Artificial intelligence, or more specifically, machine learning, excels at matching, of course. One of the inspirations behind Helena – an “AI head hunter” created by recruitment platform Woo – is the recommendation engines developed by online retailers like Amazon.
Impressively, according to Woo CEO and founder LiranKotzer, early results show that employers are accepting for interview 52% of candidates put forward by Helena. This compares very favorably to performance of human recruitment agents, where the average figure is around 20%, and far better than relying on respondents to postings on job boards – where just 2.5% of applicants will be suitable for interview.
“The recruitment market is broken,” Kotzer says. “It’s a 200bn market in the US alone – and the problem we have is that 95 per cent of the effort and money spent in that market is wasted.
“When you have talent and employers trying to find each other – 95 per cent of both of their efforts are going on filtering each other. Even if they go to interview, most interviews end without a hire, so that’s another point where both parties filer each other out.”
Robot head hunters
Woo’s answer to the problem is self-teaching robots which rely on sophisticated machine learning to become increasingly more successful at matching candidates to vacancies. Their initial training came from top-flight human recruiters and headhunters.
Woo employed a team of them with experience recruiting for leading tech firms such as Google and Facebook to provide behavioral data for its algorithms to learn from. After providing the initial training data, the human team now works in parallel with the AI headhunter Helena, teaching her, and occasionally learning themselves.
“Sometimes they see Helena hunting people who they wouldn’t expect to be head hunted for a role, and they would say ‘oh my God,why is she hunting these people?’
“But often those people end up getting moved through the process and sometimes even hired. Because Helena is able to explain to employers why they might be better for them.”
This could be of huge benefit to job seekers whose backgrounds might not exactly match what recruiters initially think is important, but whose experiences might make them a good match, regardless.
Kotzer says “For me that’s the most amazing thing going on right now, because Helena is being able to open more opportunities for more people and putting more candidates on the radar.”
Will human head hunters soon have to hope that, like doctors and lawyers, the ‘human touch’ aspect of their work is critical enough to keep their jobs safe?