Why Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can't replace Real Recruiters who use Emotional Intelligence (EI)

  By Patricia Conlin  |    Monday June 12, 2018

Category: Expert Advice, Productivity


I was absolutely thrilled to be the keynote speaker at the 2018 CSP Recruitment Conference in Palm Springs, California. The conference had many exciting topics for Recruiters including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Emotional Intelligence EI).  As a Certified Emotional Intelligence Trainer, I am passionate about building our emotional “muscles” for more success and also about adopting a “growth mindset” so we can learn about ways to improve efficiency like using AI tools that might help us be more effective.

AI tools have been a growing trend in any recruitment for some time as we all know. But the big question is will it threaten to our existence in the near future? For me, the answer is a confident and resounding-no so you can breathe a sigh of relief. After running a successful recruitment firm for over 25 years, I have been part of the many innovations including even when the internet replaced faxing in resumes, on-line portals for candidate submissions, internal recruiters, off-shore recruiters and automated screening tools all. Many new innovations or changes have promised to eliminate external recruiters. But what I have found consistently over and over again is that hiring managers want to deal with real people, that automated tools make mistakes and that candidates want to interact with a recruiter who understands and empathizes with their own unique job search or career goals.

There are some great reasons to learn more about AI for recruitment below:

 1) Automating Resume Screening

For high-volume jobs, most recruiting teams just don’t have the time to manually screen all the resumes they receive per open role. Automated resume screening saves recruiters’ hours per hire and promises to improve the quality of hire. AI learns the requirements of a job and the qualities of good candidates based on successful and unsuccessful employees previously or currently in the role. Intelligent resume screening can also apply machine learning to enrich resumes by using public data sources (e.g., prior employers, social media profiles) to further analyze candidates’ skills and personality. Similar to blind hiring methods, AI has the potential to eliminate unconscious bias during the resume screening process because it can ignore information about candidates’ race, gender and age.

2) Candidate Engagement

The vast majority of job applicants never hear back after sending off their resumes, and in today’s candidate-driven market, attracting talent by improving the candidate experience represents low hanging fruit. AI “chatbots” save time and help recruiters compete for talent by providing real-time interaction with candidates. Recruiter chatbots use natural language processing to ask and answer questions about the job, learning from their interactions to improve their answers and better assess candidates’ needs and desires.

3) Online Interviews

The convenience and efficiency of online interviews have made them extremely popular. Online interviews are being enhanced by AI through algorithms that analyze candidates’ word choices, speech patterns and even facial expressions to assess his or her emotions and personality traits. Similar to automated resume screening, one of the main limitations of this type of technology is that it requires a lot of candidate data—in this case, recorded candidate interviews—to be able to accurately identify and then categorize words, speech patterns and facial expressions and is still in an infancy stage for development.

However, even with the time-saving aspects of AI for recruitment, recruitment still remains a “people” business. The most successful recruiters in the future, will be the same as the most successful ones in the past and present-those you can forge and maintain excellent client and candidate relationships. Relationships are variable and empathy, intuition, instinct and accurate listening skills are required. Below are a few reasons why I believe that AI will never replace real recruiters completely:

1) AI can’t empathize

Human Recruiters build relationships over a period of time and have empathy with the job hunters and clients. AI can never hope for a candidate to get their best job; cannot express their opinion or expertise to a client about whether to hire a candidate. Humans take time to build trust with their customers and AI will never be able to draw down on these relationships to make a difference to a process or to switch gears based on a hunch or gut feeling. Also, many candidates are clients need to be persuaded to move forward and to do that required trust building that can only take place over time through one on one interactions. Human recruiters can sell a job to the right candidate and AI cannot.

2) AI can’t create excitement or manage emotions

As functional as AI already is and will continue to be, the fact is, what has makes recruiters successful is their passion for their work and desire to do a good job for both clients and candidates. Clients seeking a new staff member and candidates people seeking job changes will go through many emotions such as fear, anger, excitement, reluctance etc. during the course of the job search and our ability to coach them through each stage is key to successful placements.

AI is methodical and based on data inputs which can be subject to error and need constant updates to maintain. However, recruitment is a human being industry and therefore real recruiters will always be involved in the sector. Right now, portals and job boards already cope with matching up a person’s job need and a client’s employment needs but can AI plan an individual’s future career goal purely on data and analytics on its own??? I’m still not looking to quit my day job anytime soon…J

About the author: Patricia Conlin is a successful business owner, recruiter, and coach. A passion for health and leadership development led her into international public speaking and coaching. Conlin is a Certified EI Trainer, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Black Belt Martial Artist. She is the author of ABCs of Food: Boost Your Energy, Confidence, and Success with the Power of Nutrition. Visit Conlin’s website, ABCs Health 2 Success to check out her amazing on-line course or group coaching programs for Recruiters.


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