How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Recruiting Today and in the Future

Technology and the recruiting landscape

Technology has radically altered how employees and businesses work. From manufacturing to medicine, agriculture to arts, industries and organizations worldwide have seen technology reinvent and enhance systems and processes. The recruiting industry is no exception. In the past two decades, technologies such as online job boards, applicant tracking systems (ATS), and professional networking sites have digitized and significantly changed the job application and recruitment process. In theory, these changes should be a boon for recruiting, but in reality, they’re a double-edged sword.

The near-universal availability and ease-of-use of online recruiting tools has led to a huge increase in candidate applications, even to jobs they may not be qualified for, overwhelming recruiters and creating bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the hiring process. The top of the funnel is full and there just aren’t enough hours in the day for recruiters to address and sift through every applicant coming through the door. Statistics help illustrate the problem: A survey by CareerBuilder showed 75 percent of workers submitting applications don’t hear back from employers. These issues are especially striking — and costly — in industries with high-volume, high-turnover, hourly workforces, such as call centres, retail, hospitality and food services.

While a surfeit of applicants is often found in some sectors of the economy, it’s not unusual for recruiters to be challenged with a lack of talent supply in others, especially in markets with low unemployment rates. A new survey by Glassdoor revealed that 76% of hiring decision makers say attracting quality candidates is their number one challenge. These scenarios force recruiters to dedicate resources to attracting people via outbound sourcing efforts. Those efforts are labour-intensive, time-consuming and costly.

Humans and AI working together will lead to a frictionless recruiting environment where the right candidates are connected to the right jobs, at the right time and the right place.

Artificial intelligence (AI) may just be the solution. While it may seem counterintuitive to have technology solve a problem created by technology, AI-based solutions are already successfully being deployed by large staffing agencies and Fortune 500 companies. AI is able to perform the redundant, boilerplate work that bogs down recruiters, giving them back the time they need for value-added responsibilities, such as networking, relationship-building, interviewing qualified candidates and making well-informed hiring decisions.

AI enables recruiters to be more strategic

Recruiters will always play a key role in the recruiting process, but AI can help automate routine tasks to increase recruiter productivity and enhance the candidate experience. For example, AI can be used to match jobs with large candidate databases or reduce scheduling headaches. Sophisticated AI recruiting bots, or assistants, can engage in “conversations” with applicants at critical steps in the hiring process via SMS, chat or email. They can "speak" with candidates to inform them about the specifics of a role, measure level of interest, screen them against the job requirements, and even answer questions about the company or role.

AI recruiting assistants are available 24/7 and can scale to meet even the largest candidate pipelines. They can deliver real-time and instantaneous responses to applicants, provide ongoing reminders, updates, and feedback throughout the process, and create a candidate experience that mirrors a company’s values and brand. Automation and AI can help talent acquisition professionals reduce time-to-interview and time-to-hire by eliminating major bottlenecks throughout the recruiting process.

AI can also be used to source passive candidates. It can ensure candidates are kept warm and profiles in existing applicant databases are kept up-to-date. AI can actively engage with candidates from both internal and external sources at scale, and, through natural conversation, match them to open opportunities. These conversational experiences can drive far greater engagement than impersonal email blasts to a database, allowing companies to finally take advantage of the gold mine of candidates they already have in their ATS. AI assistants can also initiate outreach to candidates across multiple sources as new positions open — eliminating the time recruiters would otherwise spend sorting through databases and chasing down leads.

What human-like skills should AI ideally bring to recruiting?

Not all AI-based recruiting solutions are made alike — many don't have the sophistication needed to manage the conversational nuances that occur in live candidate interactions. Intelligent assistants with robust conversational abilities build trust and confidence with candidates and deliver a seamless user experience. That trust, in turn, helps increase candidate engagement, completion rates and conversion throughout the funnel. Conversely, the wrong solution can result in low engagement and even detract from the candidate experience. So, what should you look for when evaluating conversational AI to support your recruiting efforts?

Sophisticated AI recruiting bots typically employ advanced natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) techniques. These technologies provide many of the skills a bot needs to “speak” like a human and pick up on details in conversations.

In fact, candidates often mistake more robust AI bots for humans. That’s not surprising, given that during a conversation, advanced AI bots can understand context and intent, recognize ideas outside of context, and navigate back to the original topic. These bots have the ability to allow for changing answers and over- or under-specification — instances when respondents provide more or less information than they’re asked for. Intelligent bots can also follow multiple new threads that commonly occur in free-form conversations, and acknowledge that they understand what’s being communicated to help build trust with candidates.

While it may seem counterintuitive to have technology solve a problem created by technology, AI-based solutions are already successfully being deployed.

Advanced bots can learn from their interactions. When AI bots specialize in an industry, such as recruiting, they’re exposed to vast amounts of data that’s specific to the space. With the right technological underpinnings, that exposure allows the bot to more quickly and selectively learn from each interaction, becoming increasingly skilled over time.

Finally, some AI-recruiting bots can support multiple languages across a wide range of geographies and job types. To ensure broad reach with a variety of candidates, bots should engage with applicants in the workspaces they prefer, whether it’s on their phone via text/SMS; via email; through messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger; or even via internal job boards and messaging platforms.

Mya Systems

Studies prove the benefits are real

A case study involving 100,000 candidates for warehouse jobs at a large sports apparel retailer found that Mya, the AI recruiting assistant created by Mya Systems, delivered a 79 percent reduction in time-to-interview, 144 percent increase in recruiter productivity and 2.5 times increase in funnel conversion. Prior to adopting Mya, application wait times averaged 10-14 days and only 37 percent were successfully contacted by recruiters. With Mya, all candidates were engaged instantly following application submittal, resulting in 91 percent screen completion rates, and an overall candidate satisfaction score of 9.8 out of 10.1

How can AI affect the future of the recruiting industry and the job market?

It’s clear that AI can make the recruiting process more efficient by freeing talent acquisition professionals from repetitive tasks and allowing them to concentrate on value-added responsibilities. The technology can also improve the experience for job applicants by responding to applications quickly and knowledgeably, accelerating the recruitment process, and limiting the time they spend between jobs or unemployed.

Using AI to augment the recruiting funnel will allow companies to experience greater efficiencies, spend less time trying to fill open roles and more time developing internal talent. Humans and AI working together will lead to a frictionless recruiting environment where the right candidates are connected to the right jobs, at the right time and the right place.

I am committed to working with the best and brightest minds to continue exploring how artificial intelligence can enhance recruiting. My passion — and ultimate goal — is to build a far more efficient job market powered by AI. We’re well on our way to making that a reality.

1 Study conducted by Mya Systems, the creator of the AI-recruiting bot, Mya.

Eyal Grayevsky, Co-founder & CEO, Mya Systems

Eyal Grayevsky

Co-founder & CEO, Mya Systems

Eyal Grayevsky is the CEO and co-founder of Mya Systems, formerly known as FirstJob. Mya, the company’s AI-recruiter, was launched in July 2016 and quickly became the industry leader in addressing inefficiencies in recruiting and improving the experience for job candidates and recruiters. Mya Systems has been recognized by CB Insight’s AI 100, Bersin by Deloitte's 2017 Disruptions Report, and Kairos Society's K50, among others. Eyal's 12+ years of expertise includes co-managing his family's recruiting agency and founding FirstJob, a job marketplace for early-career talent. He is also a founding partner at DoubleTap Ventures, a community for entrepreneurs to share advice.

LinkedIn | Mya Systems

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