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Pakko De La Torre // Creative Director

Speed of Artificial Intelligence in hiring trend & underlying concerns 

The speed and rigor with which technology is changing and challenging the business management rhetoric at a global level is remarkable. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), in India, the AI market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20.2 per cent to reach $ 7.8 billion by 2025. HR functions are no indifferent to this wave of change. AI applications has gained quite a traction in the HR community and practitioners across businesses in general. Talent acquisition is evolving into a technology-linked HR function. Hiring decision making is one of the emerging cases of business use of AI.

The technological trends, artificial Intelligence being one of them, has immensely impacted hiring for top talent in competitive Indian talent market. However, the extent of AI application in hiring process varies across business sectors. It is a crucial decision for HR managers about how AI can be integrated in the present hiring process? and/or to what extent? Also, the above dilemma is consequent to the benefits and apprehensions associated with AI in the hiring perceived by firms and HR heads.

Findings of the research survey of Company HR heads, Technology heads involve in talent acquisition along with subject matter expert, attempt to uncover the underlying concerns that are shared by strategic-cum-implementation teams in Indian firms that had not really used AI in their hiring processes. The findings highlight few of the most important factors such as best-fit hiring decisions and ROI in choosing AI-based applications for hiring function. Also, inferred from the interviews and its analyses key benefits and apprehensions perceived critical while using AI based applications in hiring. These aspects are considered to be occupying the mindshare of talent acquisition managers with regards to hiring via technology few years to come, according to HR analysts and Talent acquisition practitioners interviewed.

HR professionals worldwide are often bombarded with the trends of AI based tools and techniques feeding into rapid adoption of AI tools in hiring, India is no exception. However, in the Indian context, wider application of AI in hiring is largely missing. Of course, Covid-19 did, in a way, drive the momentum towards using AI applications in talent acquisition. Such trends offer great promises, however some doubtful, to make the tasks and process of talent acquisition effective. But, it is important to note that with the hyped proactive attitude towards adoption/adaption of AI in hiring, there also exists scepticism towards it. Also, NITI Aayog reports3,4 discussed the issues associated with AI deployment- such as reliability, interpretability, equality, algorithmic bias, exclusions, accountability and privacy. This further underlines the dilemma, as mentioned above.

But, understanding about the factors influencing the decisions of adopting the AI technology in hiring process has remained more or less unclear. This information about decision factors is very crucial especially for firms that did not or to very little extent adopt AI in their hiring.

The survey finds that out of the other factors, following three emerged to be really critical factors influencing HR managers’ decisions: –

To be able to make best-fit hiring decisions. To what extent a firm is able to use AI tools and techniques and make valid assessments is one the most important factors? It is immensely linked to the positive performance of a candidate.

Is it worth it! Positive RoI on the AI application in hiring is a criteria kept in mind justifying the investments made. Not only from financial standpoint but also in terms of credibility of the intervention and its multi-fold impact. It also implies the readiness to take initiatives improving the administrative costs.

Competence to effectively handle data. Efficiency and effectiveness of data or information is considered crucial given the type and magnitude of data AI based hiring involves. Also, capability to handle the security of the data is a part of this concern.

There also exists a viewpoint according to which AI is an overhyped proposition. AI is also seen to be in its early stages. Research has also supported that human element cannot be challenged to its complete elimination in the different functions one of such a functions hiring. This further implies that along with perceived benefits associated with the use of AI in hiring processes, there are apprehensions associated with it.

What HR managers think about AI application in hiring in terms of its perceived benefits and apprehensions in order to take the first steps towards using AI applications in hiring? The survey addresses the question. The relatively ‘new joiners’ in the trend perceived value in the AI based hiring. The two key benefits HR managers see in the AI-based hiring:

Quality hiring

Speeds up the process

Effective outreach and sourcing talent

The above two points also reveal the motivation to join trend. However, perceived apprehensions (and /or perceived challenges) associated with AI application in hiring as below. tell

Immensely costly.

Not sure if these firms possess the competencies-both organisational and individual, to handle AI-technology.

Lack of clear industry standards related to AI use hiring.

Firms’ assessment around this discussion is evidently relevant today. These findings highlight the predicament around the AI applications in hiring perceived by more or less the ‘late joiners’ firms in India. This information about the factors and the perceived benefits and apprehensions in a way food for thought for firms. It may vary with business/industry one is a part of.  It prods firms to assess their requirements, expected outcomes, and their capabilities for their readiness for AI-based applications in hiring. For researchers in the domain too, it lays avenue for further undertake case-based research exploring the dimensions associated with late joiners and laggards as far as the trend of technology or AI in hiring is concerned.




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