We are sitting on a tech precipice, facing the rising dawn of Web3. One of the primary components of that near-future of tech dominance is AI. But is all AI good AI?

AI is now a fairly convoluted and generalist term that incorporates a huge, fast-growing suite of tech tools, platforms and systems across almost every industry. Not all AI is made equal, and some sectors are, depending on how you look at it, benefiting from more AI integration than others. 

For the vast majority of the unknowing public, AI, machine learning and automation are one, and often do their work in the shadows. This is not to say everyone is in agreement about AI advancements or eschewing human labour for machine labour – the eternal debate still rages as to whether AI is either the great saviour of humanity and a driving force for societal good, or the precursor to Terminator.

So where will AI be in 1, 2 or 5 years, and how does it affect the general public in professional services industries like Recruitment?

Well, it’s hard to say exactly where we’ll be, but AI is slowly but surely integrating itself into hiring funnels, recruitment strategy and recruitment tech.

  • For example, ATS and recruitment CRM platforms are already benefiting from data gathering and organisation via AI (see this piece on AI for Recruiting by Ideal) which clearly improves recruitment services. 
  • But there are plenty of dissenting voices too, with the ethical component of relying on machines to do something humans had and should do being still up for debate (as per this piece, The Benefits And Dangers Of Using AI In Recruitment, in Forbes).

From a diligence and crisis management perspective, the courts are more recently stepping in. On the 1st of October 2022, a bill ran through EU courts that further protects customers, service users and clients from “rogue” AI companies and creators.

“The EU is creating new rules to make it easier to sue AI companies for harm. A bill unveiled this week, which is likely to become law in a couple of years, is part of Europe’s push to prevent AI developers from releasing dangerous systems.

“The new bill, called the AI Liability Directive, will add teeth to the EU’s AI Act, which is set to become EU law around the same time. The AI Act would require extra checks for “high-risk” uses of AI that have the most potential to harm people, including systems for policing, recruitment, or health care.

The new liability bill would give people and companies the right to sue for damages after being harmed by an AI system. The goal is to hold developers, producers, and users of the technologies accountable”.

Naturally, such oversight means backlash is all but guaranteed from tech companies. But, as multiple cases of hard-coded tech recruitment bias has shown, AI is not infallible, and accountability should be fairly borne by the human behind the tech.

For the humble recruitment consultant on the ground, talk of high-level civil lawsuits against AI companies is far removed from the reality of recruiting. But the impact of poorly formed AI is immediate. Workers are discriminated against, entire systems of candidate handling are broken, systems don’t work as they should, and the basic back-and-forth between client, consultant and candidate breaks down. 

So what should recruiters be on the lookout for when it comes to AI and recruitment?

Do not usurp employer branding for tech. 

Most importantly recruiters cannot forget what makes good recruitment – human connection, diligent advocacy, and client support that goes beyond the efficient sorting of resumes to add genuine value, and a visible and tangible employer brand. 

In short, our advice is don’t replace what feels right to a candidate with what looks good when administering to that candidate. As with anything recruitment tech-based, think like a candidate in how you engage and manage your people through their specific recruitment funnel. 

AI is a tool to this end, not the end in and of itself – the more recruiters rely on tech to do their job, the more that very recruitment tech erodes the things that make genuinely effective recruitment services. 

People don’t want to do business with a machine

This is appropriate across all tech that impacts professional services or businesses with a significant user/customer base – people don’t want to do business with machines. 

To lose the human in recruitment is to fail at recruitment. When you’re looking after people’s careers and businesses, tech needs to add value, not reduce the need for a bit of hands-on management. For example, digital onboarding is almost exclusively done via unique ATS platforms, but simply having the tech doesn’t make people feel welcomed or engaged with their new workplace. 

Over-reliance on platforms to do the heavy lifting of creating a genuine connection with a person’s labour results in alienated staff and poor staff morale.

Robots can’t be empathetic.

When the foundation of all good staff management strategies is built around an empathetic connection between leader and talent, tech has to sit within that framework. 

But, again, it’s worth reiterating that an effective ATS doesn’t create employer or recruiter empathy – it simply provides the channels and methods for creating more fruitful, more meaningful relationships between people, peers and leaders. 

The bottom line.

AI will continue to expand into our working lives, even if the breadth of integration will be limited by changes to the law. 

In that fragile gap between recruiter and candidate, AI can be friend or fo – it’s on the consultant at the heart of that relationship to guarantee all use of recruitment tech, including AI, is used for the benefit of those valuable human relationships that underpin good recruitment.

So if you haven’t seen our ATS and recruitment CRM comparison service yet, what are you waiting for? 

Rectec Compare is totally free to use, and you can input your requirements in under 20 minutes to see what ATS or recruitment CRM fits your needs. 

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