Will a robot be hiring your next employee?

The issue of whether robots can recruit better than humans is not the stuff of science fiction anymore. For quite a few years, recruiting software, (known as applicant tracking systems or ATS for short), have  been been able to search, sift and create shortlists of CVs much faster than what a human can.

But, for many years, the role of recruiting software was limited to basic CV sifting, but inevitably, HR recruiting technoloy has started to move up the food chain, and we are now seeing big data technologies that can rival humans in the quality of their recruitment decision making.

Look at Xerox, which has left a hiring robot in charge of resourcing their 50,000-strong call center jobs. Yes, Xerox execs analyzed their workforce performance data and were able to come up with a model for the ideal employee based on: their commute time, personality, and several other factors and then they designed a computer-based survey and algorithmn to assess candidates. The machine gives candidates a green for hire, a red for rejection and amber for further consultation with a recruiter. After using this system for six months, they cut their attrition rates by half and found that in these roles, robots can indeed recruit better than humans.

There is a trend within innovative and progressive HR departments to start using data and sophisticated algorithms to start making software automated hiring decisions versus human decisions based on intuition. Another example of robots recruiting better than humans is a large insurance company (reported by Bersin by Deloitte) who had based their hiring on three very outdated selection criteria. When they changed to six new selection criteria that were generated by a detailed big data tech analysis their revenues went up by $4 million within six months of implementation.

As you can see there is clear evidence showing that as long as the correct data analysis is done, hiring robots can in many areas make more effective decisions than humans. It’s clear that this is still in its early stages and these hiring robots are being deployed in isolated situations (not company wide), and in assessment situations involving basic/entry level and homogenous roles.

So, I believe that if you do have a large department of quite similar roles where you can do a statistically reliable data analysis, then now could be the time to rely less on gut instinct and think more about developing a data based, hiring algorithm using software that can enable you to make superior hiring decisions.

Roz Bahrami
Roz Bahrami
Roz Bahrami is a blogger for SkyPrep, an online training software for companies to train employees and measure results. Roz is a regular contributor to blogs related to corporate training, L&D, and HR technology. Visit my personal blog at

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