Wednesday, February 14, 2024

AI changes work and will change who, why and how we recruit

Recruitment is messy. I’ve recruited a lot of people myself from cleaners to C-suite. It has always been a messy business of uninformative ads, dodgy recruitment agencies, odd resumes and even odder interviews. I don’t think I was half bad to be honest, as many of the people I recruited went on to be CEOs of companies they started themselves. I didn’t care about aligning their values with the company, or checking their personality traits with Myers-Briggs BS. I wanted smart, driven people and got them. Not easy to manage but that’s the point, I wanted them to manage!

Anyway, I find myself giving a keynote at a recruitment conference in Oslo. The young people organising it are excellent, very thorough, checking my slides, making useful comments. They didn’t mind me challenging the audience.

After explaining that we Scots are closer to Norwegians that they think, my mother never called us children, always ‘bairns’, to this day the Scottish working class and Scandinavian word for children is ‘barn’. We got the Norwegian Vikings, the English the Swedish Vikings. There’s a difference I joked. At another Keynote in Stockholm last year I heard a speaker make a joke about the Norwegians. I assume there’s some English/Irish thing going on here. How many Norwegians does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: One, he puts it in and the world revolves around him!’ Not bad. I'm sure thee Norwegians tell the same joke about the Swedes!

After doing my bit on AI, stating that, as AI will radically change the nature of ‘work’ it is inevitable that it will change who, why and how we recruit.

In a recent survey by JobSwipe, large numbers admit to using AI to find new jobs:

18 – 24: 47.9% 

25-34: 34.5% 

Women 25.8%

Men 20.6%

And 60.8% don’t see using AI as cheating. They understand that AI makes finding a job more efficient and enhances your opportunities and chances of getting a job. In a famous TikTok one young man aced his interview with Lockheed for a senior rocket scientist job using live transcription of the questions plus ChatGPT for the answers. He crushed interviews and was hired with zero knowledge. Young people are researching your organisation & sector, creating CVs, creating answers to likely questions and creating questions to ask you and writing emails.

They also understand that certain types of roles and jobs are under threat.

49% see writing tasks at threat 

47% customer services

33% coding

That is reflected in the fact that 29% feel they have not done enough to develop their skills to keep up with the changes being made in the workplace.

HirePro in a blind survey found that 30-50% of people cheat at entry-level job assessments

Candidates ahead of game here. So here are my ten recommendations:

1. Up your game

You need to get to grips with this AI stuff, as well as think about technology solutions, such as a secure browser, using proctoring to detect cheating, even a physical proctor monitors candidates' movements when they're taking the assessments online.

2. Use AI tools to search through databases & online profiles

This widens your pool of candidates, many who may not have applied for position directly. You can more accurately match and go some way towards eliminating human bias in process (gender, race, socioeconomic).

3. AI can GENERATE recruitment materials

From Job ads to Job descriptions, Personal requirements, Skills lists,Formal assessments

and emails to failed and successful candidates, Generative AI will increase your efficiency, productivity and quality of recruitment.

4. AI can ANALYSE recruitment data

Scanning and analysing CVs and application essays to spot gaps, strengths &weaknesses, patterns of employment, even possible misinformation. This is not easy and need objectivity. One can even learn from past recruitment cycles to predict the success of candidates and improve hiring decisions.

5. AI tools can assess candidates 

It can assess during interviews, looking at speech patterns, word/vocabulary choice, facial expressions. This can include the transcript for text analysis and sentiment analysis.

6. Far from introducing biases, AI tools can help reduce human biases

What is bias? The benchmark here is our brain, which, as Daniel Kahneman showed is full of innate biases and they are largely uneducable. There are different meanings of ‘bias’ and we tend to forget that statistics IS identification of bias, so in AI bias can be identified and reduced. It gives us more focus on data and metrics.

7. AI can provide timely updates & feedback

Generative AI improves their experience and engagement with company through quick responses, consistent communications, positive messaging and personalised feedback.

8. AI-driven assessments

Create assessments with MCQs, open input with analysis, scenarios, all with AI generated rubrics and marking. You can go further Evaluate candidates' skills and aptitudes. Tools now generate learning in any subject, at any level. You can build these resources in minutes not months.

9. AI can provide onboarding

You can have a Chatbot (before & after joining), generate training content and assessments for compliance and gather data from onboarding for improvement.

10. AI can maintain engagement with candidates

Keep in touch with past & potential future candidates to build a talent pool for future openings. More importantly, improve communications with all applicants, successful or not.


What do these people have in common?

They were the President of Hungary, President of Harvard University, Minister for Higher Education (Norway) and Minister for Education (Brazil) and all lost their jobs through plagiarism. A nuclear bomb is waiting to go off in recruitment. If academics insist on accusing students of cheating if they use use ChatGPT, they in turn should be subjected to the same standards. All it takes is someone to go back to that Master’s thesis, paper, article or book. This could wreak havoc in recruitment and employment

You may be doing a lot of this already but the point is to do it faster and better. AI changes the very nature of work, it will, therefore change who, why and how we recruit. This mean upskilling now to at least be aware of these AI tools, then use them yourself. Resistance is futile!


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