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Could a computer be better at recruiting than a human?

Can a computer really improve upon human judgement in picking the right person for the job?

Technology can help us in many aspects of business and in HR. It can make processes simpler and more cost effective. But can it help when it comes to humanised tasks such as recruiting? Can a computer really improve upon human judgement in picking the right person for the job?

A study carried out at the back end of 2015 by the US National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that the technology can deliver – at least to an extent. The research showed that employees chosen using computer algorithms rather than a human being stayed in their jobs fifteen per cent longer.

The figures are impressive, but when delving deeper into the research, it is clear that the focus was rather narrow. It was carried out on candidates employed in working environments which were subject to high turn-over, with the average worker staying in their job just 99 days.

This is not to say that technology doesn’t have a role in the recruitment process. Software which is able to sift through CVs, picking out key skills and experience needed for a particular role, is clearly advantageous to a recruiting manager.

Using computerised personality tests, in addition to traditional interview techniques, can help to build a far more comprehensive picture of an applicant. Using technology in social media platforms to pick out potential candidates from their advertised skills means that recruiting managers are able to build a talent pool before ever advertising for a particular role.

However, replacing humanised recruitment with a computer may not be the perfect solution.

A computer, for example, is unable to make a judgement call on the right ‘fit’ for the business. This is something that must happen through conversation and engagement with a candidate. Technology is also unable to gauge someone’s attitude and the way in which they present themselves.

Most would therefore agree that there is still a need for a human element when recruiting for the vast majority of jobs.

What this study does teach us, however, is that technology can do more for recruitment than we may have at first thought. Perhaps this is an opportunity to look afresh at what computers are able to do for us instead of being afraid of what they might take away from us.

As recruitment becomes ever more complex and the battle for talent intensifies, we need to use technology to our advantage, to ensure that we offer a cost-effective, efficient recruitment solution within our businesses.

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One comment

  1. I think you nailed it on this one. After being a recruiter for 12 years the technology is catching up now for making it faster so will definitely help and be accurate. Especially in IT most recruiters are nontechnical and would not know if code from a software developer is good or bad.

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