9 Intriguing Uses of AI in Recruitment in 2019

AI in Recruitment 2019

The use of AI in recruitment isn’t a trend. Because trends tend to blow over at some point. If you’re old enough to know the Spice Girls (if not, just Google them), you may remember the hilarious platforms shoes they used to wear in the nineties.

Now, that’s what we like to call a trend.

Those shoes popped up, all of a sudden everyone (in Europe) between the age of 10 and 15 seemed to be wearing them, and about 9 months later they had disappeared again.

AI, however, has been around for a long time already. In fact, the very first, basic forms of artificial intelligence were created back in the 1930’s. Sure, applications of the technology in HR have only been around for several years, but AI as such is anything but a temporary phenomenon.

In the recruitment technology landscape, AI has been strengthening its position for a few years now. The recent past already showed us that, in one form or another, AI is becoming a must-have in the recruiter’s toolbox.

AI Impact on Recruiting

Think of the application of artificial intelligence in pre-employment assessments, conversational chatbots, or video interviewing tools for instance.

But 2018 wasn’t all fun and games for AI in recruitment.

A few cases came to light where AI had been used in a suboptimal way hence having an undesired effect. One of the most recent examples is that of an AI used in a recruitment process that turned out to be privileging men over women.

On the upside, innovation in HR and recruitment is still booming and more and more new AI-driven solutions for various problems are emerging.

So, just like last year, we’ve picked out 9 intriguing and inventive uses of AI in recruitment that we believe will be trending in 2019.

  1. Automated Candidate Sourcing
  2. Candidate Rediscovery
  3. Candidate Matching
  4. Hiring Remote Workers
  5. Internal/Employee Referrals
  6. Diversity Hiring
  7. Customized Employee Value Propositions
  8. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  9. Facial Expression Analysis

Before you continue

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1. Automated Candidate Sourcing

Finding talent starts with sourcing potential candidates and building a pipeline. But even if you know where to find those potential candidates (job boards, social media, etc.), this can be quite a challenging – and time-consuming – task.

Developments in AI for recruitment now enable recruiters to automate their sourcing process and extend their reach at the same time; certain solutions are able to analyze more than 300 million social profiles, something that even a small army of human beings wouldn’t be able to do.   

Among other things, and speaking of time-consuming tasks that can be taken over by this kind of solutions, the sourcing automation technology is also able to send personalized messages to candidates in the pipeline to keep them engaged.

Learn more about AI in recruitment in our new podcast
Recruitment On The Go available on SoundCloud and iTunes!

2. Candidate Rediscovery

Let’s stick with the candidate pipeline a little longer. Sometimes, we’ve got so many profiles in our database that certain potentially interesting candidates just end up getting buried.

Especially in today’s job market, where many companies struggle to find top talent, this is a shame – those great candidates may actually be there, right in front of you already!

Rather than spending a lot of time and money on finding ‘fresh meat’ and trying to get them interested in your company, you could get in touch with candidates that already know your business and have shown interest in the past.

Speaking about hidden treasures, right?

Several providers use AI technology to screen your existing candidate pool for strong past candidates that could be a good fit for a new role. Ranking can even include promising profiles that have been forgotten about for months or years.

Ignored Resumes

When you’re looking for talent, take a look into your own talent database. The best candidate for the role is probably there already!

3. Candidate Matching

Another intriguing use of AI in recruitment – still in the sourcing space – can be found in the candidate matching part of the process. Here too, we see a shift towards a customized candidate experience.

We say here ‘too’ since this ‘tailor-made’ element is something we’ve been seeing for a while now across various parts of the HR function. Employee learning and development (L&D) is a good example of this.

L&D programs are becoming more and more customized to the needs of individual employees. Not only in terms of their content, but also in the way that content is delivered to employees (some may prefer a desktop version, others rather use their smartphones, etc.).

Now AI technology is also being used to optimize the prospect experience (if we can call it that), meaning to truly understand what jobs and type of content your prospects are interested in.

What does this mean, you wonder?

That it’s possible to track candidate behavior on your website and then automatically send them customized content and messages based on their interests, for example.

4. Hiring Remote Workers

In today’s job market, companies sometimes don’t have a choice but to hire remote workers. There can be several reasons for this. Perhaps there simply are no suitable candidates available in their area of business.

Or maybe the right candidate wants to be able to work remotely and if you don’t offer them this possibility, they’ll go and work for a competitor who does.

In any case, for most organizations, having remote workers as a (big) part of their workforce is a reality already.

In the US for example, around 5% of all workers in each state work remotely, a number that is likely to grow in the near future.

As you may have expected, hiring remote workers comes with its own challenges.

Especially if the entire recruitment process needs to take place remotely too.

Luckily, there’s a whole array of AI-powered tools recruiters can use to help them hire remote workers.

The use of a pre-employment assessment tool, for example, can be useful to assess a candidate’s personality, skills, and organizational fit.

Once your candidates reach the in-person interview stage but can’t make the interview in person since they are – indeed – based elsewhere, a video interview is a good alternative.

Even more so when that video interview is combined with a hint of AI to help you assess candidates.

Remote Work Growth

…and continues to grow. Hiring remote workers with the help of AI will be more and more important in the near future.

5. Internal/Employee Referrals

In today’s job-seeker driven market, recruiters and hiring managers need to work smart to get that top talent through the door.

One of the ways to do so is, as we mentioned above, releasing the power of the forgotten profiles in your existing talent pool.

Another great way to hire high-quality people is via your existing employees. Referred new hires are often a better (culture) fit, they are more engaged, less likely to leave, and they are more productive.

So it’s no surprise that employee referrals, and employee referral programs, are on the rise.

AI technology is now taking employee referrals to the next level. It helps companies to proactively identify the best passive talent in your workforce’s network and automatically engages the right employee to refer.

6. Diversity Hiring

AI may be a hot topic in recruitment land, but so is diversity hiring. A diverse workforce has a lot of proven advantages for companies:

  • It improves employee happiness, productivity, and retention
  • It improves innovation and creativity
  • It’s positive for your employer brand
  • It increases your workforce’s range of skills, talents & experiences

Diversity was on numerous 2018 trends lists and surely will be among this year’s trends as well.

But the fact that we human beings are biased (even if we try really hard not to be) isn’t always great when it comes to diversity hiring.

Which is why it’s a good thing that there are quite a few providers out there offering AI-driven solutions to help recruiters with their diversity hiring efforts.

This can mean various things, from using an AI-powered chatbot and pre-employment assessments to blind hiring and writing inclusive job adverts.

AI and Discrimination

AI is a tool to help fight bias and discrimination, which will lead to increased diversity at your organization.

How AI & recruitment technology is changing recruiting experience

Find out how tech has helped other companies grow by enhancing both the recruiters’ and candidates’ experience!

7. Customized Employee Value Propositions

Most companies currently have a single Employee Value Proposition (EVP); a unique set of benefits which an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities and experience they bring to a company.

When you think about it, however, this doesn’t really make sense.

After all, every employee is different, so while a specific set of benefits may be perfect for one employee, it may not quite work for another.

Thanks to AI (analyzing personalities, among other things) it could soon be possible for companies to offer an EVP that’s adapted not just to their various candidate personas, but to each and every individual applicant.    

Yet another development of AI that fits right in the customized experience trend we mentioned before.

8. Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Although natural language processing techniques have been used by HR for several decades, there is still a lot more that can be done with it.

The most well-known and straightforward example of natural language processing (put simply: text analysis) in recruitment is probably the use of Boolean keyword searches to identify good resumes.

In their article for our friends over at AIHR, Raja Sengupta and Soumyasanto Sen explain how NLP can revolutionize human resources – and present a business case for natural language processing in the hiring process.

Among other things, NLP can help on resume classification, ranking, deep extraction, identification and semi-automation in the recruitment process.  

Both Sengupta and Sen believe that HR and recruitment are a prime candidate for the adoption of NLP-based technologies and that we’ll increasingly see applications of it in HR.

9. Facial Expression Analysis

We already briefly mentioned the combination of video and AI above when talking about hiring remote workers.

But video interviews are a great tool to use for non-remote candidates too.

Because even if the candidate lives more or less close to your company’s offices, a video interview can save both them and you a lot of time. And yet, it still allows you to get a feel for someone’s energy, the way they present themselves, etc., as well as an option to review the interview multiple times.

And if you add a bit of AI to the mix, things can get even better.

The technology is able to analyze a candidate’s facial expressions during the video interview, hence capturing their mood, and assess their personality traits.

Sure, not everyone is a big fan of this AI-infused facial recognition technology as part of the recruitment process. Some say that people who know that their facial expressions are analyzed may be tempted to show self-consciousness, for example.

Job Interview Meme

AI video interviews are still a bit of a shaky ground. Can the technology reliably analyze every face and form of expression? (Image source)

However, so far, companies who use the AI video interviewing technology seem to be very pleased with it. Some of them even claim it has increased their ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.

On a final note

Well, there you have it, 9 intriguing uses of AI in recruitment we believe you’ll see (a lot more of) in 2019. Just like last year, applications of artificial intelligence will become even more widespread in the recruitment technology landscape.

So, if you haven’t done so yet, this brand new year might be a good time to start looking into the various different AI options that could help you optimize (parts of) your recruitment process.

Because whether we like it or not – and despite some unfortunate cases where AI had an undesired effect – the AI train continues to run at full speed and it doesn’t wait for anyone.

That’s why it is crucial for you to stay on top of the developments in AI for recruitment by subscribing to HR and recruitment newsletters and listening to podcasts. Consider taking part in online courses on artificial intelligence to get a better understanding of the basics of the technology and how it can assist you in making better hires.

And, before you decide to invest in any kind of (AI-driven) recruiting software, here are 10 considerations to take into account.  

How AI & recruitment technology is changing recruiting experience

Find out how tech has helped other companies grow by enhancing both the recruiters’ and candidates’ experience!



Neelie Verlinden is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Digital HR Tech. She’s an experienced digital HR & HR Tech writer, speaker, and entrepreneur with an international background. She has written countless articles on all things HR technology.
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