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AI is a tool to assist, but don’t underestimate the power of empathy

William Jones - COMATCH

The drive to accelerate hiring and streamline CV filtering by using technology should not undermine the value of empathetic face to face interviews in the New Year.

“We are living in highly turbulent times with record low job vacancies and, lately, a large number of tech layoffs. HR and recruitment specialists are under pressure to identify the best talent for clients at breakneck speed, and technology in the form of AI and machine learning seems to offer an answer,” he said. “But tools powered by AI should be considered only as a means of assistance. If they are used as a substitute to carry out interviews, for example, this is off-putting for the candidate, who misses the opportunity to make a connection not only with the interviewer, but with the company too.”

Jones believes that HR teams, recruitment companies and consultant marketplaces are in danger of relying too heavily on AI tools such as applicant tracking systems to automate application processes and chatbots and CV scrapers to identify candidates and improve diversity. In 2023 he predicts that in order to manage the demands of the market, teams will become so dependent on these technologies that they will miss opportunities to place outstanding talent.

His comments come on the back of research announced in October by the University of Cambridge which found that using AI may increase uniformity rather than diversity in the workforce.

“If you look at how homogenised a significant proportion of job descriptions have become, you can understand that a restrictive AI system can create a one-sided culture. Overlay this with a non-inclusive/non-diverse culture and it is clear this impact is compounded by the well-intentioned HR teams and managers looking for people who will “fit” well with the company culture,” Jones said.

Will Jones has also warned against using AI to conduct interviews, believing that the technology has not yet reached the point where it can elicit a positive and accurate response from a candidate.

“Regardless of how much programming has gone into the AI tool, it will not replicate a human interviewer. What does it say about an organisation is that it can’t spare a member of staff to meet with an applicant or consultant who could be very valuable to them, even if it’s over video” he said.

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