I'm coming, I'm coming…

HR of the future: robo-resources

I read an interesting article from Fox (don’t judge – they have some good content) the other day about Unilever’s new approach to hiring. Since the fall of 2016, Unilever has used AI to make the hiring process faster, less cumbersome on the hiring manager and, most importantly, brings to the front the best of the best (as decided by the AI interface – from here on out I’ll refer to it as C3-PO).

Some things to note. According to the article, the hiring manager can tell C3-PO what traits to look for (traits can be open to speculation). Additionally C3-PO vets the candidates through questionnaires, games, and a round of video interviews where the candidate answers questions. Note that there is no human interaction at all until the final round when C3-PO hands over a small stack of folders of the candidates he thinks are the best suited for the role and requirements.

I was circumspect when I first read this article however after some thinking, I’m moderately sold.

The Good

One thing I hate is the hiring process. Having to sift through dozens (sometimes hundreds) of resumes to find a candidate that may fit what I’m looking for. Ain’t nobody got time for that… especially when you keep the mantra of “hiring long, fire fast” (that’s for another post). I liked to take my time with a resume, scope out their LinkedIn, check out their portfolio or body of work. That takes a lot of time. C3-PO takes that off my plate – giving me more time to deal with my crazy inbox and other high-priority things coming across my desk.

The Bad

I know what I want in people. I know what I want for my team. I’m sure you do too. There’s a certain thing you’re looking for that’s hard to describe. Sometimes translating that to a machine can be challenging. And while C3-PO is fluent in over six million (seven depending on where you’re at in the timeline) forms of communication – human intuition may not be one of them yet. I often find that talking to someone in a phone screen, or meeting them in person may change my mind completely about how they can fit in my organization – for better or worse. Having AI do this takes that… feeling away.

The Ugly (or Pretty)

In the end, AI is here to help make our lives easier. Whether it’s as a personal assistant running your house or a system that intelligently vets candidates so you can spend your precious time on the things that are important… but wait… isn’t staffing important? Yes. I’m not 100% ready for the AI revolution to take my intuition out of the process. I know what I want, and it’s worth the investment of time for me to find the right person to fill the role – but as Stephen King once wrote… everything’s eventual. The robots will win.

What do you think? Are you willing to sacrifice your understanding, and gut to artificial intelligence?


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“Deep thoughts” is the rambling, free flow brain dump of Anthony Pizzuto – the most interesting guy you’ll know. If you don’t get it, just shoot him a line: ap@anthonypizzuto.com


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