Staffing firm Robert Half (which operates numerous offices across Los Angeles, including Burbank, Irvine, Long Beach and Pasadena), parses through thousands of job applications a week.
Thomas Vick, regional director of technology for the company, said Robert Half has a database of over 30 million active job seekers, which is why lately it’s been using AI to sift through them all. Vick is one of many directors eager to explore AI’s capacity to streamline hiring as the technology becomes more mainstream.
Many companies in HR are eager to try out the hottest new tech, said Kaitlyn Knopp, CEO of Pequity, a compensation software company based in San Francisco.
“We’re hearing a ton of fellow companies in the human resources space trying to figure out how [to] leverage AI,” Knopp said. She added, “no one wants to be left behind right now, they want to be the ones that are at the cutting edge.”
Knopp said that she advises companies who contract Pequity for advice on compensation or benefits for employees to thoroughly vet the AI’s algorithm before they use it. If businesses do incorporate AI into conversations about compensation or hiring, Knopp added, they must be sure the AI is trained to not be biased, adding, “how do we measure that by using AI, we’re not accidentally driving bad outcomes for people?”
But using artificial intelligence for recruiting does have its pitfalls. Job seekers, especially in technology, should be aware that not every AI chatbot is actually offering a job. Recently, a friend of mine thought they had secured an offer for employment after an interview with an AI chatbot, and then found out it was actually a scammer impersonating the startup to try and force would-be employees to deposit bad checks.
To that end, Vick gave this advice: “Sometimes if it’s too good to be true, it might not actually be true.” He also recommended not taking a job without an in-person interview, even if the company in question is tech-focused or remotely operating.
Vick further noted, however, that Robert Half is working to figure out best practices for implementing AI into its recruiting. “Creating efficiencies within our system to be able to quickly identify the top candidates is imperative. It’s what really differentiates us,” Vick said.
Currently, Robert Half is only using AI on the back end to inform recruiters about which candidates to reach out to in-person. It evaluates and ranks candidates internally, Vick said.
Robert Half’s AI in part is able to quickly find job seekers that have “the greatest ability to succeed” based on their skills and experience plus recruiter interactions and performance evaluations, the staffing firm said. Its AI will also include comparisons to top-performing workers in other similar roles, with the overall goal of creating a real-time shortlist of people worth hiring, Robert Half said – though the company wouldn’t disclose how exactly the AI is prompted to make its internal rankings.
But any further evaluation is done by a human recruiter. “There is no substitute for talking to somebody to see their way of thinking when it comes to problem solving,” Vick added.
Both Vick and Knopp agreed that while AI does have the potential to accelerate the job search process, it isn’t ready to be fully deployed in place of a human HR manager.. “I’m excited to see what people do with [AI in recruitment],” Knopp said, but added, “a shovel can plant a garden or dig a grave, and that’s the same thing with AI… we’ll see how it gets deployed.”
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