AI Can ‘Make Recruiting Human Again’

SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck talks about the exciting potential for artificial intelligence

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer March 28, 2018
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SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck.

​SAN FRANCISCO—The applications for artificial intelligence (AI) in recruiting are advancing rapidly, automating functions like candidate screening and eliminating tasks so recruiters can spend more time building relationships.

San Francisco-based SmartRecruiters—one of the leading next-generation talent acquisition systems—just launched a new recruiting-assistant module that learns, adjusts and improves the more it's used. The technology screens resumes, a company's candidate database and internal employee profiles, and then scores and selects the best matches for open positions.

SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck spoke with SHRM Online at the company's Hiring Success 18 conference for talent acquisition professionals about employers' adoption of AI and how the technology can improve the hiring process.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

SHRM Online: A recent study reported that only 1 percent of the Fortune 500 are currently using AI tools for recruiting. Why is adoption so thin?

Ternynck: I believe AI is much more widely used than people think. The reason is that AI is a capability for business applications and not a separate software that people buy. The question really is, is your recruiting-technology software intelligent? For example, job-advertising optimization tools predict which jobs board you should post your jobs to and how many candidates you will receive. It is based on machine learning, but it's not the AI that is the product. Companies will not buy AI, just like they don't buy mobile. Like AI, mobile is not a software, it's a capability.

SHRM Online: What are the areas where AI can help alleviate pain points for recruiters in the hiring process?

Ternynck: AI tools can save recruiters time by screening resumes and searching through databases, and automatically marketing jobs to qualified candidates. This allows recruiters to spend more time with selected candidates. The tools provide efficiency gains, reduce sourcing costs, accelerate internal hires and reduce screening bias. 

The capabilities and learning are constantly accelerating. AI allows us to learn from what recruiters and candidates do. Literally every day, tens of thousands of recruiters and millions of candidates give us feedback. We see who applies where, who gets phone screens, who's invited for in-person interviews, what criteria is used, who gets rejected and why. All of these actions give our algorithm billions of data points to learn from. The AI, by collecting all the dots, knows much more than a human being knows about the total candidate pool, and therefore, it can make recommendations. The most exciting thing about AI technology is that it can augment the capacity of a recruiter and take over administrative tasks to give recruiters more time to connect with candidates and collaborate with hiring managers. Who knew that machines can make recruiting human again?

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