When the Resume Meets the Robot

Because human resource departments are swamped by job applications and employee queries, companies are turning to artificial intelligence for a much-needed break.


The next time you’re passed up for a job, don’t be so quick to blame the hiring manager. While you may spend hours or even days perfecting your resume, it could be highly intelligent software that thinks you’re just not up to the cut.

When it comes to making the best hires, human resources at large companies are looking to primarily reduce the risk of a hiring bias—how people may implicitly choose others to onboard a company based on their own personal preferences. Implicit bias is simply human, so now enter the machines. Artificial intelligence (AI) can manage software to make these decisions for HR departments all over the world, without that same bias. Google is already on board with its internal hiring software, qDroid.

This may sound far-fetched, but one of the ways that AI can screen potential candidates is quite simple: through a video. When a candidate sits for an initial interview screened by AI-embedded software, the AI can determine certain characteristics of the applicant. These can include whether the interviewee is comfortable, being honest, and if the answers to the questions are good—all of which basically relays a score to the hiring manager.

Of course, the next natural question is how can AI simplify the process of going from hundred, or thousands, of applicants to that initial interview. HR departments are often slammed with resumes, and this step may be most essential in alleviating their workloads. The process is similar—the AI can rank resumes that come in based on key words, skills, and experience. Rather than sorting through what may be endless stacks of applications by hand, HR managers can go straight to the top rankings.

Fareportal, a travel technology company that has popular booking service CheapOAir under its belt, is now using an AI-led resume scorer. Founder Sam Jain told Forbes that “if a job posting receives 100 resumes in one day, this means the recruiter could spend nearly an entire day only reviewing resumes and accomplishing nothing else,” which is why the company was so eager to adopt AI for its hiring process. After all, time is money.

And time is what it comes down to. Even after hiring and onboarding, HR has an essential role in taking care of a companys’ employees—and they’re swamped. For many HR managers, the questions they need to field may be never ending; and that’s why some departments are beginning to engage intelligent chat bots.

Chat bots are automated software that can quickly answer questions from employees. (They can also be used at the hiring level, to take queries from applicants before they apply for a job.) The bots may not only help alleviate the load of questions that may be bogging down HR, but also help out remote workers who don’t have physical access to the department.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to Inc. writer Avi Savar, AI company x.ai launched “Amy”—a virtual assistant that will schedule meetings automatically. Meanwhile, Hirevue is even using virtual AI to assist in the coaching of its own employees.

There’s a bright future in AI. The value of the market is projected to increase from US$8 billion in 2016 to US$47 billion in 2020, according to research firm IDC. Meanwhile, Bloomberg BNA found that according to a survey by staffing firm Randstad Sourceright of 400 global human capital leaders, almost half are buying AI software to improve their HR needs. More than 75% of those leading firms said that technology played a critical role in HR decisions.

Global Head of People Practices at Tech Mahindra, Sucharita Palepu said, “AI is helping us reimagine the employee experience; from shared services to digital self-service. There are enormous opportunities across the spectrum of HR processes and I am truly excited with the impact it would create for us.”

Whether it’s a thick stack of resumes for a new job posting or a maze of e-mailed questions on new employee health benefits, your HR employees probably need a break. Luckily, the machines are here to help.