Conversational AI
5 min read
September 14, 2023

The future of recruiting is actually just going back to the beginning. And AI will get us there.

Way back when, recruiters actually just focused on recruiting. And it was great. With the help of AI, we can get back to that reality — and then some.

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In the beginning, recruiters recruited. And things were good. 

But somewhere between then and now, things became not so good. They became, to use a technical term, pretty crappy. If you’ve ever recruited or been tertiarily involved in the process then you know the painfulness of this existence all too well — a constant onslaught of resume reading, calendar juggling, and voicemail and inbox email navigating the likes of which the world has never seen before. 

We now ask recruiters to play the role of judge, jury, and secretary — making critical hiring decisions and complex judgment calls while also owning all of the accompanying administrative tedium.

And, as we’ve learned, it’s simply impossible. There’s not enough time in the day to do all that stuff, let alone do it all well; something had to give. For most organizations that “something” (for some misguided reason) became the actual recruiting part of the job. We collectively decided that it was more important for recruiters to do all those transactional tasks that basically anyone can do, instead of having adequate time to focus on the critical, hyper-specific tasks that almost no one else can do.

Think about it — we’ve now conflated “recruiting” with admin work. That’s what we view their job as. The role has become completely corrupted and twisted into something it was never supposed to be. And we’re squandering their talents, and we’re making everyone on both sides of the hiring experience unhappy. 

Recruiters should just recruit. It’s right there in the name. 

Because if they’re not the ones solely focused on selling your organization to candidates and convincing them to pick you (and not dozens of other options), then who will? 

Hint: It’s not artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence cannot (and should not) recruit candidates. 

There seems to be some confusion over this one, so let me be clear: AI should not be making any critical decisions in the hiring process. And not only should it not, I would argue that — right now, with today’s technology — it also cannot do it. At least not effectively. 

We’re simply not a point where AI can serve as a substitute for human judgment. Will we ever reach that point? That’s a hard maybe. But for now, from my perspective, the best use case for AI within talent acquisition is to automate certain processes (like scheduling interviews, for instance) at scale, and to make some binary decisions based on irrefutable facts. Here’s an example:

Within the screening process, AI can determine if a candidate received an advanced degree or not, and — based on the qualification parameters set by the employer — decide to screen them in or out of the next stage. But what it shouldn’t be doing is judging if the school they went to was good or not, and arbitrarily ranking one candidate ahead or behind the others based on that judgment. That’s where the slope gets quite slippery. 

Fact-based decisions, not judgements. That’s where AI thrives. 

This is not a negative, by the way. I find some AI companies feel the need to oversell the complexity of their product. But when it comes to Paradox, here’s the truth: While there’s a ton of nuance and horsepower under the hood, the consumer-facing experience is quite simple. And that’s the beauty of it. That’s the whole point. We’re automating just enough.

Think about the power to automatically screen hundreds of candidates (or thousands, in some cases) based on pre-established, factual parameters and, with 100%, unbiased accuracy, determine who the qualified candidates are and schedule them for an interview — without needing a recruiter to ever directly get involved. That saves hundreds of hours per year, per recruiter. And also frees the recruiter up to make those critical decisions the AI can’t, like whether or not the University of Wisconsin is a great school (as a Marquette alum, I can answer that pretty easily: it’s not).

The kicker is that this is actually what the majority of candidates want the experience to be. I’ve heard some criticism that automated screening and scheduling is a bit too impersonal — to which I would posit: who cares? Most candidates (especially for hourly roles) are not looking for a hands-on, high-touch experience pre-schedule. They’re just not. They want scheduling to be fast and accurate. The personal stuff can, and should, come after. 

How do we know? Well, candidates have told us. We have a 97% candidate satisfaction rate when it comes to automated scheduling. 

So to summarize:

Recruiters should recruit — and they’ll be able to do more of it because of AI.

In the purest sense, recruiting is about trust. It’s one person (or people) building enough trust with another person that they’re willing to put their career in their hands: Yes, human being I’ve never met before, this is the place where I would like to spend the majority of my time for the indefinite future

That’s pretty heavy when you think about it. 

This whole “talent acquisition” thing doesn’t freaking work without trust. And the time to build it. 

Yet in these bizarro Behind The Computer times that we live in, we’ve talked ourselves into believing we can build that trust with an email. With a voicemail. With one phone screen that you had to reschedule three times over the course of a multiple weeks. Bleh — the truth is that trust is basically dead in recruiting. It’s been replaced with digital tedium and proxies of emotion.

And by the way, this is precisely why AI isn’t good at recruiting, either. Because it’s not real and doesn’t actually work at your company. Even the most advanced AI could never approximate the experience a human has actually physically manifesting in a place of work — the look, the feel, the smell, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Only a real person can have those sensory experiences and effectively communicate them to a candidate.

Fortunately, you employ those people. Some of you have thousands of them. They’re called recruiters. 

And you need them more than ever. 

Right now, four in five organizations worldwide say they’re struggling to fill open roles. The biggest competitive advantage you can have right now is an army of advocates building trust with candidates and selling them on why they should work for you and not literally any other place on the planet. But they can’t do it if they’re mired in minutiae. 

This isn’t complicated. It really isn’t. Use AI to automate simple — but massively time consuming tasks — like screening, scheduling, onboarding, etc. And use your recruiters to do what they do best: recruit. 

Written by
Adam Godson
President & Chief Product Officer
Adam Godson
Written by
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