AI Disruption and the Constant Need to Stay Relevant

How about I tell you the next time you go for a job interview, you will find a robot on the other side of the table that will evaluate your candidature and decide whether to make you an offer of employment or not… Sounds too futuristic? Think again.

Recently Unilever adopted a recruitment automation solution for campus hiring that uses AI to filter applicants across multiple stages and makes the final selection without any human involvement. This is how it works-

The applicants’ data gets pulled from their LinkedIn profiles (no application forms!) and their information is scored against the role requirements using ML algorithms (1st stage gate). The shortlisted applicants are invited for a round of gamification- online games based psychometric assessments (2nd stage gate). The applicants who pass the cut-off scores of the gaming rounds, are then sent a link for a round of video interview with a robot (3rd stage gate– yes! cognitive AI assesses their behavior, reactions, expressions, speech, etc.). Finally the candidates who pass the final video interview round are invited to collect their offer letters after a brief meeting with the HR and that is the first and the only human interaction in the process. This has enabled Unilever to cut down the time-to-hire from over 4 months to 2 weeks.

Automation of work may seem like a distant threat, but the fact is- it is happening now. A few years ago, one of the topics of discussion in every boardroom meeting was outsourcing of jobs to SE Asian countries, today the discussion is on outsourcing jobs to machines. Technology is evolving and automation of work is not limited to the manufacturing industry anymore. So, if someone’s been telling you that AI disruption is coming, they’re lying, it’s already here.

Recently, I came across another revolutionary product, Amber chatbot that basically puts a big question mark on the future of employee surveys. The chat bot is an interactive platform that offers capability across the entire employee lifecycle and measures employee engagement, performance ability (likelihood of being a HiPO), retention (likelihood to attrite), leadership potential, and so on. Unlike a traditional survey that is merely based on employees’ responses to multi-choice questions, Amber chatbot is interactive and asks questions to employees and accepts free text responses which are used to assess their behavior and sentiment in real time. The bot also modifies questions on-the-go based on the responses received; most importantly, it leverages SoR data (employee demographics, qualifications, experience, etc.) to create an all-rounded employee profile using predictive analytics. The bot creates scores (and insights) that are passed on to the managers who can then have more informed conversations with their teams.

These are just some examples of how AI is changing the way organizations are operating. With the large number of start-ups entering this space, and easy availability of resources (funds, technical skills, etc.) it is a matter of time when such offerings become scalable, and hence, cheaper than the traditional tools/resources. It is critical that we constantly upskill ourselves to create a complimentary skillset to technology in order to stay relevant. For organizations, it is imperative to stay updated with the technological advancements and continue to make investments in R&D teams to regularly revise product strategy.