The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in recruitment practice

Today’s blog post is written by Tracy Bussoli, one of our fabulous freelancers! Continue reading to find out more about the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the recruitment process… 

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the recruitment process is growing year on year. A 2018 LinkedIn report (registration required) showed that 76 percent of recruiters felt that AI’s impact on recruiting will be somewhat significant in the future.

Knowing how AI is used can help you when applying for roles. This article looks at the use of AI in recruitment and how you can put that knowledge to use in your graduate job search.

Why is AI used?

There are three reported reasons why AI is being increasingly used in recruitment:

  • AI reduces the amount of time that employees need to spend reviewing applications.
  • AI can reduce human bias in the recruitment process.
  • When applied effectively, AI can enhance the applicant’s experience of the recruitment process.
Where is AI used in the recruitment journey?
Helping employers to write effective job adverts

Writing a job description that attracts the perfect candidate is a challenge. Using certain types of language, for example, influences the proportion of men and women applying for roles. Research by a company called Textico found that words such as ‘exhaustive’ and ‘fearless’ are more enticing to men whilst ‘transparent and ‘in touch with’ appeal more to women. Textico is one of several companies that now provides a service offering to enhance the efficacy of job adverts.

Being aware of your own biases can help when looking at job adverts. If you identify as a woman, try to be aware that certain words may detract you from applying. See beyond the wording in the job advert and look at the role and responsibilities in the job description.

CV and cover letter screening

If you upload your CV to a website such as LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster, it will likely be screened by an applicant tracking system (ATS). An applicant tracking system screens applications for a number of features including:

  • Keywords that match the job description
  • An appropriate level of experience for the role
  • Outcome measures and quantifiable results
  • Section headings such as education and work experience
  • Gaps in CVs

Older ATSs, used by some companies, may not be able to filter data if certain formatting is used e.g. tables.

When putting together your CV and LinkedIn profile, remember to use keywords lifted from relevant job descriptions. Ensure that you have quantified the difference that your input made e.g. modifications to the website resulted in a 20% increase in subscriptions. Do not leave any gaps in your CV; explain what you were doing in the employment gap in a concise and positive way. Make sure that you upload a CV as a .doc file or a .pdf file and do not add tables to the CV as these might confuse older ATSs. Job Scan is a useful online service that allows you to check your CV against a job description giving you a percentage match with the role.

Assessment and Interviews

An increasing number of graduate recruiters are using technology to carry out early-stage, online assessments and interviews. Software, provided by companies such as HireVue and Pymetrics, is being used by a range of companies during their graduate recruitment rounds e.g. Unilever, Accenture and IBM all use AI in recruitment. The software uses algorithms to assess how you play certain types of online games and how you respond to interview questions.

For interviews, applicants are asked several pre-recorded questions and their responses are recorded and analysed. AI then screens for different factors which are set by the employer. These can include:

  • Micro expressions such as blinking, smiling, fidgeting and frowning.
  • The kinds of words and phrases that you use
  • Your tone of voice
  • The length of your answers

Together with AI companies, employers can decide on the characteristics, traits, skills and behaviours that make a ‘successful’ graduate recruit. This might be done based on data collated from previous ‘successful’ recruits. These data are then used to select for new graduates. When creating models, certain assumptions are made i.e. that past ‘successful’ candidates have the same characteristic as future ‘successful’ candidates.  This, of course, may not be the case as labour markets quickly change and evolve.

Preparing for online games and interviews may help you feel more at ease, ensuring that you feel comfortable and confident. To ensure that you are well rehearsed for interviews, have a look at InterviewStream and other interview resources offered by King’s Careers and Employability. This will ensure that you ‘blink and fidget’ less and ‘smile’ more……assuming this is a good think and selected for! For AI to work effectively, it is important to be authentic and behave normally. Try not to overthink the process and relax………welcome to the world of robots!!!!!