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The Age of Algorithms

November 27, 2017

Discover what the future holds for business leaders when it comes to algorithms, automation and artificial intelligence in the recruitment process.

The new world of algorithms, automation and artificial intelligence is beginning to excite business leaders around the world. Like other industries, mundane and resource-consuming tasks in recruitment are being relinquished to automated processes that save time and money. While algorithms will never replace the human touch, as technology evolves algorithmic platforms will improve and even hold the promise of self-learning capabilities, opening up many new doors.

Automation and artificial intelligence

People often ask how algorithms work. Basically, like a recipe has ingredients, an algorithm has inputs. Algorithmic platforms respond to trigger points, which instruct the next step in a procedure. For example, a recruiting software as a service (SaaS) platform will learn that if X million companies experience a certain scenario, a probable outcome will occur — essentially checking against specific values while asking itself what has been learned over a set amount of time. It knows that if you do this, then that will happen and, therefore, can suggest how best to work towards a positive result.

With the advent of artificial intelligence, platforms will also increasingly be able to respond to change. This means that while algorithms today respond to trigger points when performing tasks, development of artificial intelligence will allow a system to understand that those tasks change over time and then have the ability to alter itself to deliver a required outcome.

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As the landscape moves forward, it’s important to distinguish between automated tools and true artificial intelligence algorithms, which constantly learn and expand. Soon there will be a new world of task-based AI enabling us to truly push the grunt work that no one wants to do to machines.

Concerns and risks

Aside from the benefits algorithms offer various aspects of recruitment, they are not without their faults. An algorithm is only as good as the data it’s given and the way that data is interpreted — something especially pertinent in recruitment. For example, algorithms are unable to detect certain outliers. If you look at an algorithm, it’s built around the median value of something. However, there are always extreme outputs — or people, in the case of recruitment — that fall outside of the norm.

If recruiters rely on current algorithms throughout the entire hiring process, certain people might fall outside of the parameters and opportunities could be missed. If you’re looking for exemplary staff with a very different skillset, you’re never going to find them with just an algorithm. There’s still that human touch required because, while automation and algorithms work wonders in certain scenarios, there are other areas they can’t fully deliver on.

Future possibilities

Today’s algorithms are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s to come. As technology progresses and as society evolves, more data will become available, making better, data-driven decisions possible. In the future, some of the private data that’s currently behind closed walls will open up. These changes are starting to transpire through social media openness and new technological innovations, like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, both of which have the ability to make decisions based upon the information sources they’re connected to.

When those walls come down, existing data will be combined with deeper data to build forward-looking thoughts into what’s going to happen — not only in recruiting but also in much more of our day-to-day lives. We’re only at the beginning of what’s available. Over the next five or six years there will be some really interesting tech that comes out and some seriously advanced math that help us make all sorts of decisions.

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Tim Griffiths
Tim Griffiths is CTO and co-founder of automated candidate referencing solution Xref. Headquartered in Australia, Xref has expanded into APAC, Europe, the U.S., and Canada. Tim is an MBA qualified technologist with over 20 years’ experience.

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