Artificial Intelligence in human resources: Key innovation trends

Human Resource   |   
Published December 19, 2018   |   

What once started as a far-fetched idea on the pages of sci-fi novels and as a dream in the laboratories of Silicon Valley is now the main talking point in almost every industrial field. From the cutting-edge technology that introduced the virtual assistants now found in every smartphone through to the AI tech used to improve crop yields or the tech that is putting AI at the forefront of the smart cities of the (nearer than you think) future, artificial intelligence promises to make the world a better place.

One of the fields in which AI could trigger a true quantum leap is, believe it or not, HR. In a field that endeavors to extrapolate useful insights from masses of data and then use these insights to attract the best possible talent to a company, AI could prove to be the holy grail of assistance, capable of improving and simplifying almost every phase of the recruitment process. From finding the departments needing extra manpower to monitor employees in real time in order to find outliers at both ends of the specter, AI is capable of creating massive savings both in money and time while simultaneously improving employee monitoring conditions, leading to a happier more satisfied workforce. Here are some examples of how HR fields benefited the most from utilizing AI tech throughout 2018.

Candidate sourcing

This HR field is already dominated by platforms that utilize AI in order to find the best talent available for various companies. In order to consistently recognize the best recruits, talent acquisition officers must analyze tons of data – the company needs to identify weak points inside an organization that could benefit from new manpower – and then successfully match the right recruit with the right organization. Analyzing large chunks of data can be a very laborious task for any individual and these days data analysis is compounded by the addition of candidate sourcing. This can include combing through LinkedIn profiles, in-house and external talent databases and hiring websites in an effort to source active and passive candidates in a literal ocean of data from multiple sources. In other words, candidate sourcing is a huge time sink for HR teams. And this is where AI comes in.

Arya is a smart recruitment platform capable of sourcing talent from internal and external talent pools. It is also capable of predicting whether a specific candidate will actually accept a job offer. Engage Talent offers a huge passive talent pool which is used to source the best potential candidates suitable for certain job openings. Entelo is capable of finding qualified candidates, picking those who are most open to new opportunities (like moving to your company) and then offering your HR officers the option of a more refined manual search in order to find their best fit. The platform can even solve the problem of unconscious bias. A major concern during the sourcing and recruitment processes.

There are many more platforms that provide AI-backed candidate sourcing, meaning that you don’t have to rely on a manual talent search anymore. Just find a platform that suits your company’s needs and let them find the best possible applicants available. These platforms can offer so much; they can screen for candidates in databases, are capable of sifting through suitable candidates’ social network profiles in order to find those that fit your company culture the best and can search for passive applicants. Those applicants that didn’t put themselves on the job market yet are open to change. What’s out there is simply astonishing and available right now!

Resume screening

The resume screening process is a tedious task that doesn’t require complex analytical skills, years of experience in the field of HR or some other unique ability that’s hard to find. All it takes is plenty of time and a simple list of requirements each candidate must fulfill in order to be shortlisted.

This is where AI tech can completely replace the human in the equation. Throughout the screening process, one doesn’t rely on one’s gut feeling in order to perform a complex CV analysis. Basically, a pretty large database of CVs is examined, and candidates are weighed up against the necessary requirements. With time and effort, the database is whittled down.

Why not simply feed this data to an AI and let it do its magic? Ideal is a platform that incorporates AI technology and uses it to screen resumes. It also offers additional benefits such as digging into your internal resume database in order to find past candidates who might fit a new job opening. GoHire is capable of pre-screening candidates by making applicants answer customized pre-screening questions and then sending a short list of applicants to your recruiters.

Recruitment process

Once you find your potential candidates or are done with the process of shortlisting your best candidates, it is time for the main event – The interview. But don’t despair, AI technology can also provide many benefits in this area.

Many notable companies already use AI during the recruitment process, especially for interviewing and testing candidates. These results have been extremely positive. AI can analyze interviews performed by HR representatives and search for hidden clues that could increase, or decrease, someone’s chances of getting hired. And who knows, in the future, AI could perform entire interviews (at the moment AI solutions can only perform preliminary questioning and screening interviews). At present, however, this is frowned upon, many believe it is better for HR managers to perform interviews and for AI to play the role of assistant. We know that humans are prone to error and HR managers are no different, stating that they hire wrong candidates in 30-40% of cases – but let’s be honest it isn’t wise to leave AI solely responsible for recruiting new employees. That human touch is invaluable.

There are also a lot of specialized platforms using AI throughout the recruitment process. For example, Hire Abby streamlines the recruitment process by being a sort of a “first round” interviewer – sifting through shortlisted candidates asking the right questions relating to skills, motivation, and personality traits. It then uses this information to select the best potential candidates, making the HR employee’s life much easier.

Automating administrative tasks

These are perhaps the most arduous undertakings in every HR department. Managing payrolls, analyzing performance review data, tracking workforce coordination and compliance management while also managing vacation requests and onboarding new employees, etc. These are repetitive, low-level tasks that take up time that would be better spent improving efficiency and solving workplace-related problems. Time and resources could then be used to up train employees and in turn improve the workplace for all.

AI is a pretty perfect solution to most tedious administrative tasks. Things like onboarding new employees and managing vacation requests can be completely left for AI systems to handle. Many other administrative tasks can also be left for AI, such as workforce coordination and the process of assigning tasks. Compliance and payroll management require perfect accuracy and zero errors, which AI systems can offer. Compliance management also requires the faultless knowledge of various regulations as well as the analysis of masses of data, all of which can be excruciating for any human HR manager. AI, on the other hand, feels at home when analyzing large chunks of data and is error-free when it comes to data entry tasks related to payroll management. Take Textio for example, a platform that creates effective job listings by analyzing big data related to hiring platforms. It then uses its findings to create job postings through its advanced language algorithms.

Shifting HR focus toward employee growth to enhance efficiency & productivity

HR is there primarily to assist employees, allowing them to grow and become better at what they do. Providing them with the means to develop their skills while creating and maintaining the best work environment possible. But by being forced to work on the menial time-consuming tasks we have mentioned, HR managers must often shift their focus from their primary role and spend more and more time on recruitment and administration processes. It is these menial tasks that AI can flourish at, leaving the HR team to do what they do best – create an environment that will improve employee happiness and allowing them to develop their skills and abilities.

Workday analyses a bunch of workplace variables and finds workers that are prone to leaving a firm, allowing talent officers to focus on these workers and solve the issues that may be encouraging their departure. Ascendify uses AI tech to analyze a workforce, identify talented employees and help companies to retain them by focusing on those workers and motivating them, allowing them to grow as professionals but also as human beings. Everwise provides an AI-backed learning platform capable of using individualized learning programs that can develop talent in companies, improve collaboration and give employees access to the resources needed for them to be more efficient and productive and reach new career highs.

AI personal assistants in the context of HR

We’re living in the age of the AI personal assistant. Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, along with a plethora of other (and less capable) assistants all around us. They can be found in our smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, smartwatches, smart speakers and all other forms of smart devices. But while they are great for individual assistance such as scheduling, reminders, alarms, personalized search and similar tasks they cannot be used by HR departments to provide assistance on a company-wide level. Fortunately, specific HR AI assistants can fill that role.

‘Amy Ingram’ – an AI personal assistant works wonders when it comes to scheduling meetings for executives. Made by, Amy is capable of finding common ground in busy schedules keeping both parties satisfied. This AI assistant is unique because it is capable of writing emails that sound like they were written by a human, making the scheduling process personal, retaining a human touch in the otherwise automatic and often frustrating process of scheduling meetings. Amy is capable of scheduling meetings for two people but can also work wonders and find that perfect time and place for large, company-wide meetings.

Next, we have an AI assistant called Leena AI capable of building HR chatbots that can answer a huge array of potential questions from employees that usually have to be answered by HR managers. Instead of spending time answering vacation queries, scheduling sick leave, managing expenses, or explaining how a company’s health insurance program works, HR managers will be free to maintain a happy, more efficient workforce. Leave Leena to do the rest. She can be integrated with most collaboration apps and is capable of providing clear answers to most of the common questions workers might have.

As you can see AI already has a major role to play in the HR arena and in the future, that role will only grow. Of course, too much automation and extreme reliance on AI does have its pitfalls but when used appropriately AI can do good.