall writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for graduate jobs in London.