AI can’t replace the human touch in talent acquisition

Meet Debra. Or Mya. Or maybe Olivia. They’re new to the recruitment business and they want to revolutionise the process, be it by improving the candidate journey, creating trusting relationships, or taking the time to get to know candidates. And - of course - they’re all powered by the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

But while their intentions may be good, according to Korn Ferry’s recent survey most professionals would still trust a flesh-and-blood recruiter more.

In the constant search for new ways to increase productivity and improve the candidate experience, there’s no doubt that AI is great news for HR. AI streamlines the recruiting process by automating high-volume and time-consuming tasks, such as candidate sourcing, screening and communication. In doing so, it can assist in providing a better candidate experience than the experience provided by humans alone.

But there’s a reason these AI tools and chatbots are positioned as assistants. Our research shows the human touch is just as important in the recruitment process as it ever was. And perhaps even more so in the age of AI.

We’re open to AI, but only so far

Our research clearly shows that professionals see the benefits that AI offers recruitment, with almost three-quarters (72%) of people surveyed saying they think AI should be used in the recruitment process. Over half (59%) also felt at least somewhat comfortable dealing with an AI recruiter.

But this level of comfort seems to relate in part to the role that AI plays in the process. Around two-thirds of people felt it would not be fair for an AI recruiter (instead of a human) to judge their resume and determine whether they’re interviewed. Indeed, over half (52%) would prefer to deal with a human after initial contact.

Preserving the human touch

It’s no surprise then, that the overwhelming majority of people (90%) agree that technology cannot replace the human interaction required to recruit effectively.

While people do see the benefits of dealing with AI recruiters - particularly in how they can speed up the recruiting process - it’s clear that no one want to see a completely human-free recruitment process anytime soon.

Our research found that people still value the ability to build personal relationships with their recruiters, citing this as the top benefit in dealing with humans throughout the process. And while chatbots may be able to hold up their end of the conversation over messenger, it’s still not the same as building rapport with another person.

Intelligent use of artificial intelligence

The question then is not whether AI should be used in the recruitment process, but rather how it should be used. And our research shows that people want to see AI tools remain just that: tools.

The most astute use of AI in recruitment will augment the human skillset. We expect to see the best recruiters using these tools to elevate their value within the organisation, while offering a seamless candidate experience.

By automating what can be automated - sourcing, scheduling and routine communication - AI frees talent professionals to focus on what really matters: building relationships and supporting the business strategy with the right people in the right roles.

To see the full results of our survey, view the infographic here.