24th February 2023

Will we need fewer human recruiters because of AI RecTech?


Some recruitment jobs under threat from AI software

Last week we posed the question as to whether an AI robot could conduct a better interview than a human. This was prompted by the significant advances being made with Artificial Intelligence Natural Language Processing (AI NLP) technologies that are used to power the text and speech recognition capabilities of robot interviewing devices.

There can be little doubt that as this filters down into the wide variety of RecTech software products that are used by the recruitment industry, it is going to have some impact. This is simply because the technology is a time saver that brings more efficiency to the process of search and selection. And just like many other industries recruitment is not alone in being impacted by the efficiency gains that often accompany technological advancement. 

Inevitably this means that the skill sets of recruiters may need to change. While not quite decimating the ranks of recruitment, this may mean that there is some impact on numbers. Increasing levels of smart automation, which is in effect what these AI NLP technologies represent, will mean that there will be less need for recruiters to spend time conducting interviews and analysing interview speech and behaviour data. This will free them up to do more of the aspects of the job that AI NLP technologies cannot do. 

Greater productivity may mean that some recruitment businesses may have greater capacity. Some recruiters may be redeployed to specialise in other areas, while others could find they have an expanded remit. But in agencies where there is not enough work to fully occupy everyone, some recruiters or other agency staff may lose out.

Advances in AI NLP-powered interview robots and related RecTech simply mean that recruitment businesses will need to adjust how they resource the core business of search and selection carried out in their front office operations. This is likely to mean a review to determine the optimum mix of recruiter skills and numbers.

Emotional intelligence and bias in the recruitment process

If we take a step back for a moment, there is more than just efficiency to making a case for AI NLP-powered robot interviewing. Through the use of mindful programming and training with source data that has been carefully chosen, the technology is able to remove human bias from the recruitment process.

For companies that prioritise the quality of talent as the key criteria for selecting candidates, this is of course a fundamental selling point, because it overcomes entrenched and institutionalised biases such as those related to race, age, gender, and disability that may undermine the value of hiring decisions.

However, removing humans from the search and selection process not only removes human bias. It also removes human emotional intelligence, something which by definition, AI NLP-powered software cannot replicate. Most would agree that emotional intelligence is a vital part of successful recruiting.

The degree to which emotional intelligence impacts hiring is of course subjective – it’s difficult to define with data, the very quality that makes it impossible to imitate using AI NLP technology. Human bias is of course an emotional response, and therefore it is simply another aspect of emotional intelligence. The question here is where does the positive influence of emotional intelligence cross the line and become the negative influence of recruiter bias?

Automation for your agency back office with ETZ

It’s worth noting that the need to adjust the workforce in line with technological change is nothing new for recruitment agencies. ETZ has been pioneering business process automation of the back office for over two decades now. Labour-intensive tasks such as timesheet processing, expense management and invoicing now have high levels of automation, reducing the need for people to perform tasks manually.

The automation features of ETZ RecTech tools promote efficiency and have paved the way for the emergence of the sophisticated AI NLP search and selection tools that are emerging to power the front side of agency operations. Our timesheet and invoicing solution and expense processing software streamline the back office processing of your recruitment agency. Our complementary solutions, ETZ Comply for onboarding and document management and Caspian for business intelligence give agencies further capability to streamline and uncover opportunities. To find out more call us on 0800 311 2266 or book a demo.



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