How Human and Artificial Intelligence Can Work Together in Human Resources

We’ve all looked for a job at some point in our lives. We’ve gone to lots of interviews and answered silly questions like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Or “What was the most rewarding professional experience you’ve ever had?

Why Are Those Interview Questions Silly?

Because you know that the employer expects you to give a specific type of answer to a specific question. You’re not supposed to say something like “In five years, I would like to be part of a great company, but in the meantime I’ll have to work for yours.” Or “My most rewarding experience was when I got a big bonus on a contract where the customer had no idea what he was buying.” In other words, during interviews, you are not supposed to be honest, but “appropriate.”

Another thing you are supposed to do is sell yourself—so they say. And that starts with the resume: the better it looks, the more chances you have to be selected. Between two people with the same experience and similar profiles, often the better-looking resume will be selected—yes, the resume, not the person.

The selling-yourself part continues during the interview as well, when you’re supposed to not only give the right answers, but also be enthusiastic, optimistic, and even excited about the potential job opportunity. But let’s face it, many people just need a job—or maybe there’s simply nothing about the job that evokes enthusiasm. How excited can you be about being a clerk? “Oh, I just love filing documents and sending letters and faxes. It has always been my passion!

In my opinion, and in most cases, there is no need for recruiters, HR personnel, or face-to-face interviews—at least not in the first phase of the recruitment process. What can be used successfully is artificial intelligence (AI): people can answer prerecorded questions over the phone or via the Internet. This is what HRMC is offering as part of its Acclaim product. The system is intelligent enough to know what question to ask next, depending on the answer the respondent supplies for the previous questions.

What Are the Advantages of Using Artificial Intelligence?

First, candidates feel more comfortable when doing the interview from home. Second, the machine they talk to does not notice or care about a sarcastic smile caused by any of the questions mentioned above—questions that the candidate has heard a hundred times before.

For the employer, the obvious advantage to an AI system is that it reduces costs. Such a system can be easily deployed and maintained, and the recordings of the interviews can be kept for future use. Finally, it will allow employers to interview people from all over the world without having to ask them to travel.

There are advantages for HR professionals too: less work, greater productivity, and more time to concentrate on other HR-related activities. I have the feeling that they’re not happy asking those questions over and over again and getting different variations of the same answer.

So Why Isn’t This Widely Used?

Frankly, I don’t have an answer for that at the moment. But this reminds me of the movie The Man in the White Suit—if you want to know why, stay tuned for an upcoming post about enterprise software and its surprising collusion with popular culture.

What are your thoughts on this subject? I’ll elaborate on the results of the poll below in an upcoming blog post.

READERS' POLL: AI--Would you use it for HR?

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