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Can Artificial Intelligence Help Stupid Recruiters?

By May 4, 2017No Comments

Yesterday was 4th May, but if you’re a Star Wars fan then it was in fact May the 4th.  As in May the 4th (be with you) etc.  Laughter abounds.  It did, however, also help provide the inspiration for the topic of the latest Wellington Recruitment Meet Up which tipped a wink at the Star Wars geekery by exploring the subject of Humans v Robots in Recruitment.

Staged as a debate between Chiel van Asch in the humans corner and Chris Long in the robots corner, it’s fair to say it didn’t quite pan out as I had expected.  I was previously a little bit on the fence about the whole machine learning and artificial intelligence thing anyway.  As a topic I find it fascinating, and as an application it excites me, but I have always been sceptical about how it can ever be effectively applied to recruitment.

I had expected last night’s event to educate and convince me more that AI has a future in our industry but in fact my scepticism has hardened into a firmer resolve the other way.  Chiel’s unique style of delivery (like a moribund Eminem but that doesn’t do him justice, you had to be there) was strangely persuasive.  Although his presentation contained scant researched facts or statistical evidence (much like this blog), that actually helped get his point across.  You see, the thing is, recruitment is an industry based around humans.  And as Chiel amply demonstrated us humans are ridiculous.  AI is predicated upon logic and binary code.  It also is what is says on the tin.  However, luckily for us in recruitment, intelligence has very little place in what we do.

All these VC backed snazzy HR software companies are barking up the wrong tree.  You can’t replace recruiters with AI when recruiters have such little reliance on intelligence in the first place.  It’s emotion, influence and persuasion that needs to be replaced.  The ability to respond to illogical actions with preposterous solutions.  And AI is a million miles away from being able to do that.


For the record, Chris Long’s argument presentation was backed up by a mind-boggling litany of the latest and greatest sexy recruitment and HR software.  I’ve not had the time to research any yet and at first glance they all look and sound similar, but here they are if you want to rifle through and see if you can find one that fits:

Glider – Get candidates with verified skills from your sources or ours – engaged and ready to start

MyaYour team’s AI recruiter

Beamerytreat candidates like customers

Aryaget the candidates you want today – with the world’s first AI recruiting platform

Xorrecruitment assistant for companies

MosaicTrackculture and skill sourcing

TextRecruitintelligent text messaging for employers

Msg.aiartificial intelligence platform for conversational commerce

HR Onboardbetter workplaces for everyone

Predictive Hire – Accurate candidate performance predictions powered by artificial intelligence

Fair play to Chris who made his way over here from Sydney to fight his corner and save many of you lots of time in wading through literally hundreds of these things.  If that’s your kind of thing.  If not then I suggest you get back to picking up the phone and work out the next ridiculous response to your illogical and unpredictable candidate or client.

You’re a recruiter, you’re wired that way, and for the forseeable future I think you have little to fear.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.