AI Recruiting…it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

“Sorry, I didn’t get that. Please try again.”

“We got your message! We’ll get you in touch with a human shortly.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you meant?”

We’ve all received messages like this before when trying to talk to a chat bot. And let’s be honest…it’s annoying.

AI recruiting may make you more efficient, but it’s a huge turnoff for candidates. At a time when unemployment is at a 50-year low, offering a positive candidate experience is everything. In order to pull in passive candidates, we have to offer them a wonderful experience that entices them to apply.

Of Course, There Are Genuine Benefits to AI Recruiting and Automation Technologies

Now, I know this train of thought makes me sound like an old curmudgeon. Clearly, AI recruiting can save us a lot of time and allow us to contact significantly more candidates than we could otherwise. They can slash costs dramatically and help us work through massive databases of candidates.

Furthermore, lots of people are talking about how AI recruiting will help us eliminate unconscious bias in recruiting processes. Although even AI proponents will admit it’s not totally neutral, it does offer some advantages for reducing biases in selection processes.

But all that is useless if we’re not actually engaging candidates.

Oh, The Humanity!!

Companies that leverage AI recruiting are ignoring the reality of the current talent market. 70% of the global workforce can be classified as passive candidates. For particularly in-demand roles, like developers and other tech roles, the share of passive candidates is likely to be even higher. Since passive candidates are not actively searching for a new position, they’re harder to engage and less likely to respond.

Furthermore, candidates are being bombarded by recruiters spamming them with messages about “amazing opportunities.” So they’re tuning out and ignoring recruiters wholesale, which makes our job even harder. This is exactly why AI recruitment is not the silver bullet it’s made out to be. AI may allow us to reach more candidates. But do we really think people are as likely to talk to a bot as they are to talk to a human? Engaging candidates is the name of the game these days, and AI is not the way to make that happen.

Candidates want to see some humanity from recruitment agencies, not a clunky chat bot. They want to talk to someone who will take the time to form a real relationship with them. They want to feel like the agency cares about finding a job that’s a right fit for them.

Sure, at the end of the day, we’re here to serve our clients…but we can’t do that if we don’t form relationships with candidates. And AI recruiting actively undermines positive relationships. It shows candidates that we don’t have the time to talk to them and that we don’t really care about them either. If we did, we’d let them talk to a real human capable of experiencing empathy. Call me old fashioned, but candidates still greatly appreciate that.

Do We Want Quality or Quantity…and Which Does AI Recruiting Offer?

We mentioned earlier that one of the perks is that AI allows us to contact more candidates. That’s true, but we have to consider the quality vs quantity of engagement. The strategy with AI recruiting is to contact a broad range of candidates with a bot, then give personal attention to those that respond.

Are we really getting the best candidates with this AI recruiting approach? Or are we only connecting with those who are most eager to find a new position? If we’re only focused on hiring at a high volume, this approach works great. But if we’re looking to hire the best candidates possible, then we have to employ a different strategy.

Oftentimes, the best candidates are the hardest ones to engage with. They’re focused on their current position, and their in-demand skill set means countless recruiters are spamming their inbox. If we want to break through, sending a personalized message from an actual human is far more effective than relying on R2-D2 the recruiter. Sometimes, the old approach is best. AI recruiting is great…but it can’t replace recruiters with great people skills.

AI Recruiting Doesn’t Cut it Yet

Technology has done a lot of good for recruiting. And we’re pretty confident that AI has a lot to offer society. In the future, maybe AI recruiters will provide an amazing candidate experience. But for now, recruiters should focus on giving candidates more personal attention…not unleashing legions of annoying chat bots.