Recruited by AI

If soon-to-be graduates want to land that first face-to-face interview, they'll first need to know how to impress AI-driven applicant screening platforms.
Recruited By AI

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) is disrupting virtually every industry: retail, healthcare, manufacturing. But how is it changing how companies hire new talent?

For one, AI is taking over tasks recruiters once did manually. More companies are using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort and filter candidates faster than ever before. With the typical corporate job listing attracting 250 applicants on average, an ATS can weed out unqualified candidates according to factors such as work experience, education levels, or locations. It can use algorithms to intelligently rank résumés, displaying the most qualified candidates at the top and automatically rejecting less qualified candidates—all before a human even reviews their qualifications.

Recruiters can also use an ATS to search skills and abilities by keywords to quickly identify top candidates. Candidate engagement systems such as ENGAGE Talent can even highlight passive candidates who aren’t actively seeking new positions, so recruiters can reach them at the right time. Large, established companies such as Starbucks, Boeing, and Marriott are using established platforms like Oracle’s Taleo for this type of recruitment; younger tech companies such as Airbnb, FitBit, and Snapchat use the newcomer Greenhouse.

Another way AI is being used for recruiting is for interviews—yes, your students’ next interviews could be conducted by robots. Take, for example, the platform HireVue, which can conduct video interviews with applicants, using preset questions, which users can record with a smartphone, tablet, or computer. HireVue uses voice recognition and facial recognition software to capture candidates’ personalities, moods, and facial expressions to assess if they are lying. Companies such as Unilever, Hilton, and Under Armor are using this software to determine which candidates should move to the next round.

What does this mean for business students and recent graduates? First and foremost, they must realize that, to secure a face-to-face meeting with a company’s human gatekeepers, they will likely first have to make it past AI software screeners.

How B-Schools Can Help

Getting to an interview is more likely when students have the right information in their profiles. By including keywords that match their skills to those employers are seeking, students can make their qualifications more “AI-friendly.” Many digital tools are available to career coaches and students to help improve student employment outcomes.

VMock, for example, checks for résumé standards and suggests best practices; Quinncia asks students targeted interview questions and provides feedback on their recorded responses. Our own platform, Jobscan, compares an applicant’s résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile against specific job descriptions. It also leverages AI to provide tailored recommendations on how well the application will resonate with both the recruiter and a company’s ATS, and it highlights areas to improve.

By running such application optimization reports on students’ behalf, career coaches can spend less time helping students with résumé basics such as content, design, and formatting and more time helping them with higher-level tasks such as interview preparation and salary negotiations.

In short, students must be made aware of the impact that AI and other digital technologies will have on 21st-century job searches. That means business schools must teach students to adopt other career-building strategies that will help them stand out, outside of AI-driven recruitment algorithms. For example, they should:

Ensure their résumés are keyword-optimized, so that they’ll be prioritized within the system.

Refine their professional digital footprints on platforms such as Handshake, Symplicity, and LinkedIn. Students also should Google themselves and conduct an online background check.

Write professional and tailored digital outreach—the email introduction is the new cover letter.

Network even when they aren’t looking for jobs. They should be attending face-to-face career fairs, digital career fairs, recruiter visits, and industry events.

Today, 98 percent of Fortune 500 Companies are using ATS, and more mid-sized and small companies also are adopting these platforms to streamline their recruitment. Consequently, students must become familiar with ATS and more strategic than ever in their job searches—otherwise, they risk being automatically rejected for positions for which they might be qualified.

In other words, in the future, robots won’t just be taking on more job functions—they also might be the ones deciding who to hire for them. 

James Hu is the founder and CEO of Jobscan, headquartered in Seattle, Washington.