Q&A with John Sumser on AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is everywhere. You can’t scroll through your social media feed without being bombarded with content about the impact of AI.
But what does AI mean for Recruitment Marketing? Where are we seeing success and which areas are worth exploring for Recruitment Marketers in 2018 and beyond?
John Sumser, Principal Analyst at HR Examiner, is an expert at analyzing new technologies and determining who they’ll work for and in what ways. John is the author of many HR industry reports, including, most recently, HR Examiner’s “Does HR Speak AI?”
Here’s what John has to share with us about AI for Recruitment Marketing:
Rally: People think about and define AI in a number of ways. Could you provide a definition of AI today, as it relates to HR tech software and tools?
JS: For me, AI involves a general machine intelligence capable of a conversation on a variety of topics. Today’s tools are mostly tremendous exercises in statistics (machine learning and natural language processing). It is wise to be careful about projecting “intelligence” on to any of these tools. To use the scientific definition, I do not believe that there is a single example of “real” Artificial Intelligence in either HR or Recruiting today; however, this class of new technologies that people call AI does have a lot of potential benefit for Talent Acquisition and Recruitment Marketing.
Rally: What are some of the core areas where we see machine learning and natural language processing playing an impact for Recruitment Marketers?
JS: For top-of-funnel recruiting, there are five main categories of tools where AI (loosely used here) is playing an impact: sourcing and assessment, chatbots for attraction, website personalization, programmatic advertising and candidate nurture solutions.
Rally: What sort of success are companies seeing with these tools?
JS: It’s hard to say here across the board the type of success we’re seeing. We’re still in the early days of the adopter phase for these technologies. While there is a lot of hype, less than 1% of companies have adopted AI tech to supplement their recruiting efforts.
Further to that, because AI tools need to learn from interactions and data captured, it takes more than a year to really be able to say what sort of impact these technologies are having on a company’s hiring process. There are some vendors that have strong case studies, but I think it really is too early to tell as a whole the level of success that AI will have for Recruitment Marketing.
Rally: Are there particular types of companies that you could see AI being most useful for?
JS: I think AI tools will be most useful for companies who are hiring large volumes of people, particularly in the retail, sales and hospitality areas. The usefulness of AI tools is linked to how many of the same types of people you’re looking to hire. I think these companies are already starting to see success here with machine learning and natural language processing.
Rally: How do you see AI impacting the candidate experience?
JS: The best candidate experience involves getting a good job that fits my skills, competencies and passions. The second best is getting to ‘no’ as quickly as possible. Chatbots for screening purposes are an instance of how AI could improve the candidate experience on this secondary front. Products in this space could speed up the path to a yes or no answer for candidates. Insofar as the interaction with a chatbot is an interaction where before there was nothing (the black hole experience), it’s probably a good touchpoint and experience all around in comparison.
Rally: Where can people find out more information?
JS: If you’re looking for in-depth information on AI tech for HR, you can download my report “Does HR Speak AI?” on HR Examiner. If you don’t need to know all of the details, but want to stay more generally in the know, I’d recommend subscribing to our free newsletter, the HR Intelligencer. The weekly newsletter consists of about six to eight links with a bit of commentary on each. The content typically covers areas like AI, big data and a touch of content marketing, as they pertain to HR.