In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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AI is taking the tedium out of recruitment

Will 'bots be taking over the world of headhunting?

When recruitment firm Randstad Hong Kong invested in the AI chatbot Wade & Wendy through its Randstad Innovation Fund this year, the goal that they had in mind was to eliminate the time consuming administrative components of recruitment. Randstad is currently piloting programmes that automate some of the recruitment processes in its Southeast Asia operations.

“AI will take on a crucial role in the automation of simpler tedious tasks such as applicant profiles, processing applications and organising interviews,” said Natellie Sun, managing director at Randstad Hong Kong.

Wade is a chatbot that serves as a personal career guide and offers career advices based on a jobseeker’s skills. Meanwhile, Wendy is an AI chatbot recruiter that joins hiring teams to automate many of their top-of-the-funnel recruiting efforts. Drew Austin, CEO of Wade & Wendy, reckoned that the response to the chatbot has been positive inspite of fears that AI will make recruitment professionals obsolete. “As organisations become increasingly comfortable with bringing AI into the workplace, we’ll see a huge reliance on chatbots to automate many repetitive tasks. People will have more bandwidth to do the more human and cognitive intensive tasks,” he said.

Another firm embracing such a technology leap is recruitment agency Hays where Natural Language Generation (NLG) AI is utilised. From piles of resumes, NLG outlines the best fit for the role at hand, freeing the recruiter of tasks like poring over a wider pool of applicants who may not be suitable. The company has also enlisted the help of an external organisation with expertise in the area to ensure this relatively novel approach delivers on its promise.

“The early signs are that it works,” said Alistair Cox, chief executive officer at Hays. “Our consultants are freed up to concentrate on building relationships with their clients and candidates.”

Adam Johnston, managing director at Robert Half Hong Kong, said the boons of AI make its adoption a must for firms who wish to remain competitive, but a complete machine takeover of the industry remains an unfounded fear. “Whilst AI is a powerful tool to find and identify potential candidates with particular skills, it doesn’t cover the entire hiring process,” he said. “Assessing the attitude in the interview and corporate culture fit, negotiating remuneration, and persuading candidates to accept a job offer are all examples of where human interaction and judgement are crucial,” he said. 

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