Given the immense focus on the use of AI among enterprise organizations for talent management, it’s relatively easy to find reports examining the perspectives of HR leaders and C-suite executives regarding the promise of AI when it comes to improving recruiting efficiency and talent outcomes. While most leaders are optimistic, especially when it comes to AI’s ability to eliminate redundant, time-consuming tasks and mitigate hiring bias, others profess that they lack the volume and quantity of data, not to mention the budget, needed to implement AI-driven approaches.
As executives continue to debate how best to integrate AI into their processes, GR8 People wanted to better understand the opinions of tomorrow’s HR leaders—those who will be managing talent management practices as AI matures, having finally been “perfected” through widespread adoption and use. To capture these perspectives, we moderated a roundtable discussion with graduate students pursuing an advanced degree in human resources management at a major Philadelphia university.
Among the key insights GR8 People gleaned through the discussion session and accompanying workbooks:
• Talent acquisition should proceed cautiously with certain aspects of AI for recruiting. The students we spoke with were roughly split in terms of the use of AI to assess candidates via both resumes and video interviews. Slightly more than half indicated that they do mind these practices, though most say they would still be willing to apply, especially if it’s for a job they really want.
At the same time, several students were quick to point out that these technologies might inadvertently hinder otherwise successful applicants. “What if someone is nervous and really uncomfortable during a video interview? I think this is an example of the wrong way to implement AI.”
• AI does offer significant potential to improve the candidate experience, though primarily through personalization. While AI for candidate assessment may pose challenges in the minds of students, using AI to deliver a more personal candidate experience is viewed quite favorably. Participants agreed that being served job recommendations matching their skills and interests when they visit a career website or talent community portal is a highly welcome application. “Tell me that I’m a match before I take the time to apply.”
In addition, personalized career content, automated communications/status updates and chatbots to answer basic questions were also cited as positive uses of AI across the hiring process—perspectives in keeping with those that large-scale job seeker surveys have revealed over the past few years.
• Technology may be driving HR’s future, but the people aspect remains extremely important. This was evident across several discussion topics but particularly in relation to practice areas and career paths. For instance, students readily identified people analytics and HRIT as the practice areas that offer the greatest opportunities in the future, but they were most likely to cite training and development, followed by performance management, as the most attractive career paths. As one participant commented, “Training and development appeals to me because I enjoy watching others excel at their jobs and being the person that helps them develop the skills required to succeed.”
Likewise, when asked about how they would go about finding a job after graduation, the resources that rose to the top are those that rely on networking and developing relationships, including LinkedIn, referrals from someone at the company and internships or co-ops.
While the roundtable explored a broad range of topics and questions, it was clear by the end of the discussion that students are excited by the possibilities of AI and its continued influence on the profession. However, the biggest takeaway for those seeking to understand tomorrow’s HR leaders is the emphasis they place on human connection and putting people first as essential aspects of effective talent management practices.
Look for GR8 People’s forthcoming white paper, Brave New World of HR, this January. We’ll present the most significant technology trends and implications based on industry research as well as the perspectives of HR students and professionals.