Robots are changing the way Australian recruiters look at your CV

A robot called Teotronico plays the piano and sings at the 2017 World Robot Conference in Beijing. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Australian recruiters are already using artificial intelligence (AI) to help build a shortlist of job candidates.

Some won’t even talk about it, citing a fear of giving away too much to competitors. Other will speak only generally.

But Alistair Cox, CEO of recruiting experts Hays, says the human element will always be a part of the process.

“It remains incredibly difficult for any machine to analyse the soft skills that remain so crucial to modern business,” he says.

“I’m yet to see an algorithm that can read things like humour, temperament or enthusiasm as effectively as a person can.

“And let’s not forget that ultimately human oversight is still required to compile criteria — I certainly wouldn’t want a machine deciding the persona of my business, and I don’t think it would do a particularly good job yet.”

People do business with people, not machines.

“Despite the excitement and fears around the rise of AI, talent management largely remains a contact sport, where gut feeling, grounded in thousands of tiny facets of human experience which are never captured as data, plays just as strong a role as hard data,” he says.

Cox says a simple job ad can elicit tens of thousands of responses, many of which may be wholly inappropriate applications, yet all must all be screened to find the real stars.

With the aid of AI, time-consuming areas of recruitment, such as CV screening, drafting job descriptions and communicating with candidates, could instead take seconds.

This will free up time to focus on the human aspect of recruitment and offer a more personal service to clients and candidates.

“Hays has already taken its first steps in harnessing the power of AI with an external partner, which has accelerated the shortlisting process, enabling our recruitment consultants to concentrate on assessing the individual candidates outlined by the technology,” says Cox.

The main cause of an unsuccessful hire is a poor cultural fit between employee and organisation.

“Online job boards already use algorithms to match their community of job seekers with available roles,” says Cox.

“For example, a LinkedIn job posting will rank the suitability of candidates by utilising the available information on their profile. As AI develops, these algorithms will not only take technical capabilities into account but will become more sophisticated and analyse a candidate’s likely fit to the organisation.”

The retail sector has been harnessing customer data for years to target offers and rewards to the individual.

Cox expects employers to follow suit, offering a personalised approach to incentives.

“It’s also possible that AI could inform managers of when they are at risk of losing a member of their team, giving them ample time to intervene,” he says.

There is also the potential to supplement proactive human planning.

“An organisation’s talent flow is essentially another data spread that a computer can analyse to spot upcoming trends, either assessing when future revenue growth will require additional staff, or analysing calendar patterns to identify which time of year employees are most likely to depart, for example,” he says.

Job site Indeed has analysed its search data to uncover the careers least likely at risk of being made obsolete through automation — those requiring unique human skills such as creativity.

Among them, the combination of creativity and complex manual skills of the chef make their kitchen creations robot-proof.

Cybersecurity careers are also secure, and in demand, with job postings for roles in Australia up by 124% in the last two years