Insights

Is AI Helping or Hurting the Recruitment Process?

April 2, 2024

AI is poised to transform almost every area of the economy. In some areas, it already has. Hiring is no different. But are today’s AI tools actually helping the recruitment process? Or are they creating busy work and distractions?

At Argentus, we love to stay on top of tech developments in the recruiting field. Any way that we can find to streamline our recruitment process—and recruitment for our clients—is music to our ears. But we’re also wary of technologies that promise the moon, without actually delivering time savings, or better qualified applicants. 

Take the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). A few years ago, we blogged about how more companies are using these systems to automatically screen applicants based on resume keywords. Sounds great, right? These systems aim to make it easier to apply for jobs, and make it easier for companies to reject unqualified applicants. It turns out, most business leaders don’t actually think that these automated screening technologies are effective. In many cases, they filter out qualified applicants for arbitrary formatting reasons. If you’ve ever tried to use these systems to apply for a job, or multiple jobs, you know how frustrating they can be. And it’s no surprise that companies using them don’t always get the best results. 

Now, AI has stepped into the ring as the new hot commodity. 

A host of AI tools have sprung up, like mushrooms in the night, promising huge results for everyone involved in hiring. There are tools that are supposed to automatically parse applications using language models (in the vein of ChatGPT, Bard and Microsoft Copilot). There are tools that automatically rewrite resumes for different job postings.

More unsettlingly for hiring managers, there are even tools that automatically apply to jobs on a candidates’ behalf. The candidate presses a button (after paying a subscription fee, of course), and dozens of applications go out. For some services, the candidate doesn’t even have to know which company they’re going to. 

A great recent article in Business Insider caught our eye on this topic, titled “The Rise of the Job Search Bots.” The author, Aki Ito, attempts to use some of these tools to see what all the fuss is about—and to see if they’re actually effective in helping her land a job. The results? 

Not so great. 

The first few services this journalist uses show promise. They show her job postings at her salary range in her location, and let her click apply. But then she signs up for a service called LazyApply (what could go wrong with that name?), which promises to send up to 750 job applications a day. After turning it on, the service applies to dozens of jobs. Then she starts noticing issues: the bot says she can speak Spanish, when she can’t. It claims that she’s African American when she’s not. It uses a 3 year old resume and cover letter. In short, it’s full of mistakes. 

The article is full of humour. And it’s definitely worth a read. but it’s also a bit of a horror story for anyone contemplating using these tools to apply for jobs. Many of these tools are grossly misrepresenting candidates. These errors can ruin a candidates’ chances of landing at a certain company, and can even hurt your reputation in the market—especially if you’re in a niche field. 

The implications for hiring.

If you’re a hiring or HR manager, you might be starting to see more of these automated job applications. In other words, more chaff to separate from the wheat. We’re quickly entering a world where there’s no guarantee that the person sending you a resume has even heard of your company. In fact, there’s no guarantee that the resume has been sent by a person at all. 

There’s a larger dynamic at play here, and it’s one that pops up every few years. New tools arrive that make applying to jobs easier. Candidates respond by applying to more jobs. Companies need new tools to manage all the applicants. So they buy software that promises to more efficiently screen the applicants. Candidates have a lower hit rate on their job applications, so they apply to more jobs.

Rinse and repeat. 

We’re in an AI job searching arms race, and it’s one where humans are playing less and less of a role. But if AI tools are writing resumes and sending them to companies who are screening them using AI tools—in other words, if recruitment turns into robots writing resumes for other robots to read—is there any point to it? Is any of it leading to productive work? Is any of it saving time, or is it just increasing the amount of noise in the system? 

Don’t get us wrong, AI will have a role to play in recruitment. At Argentus, we’ve been experimenting with AI for research, for formatting documents, in other words cutting down on some of the grunt work involved in recruiting. And we’re excited to see how these tools develop. But any time a recruiting solution takes the human out of the process of actually considering candidates, it won’t get results. 

The fact is, recruiting is hard, and it always will be. That’s because it involves people, with all of their complex motivations, abilities, and cultures. Just as finding your dream job is hard work, hiring the best is hard work too. Recruiting high performers involves tons of shoe-leather work to identify the right people in the right market. It involves deeply understanding their career goals and aspirations, and evaluating their skills beyond what they—or an AI tool—might put on a resume. In practice, it involves conversations. Lots and lots of conversations. 

Technology can improve the recruitment process, but it’ll never make it easy. And whether you’re hiring or looking for a job, you should always be skeptical of any solution that claims to make it easy. 

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 


That’s our take, but what do you think? Have you found any success with these AI tools in your own recruitment or job searching? Let us know in the comments! 

And if you’re hiring for a role in supply chain, procurement, logistics, operations, project management or change management, and looking for the human touch—reach out to Argentus! Call 416 364 9919 or send an email to recruit@argentus.com.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

You might also like…

“Ghost Jobs” Could Soon be a Thing of the Past

“Ghost Jobs” Could Soon be a Thing of the Past

Have you ever applied to a job posting and wondered whether the job actually exists? You’re not alone. Now, the Ontario Government has announced new rules to end the practice of posting “Ghost Jobs,” and give job seekers more transparency throughout the hiring process.

read more

Sign up for Argentus’ Market Watch newsletter

It only takes a moment. You’ll receive low-volume, high-impact market insights from the top specialty Supply Chain recruiters including: Salary Information, Supply Chain industry trends, Market Intelligence, personal branding tips and more.