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How To Use AI In HR

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing many facets of our lives… and Human Resources is no exception. From sourcing candidates to managing existing talent, AI is transforming HR: automation makes processes more efficient, but there is also some “augmentation” – enhancing human intelligence with deeper insights to lead to better decisions and greater productivity. 

As Beamery CEO Abakar Saidov noted at Spark Live 2024, “What makes AI really exciting now is that we can not only augment the way we perform tasks, but augment how we make decisions. It can enable us to turn complexity into simplicity.” 

Indeed, without AI, companies will struggle to embrace skills-based approaches – the other buzzword du jour. Skills data without AI is likely to be unusable: out of date, biased, and limited.   

skills and ai

Here’s just some of the ways AI can be leveraged in HR to create better outcomes for businesses and talent alike.

1. Smarter talent sourcing and hiring

AI empowers HR teams to make more informed decisions about where to source talent. By analyzing large datasets, AI can identify the best geographies and skill sets for specific roles. 

For instance, companies like Mimecast have used AI to establish talent hubs in India and Canada based on the availability of needed skills, such as Natural Language Processing.

“Immediately, when a discussion around a specific location starts, we use a tool that is pulling from millions of different publicly accessible data points. And we put in their skills, we put in their level, and we start to get really good data back to be able to tell us: this is the size of the pool of people with that specific skill at that level. These are the amount of other organizations you're going to be competing against.” – Katharine Rooney, VP Talent Attraction & Acquisition, Mimecast

AI tools enable talent acquisition teams to predict the impact of small changes – like tweaking job titles – on their addressable talent market, or likely time to hire. This allows them to refine hiring strategies, also based on factors such as compensation and attrition in different regions, making it easier to hire both strategically and at scale.

This level of precision also helps in creating more targeted and effective recruitment campaigns, and then filling roles with higher quality candidates leads to higher retention rates – it’s a huge win.

2. Recruiter efficiency (and status) 

AI tools can also sift through hundreds of applications in seconds, identifying the best matches – of people to roles – based on skills, as well as other criteria. This not only saves time, but also ensures that recruiters focus on the most promising candidates.

With AI handling repetitive tasks, recruiters can transition to more strategic roles. They can use AI-generated insights to have more meaningful conversations with hiring managers, and provide valuable market intelligence. Often, this leads to a slightly different approach, versus the ‘go-to’ that has been based on gut feel rather than data. 

“What we’ve done quite recently is looked at some of those high performers’ backgrounds and their skills that they possess. And it turns out a lot of them aren’t typically what the hiring manager would have set out to hire for, but they possess those skills.” – Olga Power, Global Director of Talent Acquisition at Just Eat Takeaway

3. More personalized candidate experiences

AI enables a more personalized experience for candidates, in the same way as outlined above: by using skills data to share relevant information and opportunities directly with them. This relevance drives engagement and increases conversion rates, benefiting both talent teams and candidates.

“We know that candidate experience is essential for us to bring high quality talent into the organization. Our ability to deliver hyper-personalized content and job recommendations to candidates has been critical. And it has been a huge piece of our AI usage here at DraftKings. We are able to customize the content that is being sent and shared with candidates. We’re able to provide custom job recommendations based on their skills and their job title. This component of AI is going to change how companies interact with candidates.” – Mike Rizzi, Senior Recruitment Marketing Manager, DraftKings

4. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Despite some fears to the contrary, AI can actually help mitigate human biases in the hiring process: it can be used to create job descriptions, find candidates, and review resumes based on known or inferred skills, and potential – rather than more subjective factors.

By analyzing a wider range of candidate attributes, AI can identify qualified candidates who might otherwise be overlooked, and give you a broader and more diverse talent pool. 

Keith Sonderling, Commissioner at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency responsible for enforcing workplace discrimination laws and promoting equal opportunity in the workforce, has advocated for treating AI as a tool to assist human decision-making. 

He believes it can help employers ensure that decisions are made based on merit and skills: to protect both companies implementing AI, and the employees who may be affected by human bias.

“Technologies and AI-based human resources technology can really help prevent discrimination and further equal opportunity in the workplace.” – Keith Sonderling, EEOC

This functionality can also support internal talent by recommending training and development programs, facilitating career progression, and enhancing employee engagement and retention.

5. Skill Assessments

AI tools can assess the skills of both potential hires and existing employees, identifying gaps, and providing data-driven insights to guide hiring, reskilling, and redeploying efforts. 

AI that can infer people’s skills also supercharges your sourcing: simply search for the role titles you’re looking to fill and AI will identify the most relevant skills and expand your query – so your search results will contain candidates who may not have previously held the specific job title in your search, but will have the skills necessary to succeed in the role.

BBVA is using Beamery to infer skills, and their Head of TA Fernando Bellon told us at Spark Live: “Artificial intelligence is going to be critical in order to make sure that we are going to be able to understand the different set of skills that a person has, and that we can translate and understand those skills.”

infer skills

6. Agile Workforce Planning

AI aids in better workforce planning by analyzing historical data and current trends to forecast future talent needs, identify skill gaps, and recommend hiring strategies that align with organizational goals. This ensures greater agility as business needs evolve. 

With the right AI-powered technology, businesses can get closer to “skills nirvana” – having the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles, at the right time. 

“We’re not just looking at just to fill a person in a seat: we’re looking at the evolution of the organization.” – Art Lokerson, HR Product Management Director – Talent Acquisition, Wells Fargo

7. Tailored Talent Development

AI-driven tools can generate personalized suggestions for on-the-job training, development opportunities, or internal roles that employees are suited for. This personalization enhances the overall employee experience, increases engagement, and helps retain top talent. 

Generative AI tools like TalentGPT can take this a step further by acting as an “assistant” to both employees and recruiters, suggesting training courses, projects, or roles based on employees’ skills and preferences.

“AI can help… predict if you have this next experience, if you have this next exposure, if you have this next class (cause it's not just about class) you’ll be able to grow in those skills that will ultimately lead to whatever your dream is.” – Jacqui Canney, Chief People Officer, ServiceNow

8. Managing Compliance and Data Protection

AI can automate tasks necessary for compliance, such as managing candidate consent and ensuring hiring processes are fair and transparent. This is crucial in regions with strict data privacy regulations, like the EU’s GDPR. 

AI is able to track and adapt to changing laws, making compliance more manageable.

9. Collaboration and Decision Making

AI fosters cross-departmental collaboration by simplifying complex tasks and providing quick, actionable insights. Leaders can make decisions faster and with greater confidence, enhancing workforce planning and proactive hiring strategies. This collaborative approach ensures a holistic, skills-based talent strategy that prepares the organization for future challenges.

“It’s AI to assist our recruiters and our team to create efficiencies in day-to-day work, to ultimately enhance productivity, to enhance the candidate experience.” – Thanh Duong, Senior Manager, Talent Sourcing, Autodesk 

AI is a powerful tool that, when implemented correctly, can transform HR processes, making them more efficient, inclusive, and aligned with business goals. By automating routine tasks, providing deeper insights, and giving recruiters a more strategic role, AI helps HR teams focus on what they do best: unlocking human potential.

Keen to learn more? Read our whitepaper on Harnessing Artificial & Human Intelligence In HR.