hr tech: how are voice assistants going to disrupt hiring?

Since voice assistants are fast becoming integrated into everyday life - with plenty of demonstrations at the Consumer Electronics Show focusing heavily on them - is it likely that we’ll start seeing such artificial intelligence (AI) tools begin to disrupt traditional HR processes?

Incorporating voice assistants in HR

Voice search technology is a comparatively simple development for users. A ‘wake word’ is used - such as “Alexa” - and users can then ask questions or instruct it to carry out certain actions that have previously been set up.

Gartner has predicted that by 2020, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. The research company explained that “by eliminating the need to use your hands and eyes for browsing, vocal interactions extend the web experience to multiple activities such as driving, cooking, waking, socializing, exercising, operating machinery, etc.”.

In this way, voice-based assistants can be seen as a driver of productivity, enabling workers to carry out their duties while simultaneously obtaining the information they need. Within HR departments, they will allow people to focus their energy on the more complicated and creative aspects of the job that technology can’t take care of. Since AI lacks the emotions necessary to pick up on unspoken cues, humans will still need to establish aspects like cultural fit, ambition and personality type.

Voice technology in recruitment chatbots

New software and automation built from artificial intelligence can also help companies identify the most appropriate candidates. Programs like Mya and Wade & Wendy are capable of conducting initial chat interviews to shortlist the most qualified applicants, as well as boosting engagement with them. Systems such as these can recommend certain candidates based on machine learning and established algorithms, as well as schedule interviews. This eliminates some of the more time-consuming elements of HR for professionals.

These chatbots can incorporate voice-based technology in order to make them more convenient for job seekers. Talkpush has developed one such system, calling it the “first conversation-driven Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) system”.

According to Talkpush, its solution will enable recruiters to spend more time talking to qualified candidates, resulting in “a better candidate experience and huge reductions in cost per hire and time to fill”. More communication from recruiters would be welcomed by most job seekers, with the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2016 report finding that one of the biggest roadblocks candidates face when switching jobs is not hearing back after applying to a company. A voice-assisted chatbot that can get in touch with an applicant will potentially go a long way toward improving their experience with your organization.

Maintain the human touch

It’s important not to let the technology overwhelm your organization’s recruitment process, though. Our own research found that 87 percent of job seekers agree technology has made the job search process more impersonal, with 82 percent of workers agreeing the ideal interaction with a company is one where innovative technologies are behind the scenes and second to personalized human interaction.

This highlights the need for companies to balance automation with a personal touch. Ensuring that humans are still heavily involved in the recruitment process is crucial to keeping candidate engagement levels high, as well as making informed decisions about whether the candidate in question will fit in at the company.

According to the LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report, “new interviewing tools, many powered by artificial intelligence, now sift through resumes and automatically weed out candidates so that your team can invest more in connecting with and closing the best ones”.

When it comes to voice assistants, this is the key message - AI can assist your hiring team, but it can’t replace it. Although it is certain to disrupt a number of HR processes and offer huge time-saving benefits to companies, job seekers are always going to want the human touch.