High-tech Artificial Intelligence balanced with high-touch Human Interaction makes for highly successful recruiting systems.
How many times have you attempted to reach customer service at a cable TV company, make a doctor appointment, or contact someone at their office number and, instead of reaching them, encountered a “decision tree” phone call routing system? Your heart sinks when these rudimentary AI systems, which are intended to replace human receptionists, misdirect you — worse — drop your call entirely after a 10-minute hold. Have you ever tried to get around these systems by pretending you don’t have touch tone service or by short-circuiting the buttons and just hitting 0 for Operator in the hope of reaching a real person?
This might sound counterintuitive coming from a company that’s pioneering the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the contingent labor and professional recruiting arenas, but our leaders at Crowdstaffing agree that Barbara Streisand had it right when she sang, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”
Our groundbreaking AI recruitment platform uses dynamic processes to aid in many elements of sourcing, hiring, and onboarding new staffers. But even while we extoll the value of this technology, we also realize that the human factor is still essential to finding and keeping the very best people for our clients (and for our clients’ customers).
Two of Crowdstaffing’s key executives, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions, Casey Enstrom, and Vice President of Operations, Scott Giroux, offer their insights into the symbiotic relationship between human interaction and artificial intelligence, including how to find the “sweet spot” where both find their highest and best uses. Below is a snippet of our in-depth conversation. To read the full Q&A, download it here.
Enstrom: AI can play an important role in providing efficiencies and improving speed in many areas. In fact, this list can be a bit exhaustive. AI can help in candidate identification, sourcing, initial engagement, nurturing, and shortlisting. From the perspective of a user of staffing services, AI can be leveraged to identify the right type of engagement to undertake based on project scope, then to identify the best suppliers to support specific roles, to identify the strongest candidates within talent pools, or to source internal resources prior to distributing openings to third parties.
AI can also play a valuable role in process improvement. Think job description wizards or competitive/completeness analysis.
Giroux: People relate better to other people than they do to machines (or to the internet in general). It’s all about making the candidate experience as positive as possible. As a recent article in Information Age suggests, people looking for new jobs are in a somewhat vulnerable position. They might be worried about their present employer finding out they want to jump ship, or they could be unemployed and anxious about how their job search success (or lack thereof) will impact their families and finances. When you hear from a concerned and empathetic person, not just a canned response from an automated hiring system, you likely feel better about the company where you’re applying, and that can make a huge difference in your state of mind — not to mention your level of trust that the hiring organization truly cares about your personal well being.
By the way, the same article notes that emotional intelligence, and such traits as compassion, persuasion, kindness, and empathy, are ‘soft skills’ that will see growing importance in hiring interactions. Machine intelligence simply doesn’t possess those qualities — people do.
Enstrom: I would add something to this discussion: Assessing a candidate’s cultural match, motivation, or their ability to answer and ask comprehensive or complex position-related and company-specific questions. In short, human interaction, oversight and intelligence, simply cannot be replaced by technology. Enhanced, yes, but not replaced… at least not today, that is!
Enstrom: The benefit of leveraging AI for mundane, routine, repeated and/or manual tasks will assist greatly in cost reduction. That’s already been proven time and time again. I think the right intersection is based upon the abilities of AI, and where it should or shouldn't be leveraged in your recruitment platform. Crowdstaffing is continually adjusting, adapting, and evolving our dynamic AI platform to address all of these issues and to help our human partners — recruiters, companies, HR departments, and candidates — get more out of our automated systems so they can in turn maximize their own personal contributions to the process.
Giroux: The basic question here is “Why are we using AI at all?” The answer is that technology exists in all its forms for a single purpose: to assist humans in achieving their highest potential. If we continue to hone our AI’s abilities, and we’re able to use its strong points to make our interpersonal interactions even stronger, then we’ve hit the sweet spot and made life better for everyone along the recruiting pipeline.
Our full conversation with Enstrom and Giroux covers potential pitfalls, outlines best practices, and offers advice to anyone involved in recruitment. It points to situations in which AI has fallen short (read about why Amazon had to discontinue using its AI-based hiring platform, and how Google uncovered that its AI-based advertising servers led to possible racial discrimination) as well as important successes including how AI has taken on grunt work, leaving humans to achieve their highest purpose and enhance the candidate experience. It also offers the perspective of two seasoned recruitment professionals who believe that, as powerful as AI can be, it will likely never replace the human factor in hiring.
To read the full Q&A, download it here.