AI and the Future of Recruitment

Guest Blog By David Haines, Global sales Director, Xref


Tech experts have been paying lip service to the wonders of Artificial Intelligence (or AI) for many years, but what was once the stuff of blockbuster movies and sinister sci-fi stories, is quickly becoming a reality. The age of Artificial Intelligence is upon us.


What does this mean for the HR sector? In an industry where the emphasis is on people and human interactions, is there a role for AI and, if so, what is it?



Automation and streamlining

In the early days of AI adoption in HR, the emphasis is likely to be on automation and streamlining parts of the HR professional’s workflow, specifically the more menial or high volume tasks such as CV screening, responding to applicant emails or marking test papers. By taking the legwork out of admin-heavy processes, automation will free up the recruiter’s time and allow them to focus on other tasks that provide more strategic value to their organisation.


Removal of unconscious bias

A big challenge faced by recruiters is the issue of unconscious bias, an ingrained human trait which results in bias towards individuals based on their characteristics. Unconscious biases such as being drawn to someone who demonstrates some similar traits to you, can be extremely subtle, difficult to avoid and lead to bad hires. Worse still, discrimination claims can be raised and legal action enforced upon an organisation that appears for have made a biased decision.


AI promises to solve the problem of unconscious bias, given the inherently objective, data-based nature of the conclusions it offers without the influence of experiences, prejudices and education that human decisions will inexorably have.


Cross team consistency

Another ongoing challenge facing recruiters is the ability to ensure consistency in recruitment processes. For example, during screening, if multiple people are screening CVs and applications, it’s important they are all approached with the same set of qualifiers. Different evaluations of applications can not only be deemed to be unfair, but also create more room for error in terms of who you’re hiring. Every hire needs to be a smart and confident decision that’s tied into the qualifiers that the recruiter’s organisation sets out in alignment with business goals.


It’s clear that AI has the potential to hugely impact the HR arena in the future but, it is, in fact, already in use in a variety of HR tools and applications. Here are just a few:



Leading automated candidate referencing solution, Xref, makes the traditionally slow, labour-intensive and admin-heavy process of reference checking beautifully simple and efficient.


The tool delivers data-driven candidate insights and puts the onus on the candidate to ensure the required references are collated and delivered to the recruiters in a timely manner. The results it delivers are impressive.


By putting the candidate in charge and automating the process to create simpler, more efficient and secure referencing, Xref boasts a more than 90% completion rate on references – a vast improvement on traditional methods.


But where does the AI come in? AI is at the heart of some of the smartest aspects of the Xref platform, including its most recently launched functionality, the Xref ‘Sentiment Engine’. The software platform uses an algorithm to interpret a referee’s ‘tone of voice’ and recognise positive, neutral and negative sentiment in the written feedback provided.


This breakdown is then included as one of many metrics in the full report shared with an employer once references are complete, from which they can make an informed and confident hiring decision.



Bullhorn is a cloud-based solution which automatically tracks the recruitment cycle to offer recruiters a complete and unbiased insight into a candidate. It does this by viewing all their interactions with the recruiter, be it emails, text or phone and gleaning key information.

Its artificial intelligence capability is called Bullhorn Bots, which automates frequently repeated tasks using clicks, not code.

As these bots learn from your input and behavioral patterns, they will suggest specific automations based on machine learning algorithms. The result is what all AI-fueled tools aim to deliver to organisations – more streamlined operations.



Whether or not you’ve consciously invested in a specific AI-fueled recruitment tool, there’s a high chance that you were already using AI in your professional life. And that’s via LinkedIn Recruiter.


It uses algorithms to sift through its database of 7m Open Candidates – people who have signaled that they are open to new opportunities – to offer you suggestions based on patterns that have led to previous success for similar searches to yours.


With every successful match, Recruiter learns from it – be it the profiles you’ve browsed and prospects you’ve contacted – and replicates it to make your next search easier.


AI is already a hot topic in HR and many AI-fueled tools are readily available to the industry’s professionals, all offering to streamline workloads and help achieve objectivity and consistency across multiple HR tasks.


Ultimately, however, meeting someone, talking to them face-to-face and having a human connection with them will always be part of the recruitment process.

Used wisely, AI can be incorporated into recruitment processes to maximise efficiency and support businesses, both large and small, in making smart and confident hiring decisions.


How? Because, those decisions are based on data-driven insights rather than ‘gut feel’ or human instinct alone.


Finding the perfect combination of human ability and machine learning, or ‘artificial intelligence’, looks set to be the future of recruitment success.


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