At Indeed's Leadership Connect Recharge event, AI and data expert Sol Rashidi encouraged talent leaders to embrace their essential role in integrating AI and recruiting.

Key Takeaways

  • While human resources (HR) and talent acquisition (TA) aren’t AI-based roles, Rashidi says talent leaders should take advantage of the opportunity to leverage AI.
  • Ask software vendors which platform features are actually AI and why, as well as whose data the system uses to operate, and adopt any new AI recruiting tools mindfully. 
  • Humans are still critical guardrails to ethical AI use — especially those in TA and HR — because they know their business better than any machine.

“I’m in recruitment — how do I figure out AI?”

At Indeed’s recent Leadership Connect Recharge event, an attendee asked AI and data strategist Sol Rashidi how they can monitor the performance of new AI recruitment tools with their limited experience and background. After all, talent professionals aren’t data scientists.

Rashidi — a self-described “recovering C-suite exec” from companies such as Estée Lauder, Sony Music and Merck, who helped launch IBM’s Watson AI in 2011 — delivered the event’s keynote, discussing the role HR and TA play in a time of technological disruption.

Her answer? While your job description may not necessarily include AI, it can be incredibly valuable to learn how to harness this advancing technology, both for the company and your own personal growth. 

“If [your employer has] abdicated that responsibility to you, consider it an honor,” Rashidi says. “You're the business user — you know your space better than anyone else.”

Here are six strategies Rashidi shared to help talent leaders navigate the growing pains of evaluating and deploying AI recruitment tools. 

Some quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Leadership Connect Recharge is an annual event hosted by Indeed to allow talent leaders to take a break from the day-to-day and connect with their peers. This year’s event drew 32 attendees from 12 industries employing more than 2.7 million people. If you’re an HR or TA leader at the VP level or above, learn more and apply to join the Indeed Leadership Connect community.

Six Smart Strategies for Implementing AI Recruitment Tools

1. Learn how to identify what is and isn’t AI.

With many companies rushing to implement the latest AI technology, it’s important to realize that not all AI recruiting platforms are created equal. In some instances, the technology may not even be AI at all.

“Everyone is calling their product AI. They are putting a logo on it and charging you the premium. Don't fall for that trap,” Rashidi says. 

But how do you tell the difference as a talent leader? 

Try using this AI flowchart originally published by journalist Karen Hao in MIT Technology Review. It uses five simple questions to help determine if a tool is really using machine learning: Can it see? Can it reason? Can it hear? Can it read? Can it move? The answers will clarify what kind of tech you’re dealing with.

2. Don't succumb to FOMO.

Insurance, manufacturing, education — there are so many industries that are still getting started [with AI]. Be deliberate; be curious. You have time.

Sol Rashidi, AI and data strategist

When adopting new AI technology, you can’t compare your team to the Metas and other massive tech companies that have been working with it for years. Take your time choosing AI recruitment tools that work for your company or team’s needs, and then support adoption gradually.

“Insurance, manufacturing, education — there are so many industries that are still getting started,” Rashidi says. “Be deliberate; be curious. You have time.”

3. Reevaluate your current recruiting tools.

“If you're going to hang a painting on a wall, why use a sledgehammer when a hammer does the trick?” Rashidi says. 

In other words, before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new AI-powered recruiting platform, look at what you already have first. Is there embedded technology you’re not taking advantage of yet or that you could use more effectively? 

If it’s simply a matter of needing to gain recruiter buy-in on existing AI recruitment tools, purchasing new ones likely won’t help. Instead, focus on maximizing the impact and adoption of the tools already at your disposal.

4. Ask vendors the right questions.

When exploring new recruiting technology options, Rashidi recommends asking vendors to speak with their solution architect, solution engineer or presales engineer — “the people they don't put front and center” — to ask which features of the platform are and aren’t AI. Then, dig in deeper: For features they identify as AI, have them walk you through why it is AI.

Next, ask whose data they need for the machine to run. “If it's AI-based, it already has some context,” Rashidi says. “But if they need your information, they are flying the plane while building it.”

Last, ensure you understand the support and maintenance requirements: What will I have to do to govern this new AI recruitment platform? How manual is it going to be? 

“If it's truly AI-based, it should not require too much manual intervention or more oversight than what was reported,” she says. “But always ask, ‘How are these numbers generated?’ Just be curious.”

A graphic which summarizes Sol Rashidi's session on AI using hand-drawn words and images. It is titled Your AI Survival Guide.
ImageThink created live “graphic recordings” that summarize each session with words and images, including this illustration outlining Rashidi’s keynote.

5. Lean on your new hires as change agents. 

New hires inherently bring a fresh perspective, approaching work without the same opinions or biases that others may have after years of working with your organization. With this in mind, Rashidi suggests relying on your new hires for objective opinions on your current recruitment technology and processes. Because they haven’t yet acclimated to “the way things are always done,” they might be able to pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

“If changes need to be made for the sake of cultural and relevancy ROI, it’s time to use these change agents because they’re probably going to see something that the organization hasn’t,” she says.

6. Prioritize progress over perfection.

Rashidi suggests starting your journey to adopting AI recruitment tools by picking one process that shapes your day-to-day and automating it.

She shared some tools that she uses herself: One is Magical, a Google Chrome extension that allows you to create and retrieve written templates. This saves her hours in responding to messages each week. There are also many Chrome extensions that scan and summarize articles so you can quickly glean vital information or decide which ones you’d like to read in full.

Humans Make AI and Recruiting Work

“Context is a very difficult thing for machines to understand right now,” says Rashidi, emphasizing that human cognitive abilities are still essential to the responsible, effective use of AI

She recounts a personal experience with AI run amok: After discovering a strange and obviously AI-generated article online about her husband (that contained her name and numerous inaccuracies), she contacted the company that published it. Rashidi found out it was working with an SEO-based partner that used AI to produce 100 industry-related keywords and then generate seven articles per keyword. While the company saw considerable increases in website impressions and leads, its lean five-person marketing team didn’t review the keywords or articles before publication.

By the metrics, the company in question had succeeded. But the consequences could’ve been disastrous, and that’s just one article out of hundreds they published without oversight. What if the inaccuracies had defamed Rashidi’s career?

“That is why you are important,” Rashidi says. “A machine doesn’t know your business — it is still learning.”

For more tips, check out Sol Rashidi’s book, “Your AI Survival Guide: Scraped Knees, Bruised Elbows, and Lessons Learned from Real-World AI Deployments.”

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