How AI could affect your next job search
For the past 20 years Simon Valentine has worked in recruitment. He’s seen a lot of changes, most of them brought about by technology. During his career he has developed a real interest in how machine learning can match the right person to the role. He talks to Kea about the evolution in the recruitment space and what job seekers need to know.
During his career Simon has worked for a number of big global organisations who typically recruit in high volumes allowing him to work with automation and machine learning tools from their early inception.
“A few years ago I worked for a company which used virtual video interviewing as part of fully automated recruitment process. The candidate wouldn’t speak to a human until they spoke to a hiring manager. They would ask and answer questions in a video interview format and then those videos were sent to the hiring manager for review and then we only ended up interviewing three to five high quality candidates as opposed to interviewing 12 to 20 in order to get to that number. During the last six months, things have really accelerated and the ability to use machine learning and now true AI is very much a part of the process.”
Despite what some may think Simon says AI isn’t removing the personal aspect of hiring for a role, rather it just takes out some of the more manual early work such as sorting through CVs from people who may not have the right skills and also allowing businesses to be able to go out and look for suitable candidates proactively.
“To search for people manually is a big task, you have to interpret whether that person has the skills or diversity you are looking for and that’s up to the individual so they miss a lot for a start. Which means you can’t get as many people or the right people, whereas AI helps you get there a lot quicker, it’s not so much about filtering the candidates that apply for a role but about going out proactively to the market and finding the right person. If you have a human doing this there is a bigger margin of error as you have to approach a bunch of people and some of them will not be right for the role so you are then potentially getting their hopes up and wasting their time.”
For candidates looking for a role, keeping your social profiles updated with the latest information so that you can be flagged for possible new roles is important. If you are proactively applying for a role, Simon says the way AI will read your CV is quite different to past techniques.
“You don’t have to provide the same structural data that you once might have. The inferences that can be made now by AI are quite remarkable. For example AI could look at the company you used to work for and figure out from information available online that between the years of 2003 and 2005, that particular company had a major transformation taking place. So if you had a candidate who was a transformation leader at that company during that time they are probably going to have some really exceptional skills, more so than someone who has perhaps been doing that role for a company during a much more stable period.”
Simon says AI will also help cross check your work history against internet data, such as people endorsing you on sites like LinkedIn, which could be helpful to employers in an age when giving references is becoming less and less popular.
“What we are seeing more and more is that a lot of organisations don’t want to provide references. In some countries, if you provide a reference in any way, shape or form as a manager, you can be personally liable for the feedback that you’ve given on that reference, even if it might be positive. If that individual doesn’t get the job and they request all the information that was gathered together as part of the application process, and you’ve said something that the person could perceive as the reason they didn’t get the job, then you can be held accountable. Hence a lot of employers will only give the bare minimum such as dates and job titles now.”
Unlike when Simon started in the recruitment industry, technology advances in recruitment are no longer just for big businesses, with many smaller companies adopting the tools to save their staff time and money. Simon says these changes will allow job seekers to be better matched to specific roles but also offer them options to put themselves on the radar of companies they aspire to work for.
“In the future I think we will see a much better candidate experience when applying for roles. Job seekers will be able to complete screening which will lead to recommendations of the types of jobs organisations might have available and if there are none, they will then be offered programs or qualifications they might like to do to be considered in the future. AI is going to really change the way we match people and businesses and that will be a really positive thing.”