AI Is the Buzz, But Your Old Tools Might Be Just Fine

One of the great promises of AI in recruitment is automatically screening candidates. The hope is that we’ll just hand off the job specs to a computer, it will screen the resumes, do some automated interviewing with a chatbot, and leave us with a nice clean short-list of candidates.

There is great promise in these techniques, but we can learn some lessons from people who have been doing this kind of automated interviewing for years with existing technologies.

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HRCM’s founder Ron Selewach realized 30 years ago that much of the interviewing for high volume hiring (500 or more hires for a specific job per year) was routine enough to be automated. He built a product called Acclaim to do that. The lessons he shares today are relevant to anyone interested in an automated hiring solution:

  • Job analysis matters — The whole process is dependent on understanding the job well enough to know what you need in a candidate. No matter what tools we use, we’ve got to make sure we have taken real care in analyzing the job.
  • Customer service matters — No matter how good a technology is, clients still need a lot of support of one kind or another. Excellence in customer service matters a lot for successful projects. If you are an employer, look for this in a vendor; if you are a vendor don’t fall so in love with the technology that you forget to invest in good customer service.
  • Quality of data matters more than coolness of technology — It’s exciting to use AI to drive your screening, but if you’ve done the job analysis well, it may be that well-structured questions delivered by less exotic technology will do the trick.

What is interesting?

  • Almost any new idea or technique in management has hidden historical roots. Someone, somewhere has been doing something similar for years.

What is really important?

  • We need to stay abreast of new tools without forgetting that older tools may still be more effective. (A good set of knives may be more effective for many jobs than a food processor.)
  • Recognize that customer service may be more important to your success than anything in the tech per se. As new HR AI tech gets off the ground it will be the ones who understand customer service who will thrive.

David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research, is a globally recognized thinker on people analytics and talent management. Some of his more interesting projects included:

  • Conducted workshops around the world on the practical aspects of people analytics
  • Took business leaders from Japan’s Recruit Co. on a tour of US tech companies (Recruit eventually bought for $1 billion)
  • Studied the relationship between Boards and HR (won Walker Award)
  • Spoke at the World Bank in Paris on HR reporting
  • Co-authored Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan. The book was endorsed by the CHROs of IBM, LinkedIn and Starbucks.
  • Worked with Dr. Wanda Wallace on “Leading when you are not the expert” which topped the “Most Popular List” on the Harvard Business Review’s blog.
  • Worked with Dr. Henry Mintzberg on peer coaching, David’s learning modules are among the most popular topics.

Currently David is helping organizations to get on-track with people analytics.

This work led to him being made a Fellow for the Centre of Evidence-based Management (Netherlands) for his contributions to the field.