You are a talent acquisition treasure. A human resources hero. A sourcing scholar.
You know people. You understand company culture. You know what job seekers want from their next employer (most of the time) and you know how to get people to trust you.
But what about all those AI tools that threaten to replace you and your colleagues? They have a lot of unique skills and benefits as well. And they aren’t going anywhere.
If you want a long, happy career in talent acquisition, you need to learn to play well with others – specifically, with the AI-powered tools that organizations increasingly rely on to find, connect with, and seal the deal with future employees. Luckily, we know there are some key talent acquisition skills that AI tools won’t soon replace. But AI could mean fewer roles for HR professionals down the line, as innovations in technology enable machines to take on more processes traditionally left to people.
Talent acquisition professionals who want to build a long career will need to demonstrate their value beyond the inherent abilities of human cognition. You’ll need to learn to work alongside AI and use it produce real results. Here’s what you need to know in order to design the career you want.
Understand AI tools
Today’s ongoing digital transformation means HR leaders now have to become technology experts. As tech gradually integrates into every facet of our lives, at home and at work (and everywhere else we go, it seems), talent acquisition professionals need to learn what AI tools can do and what is possible, but it’s also crucial to understand technology’s limitations. Moravac’s “landscape of human competence” (pictured above) suggests how challenging this can be, as the so-called sea level continues to rise, thus moving the target. This means TA professionals have to work continuously to keep up with technology trends and innovations.
Once you understand AI capabilities, it’s crucial to define the role that technology will play on your recruiting team and to understand your role as well. We’ll talk more about that in the next section, but it’s worth saying now that defining those roles is a capability tomorrow’s talent acquisition leaders will need to be extremely comfortable doing.
Maintain creativity and critical thinking
Now and in the future, the real value of human workers lies in our ability to solve real world problems. AI tools can absolutely help us do this and you already know how they do that – by gathering information, analyzing large amounts of data, filtering and sorting data so we can get insights faster, and so forth. The future’s best talent acquisition leaders will be able to think about solutions inside and outside the AI.
We often think that AI can, someday, be the answer to all our problems – or at least find the answers to all our recruiting questions. How can I find the right job seekers? Which questions should I ask during a phone screening? Who are the best candidates in my applicant pool?
In 2017, SourceCon put that final question to the test and pitted an artificial intelligence from Brilent against human recruiters in a grandmaster challenge aptly dubbed “Human vs Machine.” The challenge required recruiters and the AI to review 5,500 resumes and identify the people who were actually hired for three positions. And luckily for us humans, the humans won. But there is more to the story than just the winners and losers. While the humans took first and second place, the AI rounded out the top three. But the more important number to look at was how long it took each participant to come up with an answer. It’s no surprise to learn that the AI tool could tackle this challenge in no time flat: 3.2 seconds, to be exact. But the humans spent 4-25 hours researching and submitting their answers, significantly more time than the AI.
I think the lesson here is that finding the cream of the crop shouldn’t be left to either humans or AI. Instead, it should be a mix of both. Think of what could have happened if the humans had used the AI to at least reduce the resumes down to a 1,000 or even a hundred. Think of how much time this would have saved them So, while AI can perform tasks faster, humans are still capable of producing higher quality results in many cases, often because of our unique abilities like deductive reasoning and creative problem-solving. (We highly recommend clicking the link above and reading more about how the humans found the correct answers!) It’s worth noting that all of the human competitors relied on technology to aid their research, but the success is in knowing when and how to turn to tech.
Stay in touch with your actual human resources
Your future employers need talent acquisition leaders with a strong holistic understanding of how the organization functions. Beyond the numbers and the written goals, you’ll need to be intimately familiar with the organizational goals and culture, the needs and challenges of your internal customers, and all the other things AI can’t comprehend. You may use tech tools to help inform this view (like social listening tools, employee surveys, and so forth), and certainly technology will help you execute your talent acquisition initiatives. But TA professionals who are genuinely connected with the human stories beyond the data will be able to provide value throughout their career.
Be able to propose solutions
As illustrated by the Human vs. Machine challenge story above, humans who know how and when to implement technology will be able to achieve greater results. As digital transformation continues to challenge HR leaders, these decisions will become more crucial and more nuanced than ever before. If you can use your creative problem solving skills to propose solutions that include human and AI roles, future employers will benefit from your judgment.
In a larger sense, future TA leaders need to understand how the entire business operates, how departments work together, and how those things inform the recruiting process. Embracing strategic thinking will help you work with AI in any capacity inside the organization, which will undoubtedly be relevant for decades to come.
Technology can offer humans a lot of advantages. It will certainly replace some of the tasks we have to perform, and with that newfound free time, human talent acquisition leaders need to seize the opportunity to invest in the skills that will offer value to future employers. If you want to create a long, stable career in human resources, understanding the benefits and limitations of AI is crucial.
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