This could probably be the shortest blog ever posted because the answer to the question is ‘yes’. The recruitment industry will be affected by the continuing development of artificial intelligence (AI) because it is set to influence just about every sector of the working world.
As with all technological leaps, AI will have a variable day-to-day impact on working life. Question/response rolls such as online chatbots are already in use, and companies like Amazon see them as a means to offer a more accurate service to the customer. Chatbots are not a million miles from a fully responsive, working, artificial personality that is capable of answering your questions intuitively. At the moment they are restricted to fairly simple routines, but if you look at the average customer service team in a busy online sales department, you will see a lot of the enquiries that come in are actually rather mundane ones. A chatbot can easily handle lost passwords, shipping enquiries and similar and yes, that probably means the loss of a job role. However, there is more to it than this.
The applications for artificial intelligence are almost endless and, putting aside the fears of AI takeovers that science fiction writers are so fond of; they could be a huge benefit. Without a doubt, they will replace the human element in rather a lot of job roles. They are cheap, work 24/7 to a consistent pattern, do not take time off and do what they are told, when they are told. That is a pretty impressive list of desirable traits for a business. Financially they make sense and, as history tells us, that means they will be adopted. There is still some work to do before this happens. Anyone who has ever argued with Alexa can tell you that speech recognition is clearly not there yet. She does consider herself an artificial intelligence though. If you want proof, ask her.
History though tells us something else as well. It tells us that markets and employers adapt to new technologies. Will jobs be handed over to AI? Yes, almost certainly. Will, that mean millions of people unemployed and the death of the recruitment world? Almost certainly not. We have seen leaps in technology from the industrial revolution through the development of the microchip, and they have always come with a free pass for the doomsayers to tell us it is the end of working life. Yet we currently have the lowest unemployment figures for years.
The reason why this never happens is partly tied up in the human ingenuity and the fact that machines, from toasters to smart homes are designed with one goal at the heart of what they do. They are there to make life easier for us, not for them. So, in recruitment AI will almost certainly do the same and offer benefits such as:
· CV sifting
· Initial candidate selection
· Job matching
· Feedback analysis
· Sourcing of opportunities
· Adaptive help with candidate application process
The list could go on. What these things have in common is that they are all the tasks that require repetitive actions, but with a pinch of the ability to work outside the black and white, they require a little intelligence. For the recruiter, on the other hand, they are really a mundane part of the day. Having those tasks taken away will leave the recruiter with more time to do something we all know really builds a business, and that is personal relationships. AI, as with all other developments in technology, is mostly going to focus on taking away ‘functions’ not the ‘human touch’. Job roles will change; some jobs may disappear entirely; some new jobs around the AI industry will be created.
AI will benefit good recruiters and, as long as the industry constantly reinvents itself to match the changing job landscape, then the development of artificial intelligence will have the same impact as all other technological leaps. It will create as many, if not more, opportunities as it takes away.