Business advice: AI, what's your plan?

“We don’t want to be left behind, but we aren’t sure what or how to think about generative AI”

As a business leader, if you haven’t thought or said this in the last 12 months I would be surprised – it is a sentiment shared by many of the recruitment business leaders I talk to. 

We know the technology is accessible, is advancing rapidly and will have an impact on the way people work, so it is imperative that firms do more than just ‘keep up’.

There is no one right answer (unfortunately?) and the book on how to successfully roll out AI in a recruitment business has yet to be written (although it may have been written by the time this article is published – indeed, by Gen AI?!).

A key task for business leaders is to demystify the language and the perceived threats of job replacement and loss – taking a step back to assess the risk and opportunities for your business. Leaders need to build a compelling narrative showcasing how these tools can reduce the repetitive and predictable tasks, freeing up teams to focus on more creative and interpersonal tasks.

AI can personalise communication with candidates”

The part recruitment firms play in the talent ecosystem, in an era where the talent market remains competitive, requires agility and innovation – to respond to pressure to deliver results. This is where AI steps in as a transformative tool, streamlining processes and offering strategic advantages:

  • Enhancing efficiency is often characterised by vast amounts of data – from CVs, interview notes, qualifications and references. AI, with its natural language processing and machine-learning capabilities, can swiftly analyse and categorise this information, providing overall accuracy, reducing time spent by your teams and increasing the likelihood of finding the perfect match. This will mean working on the how and why of compiling and recording data in your business. According to McKinsey, 72% of business leaders cite data management as one of the main roadblocks in scaling AI.
  • AI-driven predictive analytics have the power to transform recruitment by forecasting which candidates are more likely to succeed in a specific role. By analysing significant amounts of historical data points on candidates and employee performance, AI can provide valuable insights into a potential hire’s long-term success within an organisation, and the algorithms continuously learn and improve as they process ever more data. So over time, an AI-empowered recruitment system becomes even better at identifying ideal candidates and predicting success.
  • The candidate experience is a crucial aspect of any successful recruitment process. AI can personalise communication with candidates – tailoring messages, providing real-time updates on the application process and answering FAQs. This can benefit and enhance the candidate’s perception of both the recruitment firm and the employer brand.
  • One of the most significant challenges in recruitment is unconscious bias. AI-driven tools can help mitigate bias by focusing solely on candidate qualifications, skills and experience rather than any other demographic information – promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • It is an implicit part of the economic cycle that recruitment firms experience fluctuations in demand. AI systems can scale up or down to accommodate changes in workload – whether it’s handing a surge in job openings or adapting to a temporary decrease in hiring.

The adoption of AI in recruitment firms is not merely a technological upgrade but a strategic imperative. It will empower recruiters to make sophisticated, data-driven decisions, be more efficient and offer a superior candidate experience. It will transform and enhance how we work, making us more agile, innovative and capable of providing ever more exceptional service to our clients and candidates.

Tara Ricks is co-chair of Elite Leaders and director of Consulting Eve.

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