This just in. A robot could be conducting your next interview.

Well, honestly, that’s pretty unlikely. But it’s a situation that could be on the cards in the not-so-distant future. Recruitment Grapevine recently reported that Swedish recruiter TNG is testing out Tengai – a robot that uses AI to conduct equality-focused interviews.

In fact, in an age where technology can do more than ever, AI has crept its way into almost every facet of the recruitment process. With a plethora of benefits, such as reducing conscious and unconscious bias (if done correctly!), improving the candidate experience and allowing us humans to concentrate on more value-added tasks, it’s little wonder that’s the case.

And yet, with automation fast becoming the norm, there are some natural concerns surfacing among the masses too. Will robots be able to do our jobs better than we can? Will the human recruiter soon become obsolete?

Who needs humans anyway?

Apparently, we do. We really, really do. Here at Blue Octopus, we’re firm believers that the human element of recruitment is still as important as ever – if not more so. And we’re not alone.

Surveying more than 800 people, Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Trends research found that talent leaders still see a lot of value in human interactions – and that’s because a personal touch keeps candidates engaged throughout the process. With the UK employment rate at its highest level since WW2, it’s no secret that we’re operating in a candidate’s market right now. It’s therefore imperative we do everything we can to reassure the best candidates that joining us is the right decision to make, which is something AI just can’t do.

AI also isn’t an exact science, despite how far it’s come. You might recall that Google had to decommission a robot similar to Tengai when evidence showed it was favouring male candidates over females – the exact issue it was designed to whittle out! AI reflects the biases of creators and training data and, while the company responsible for Tengai is certain it can overcome this problem through diverse testing, it’s clear there’s still a need for humans to oversee the process.

Even aside from all of this, there are some things a robot simply can’t do. As AI deals with data, it’s tough for it to identify soft skills, determine personality or predict how someone might react in a certain situation. Depending on the role you’re hiring for, those can be incredibly important factors in making a decision. Clearly, AI can’t operate alone in these cases.

It’s time to strike a balance

Ready for tech or not, 65% of employers believe the candidate experience will improve as technology advances, giving recruiters more time to do value-added activities. And we’re inclined to agree.

Recruitment needs the human touch. After all, we’re dealing with people – and people like people! The possibilities that tech can offer employers and recruiters alike are manifold, but the key to success will be determining at what point in the process AI will work best – and at what point there’s a need for human intervention.

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