How A.I. Could Have a Huge Impact on Hiring (and Your Résumé)

Many companies use software that scans résumés for keywords, potentially rejecting job candidates long before human recruiters or hiring managers can have a look at their qualifications. This has led to some candidates cramming as many keywords as possible into their résumés, which doesn’t always yield the best outcomes—both for the recruiters and managers, who must personally sort through these “gamed” applications, or the candidates, who often end up waiting longer for a rejection (or acceptance) from an overworked HR office.

As artificial intelligence (A.I.) has come to the fore, more and more recruiters hope this technology can smooth out the application process. Companies such as Unilever are developing algorithms that can sort through résumés with greater efficiency, supplementing the applications with data from social-media sites (and, in Unilever’s case, having candidates play a set of online games in order to test skills).

In a recent survey by LinkedIn, some 58 percent of recruiters and hiring managers said that A.I. could prove helpful in sourcing candidates; another 56 percent said that the technology could help with screening, and 55 percent thought it would assist in nurturing candidates. With that kind of support, it seems a near-certainty that more firms will invest in A.I.-driven recruiting in coming years.

How A.I. Might Change Recruiting

When applied to recruiting, machine learning might reduce instances of candidates attempting to game the system via keyword stuffing and other means. “How do you hack the hiring algorithm to increase the chances you will be hired? My short answer is you don’t. You prove you can do the job first,” said Moe Nazariha, business development lead at Hundred5, a hiring-tools platform.

The rise of A.I. recruiting could also drive candidates to keep their social-media profiles “pruned” for acceptable content, as platforms will grow more sophisticated in the online data they collect and analyze. “[Such software] can also look for people who are doing well in current roles,” said Karyn Mullins, president of MedReps.com, a job board specializing in hiring salespeople for the medical industry.

“We do believe that A.I. is going to slowly take over,” said Sophia Cui, CTO at Jobscan. “Part of our effort is to align what A.I. could potentially do for us.” In her view, A.I. platforms could eventually write job postings, in addition to scanning for the right candidates—which could radically change how recruiters and hiring managers work.

Turning a Buzzword Into a Tool

Jobscan has an in-house A.I. project already under construction, according to Cui. The company could potentially build a capability for inferring the skillset of an applicant, based largely on the known skillsets found in the companies they’ve worked for. Such a system could also assess a candidate’s skills in light of their previous work experience.

“A fully automated hiring pipeline will still need the right set of inputs from a job seeker’s perspective to get them hired,” Cui said. “Matching algorithms will get smarter from a candidate’s perspective, and are no longer based on geo-specific job titles.” That algorithm-driven data-mining will make it more important than ever for candidates to have the “right” résumé and online presence.

“Lie, and you might get caught before you even apply,” Cui added.

MedReps has just begun its effort to apply A.I. to its business model. “The biggest change is that it will make candidates easier to be found.” Mullins said. “Candidates that are a good fit will be much more easily and accurately identified, so the best jobs will come to them.”

What does the rise of recruiting-focused A.I. mean for job candidates? In addition to focusing on crafting a “perfect” application, candidates will also need to refine their online presence as a whole. If you’re a coder, for example, you’ll want to maintain your projects on sites like GitHub, in order to show off your programming acumen. And while this all might seem invasive, there’s also the possibility that a sufficiently sophisticated A.I. will zero in on the right candidates with startling speed.

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