Co-Pilot or Competitor? The Impact of AI on Talent Acquisition

It’s been 18 months since the public launch of ChatGPT changed the narrative around the future of talent acquisition. Currently, the impact is mostly being felt by early-adopting enthusiasts, TA tech vendors desperately re-aligning their strategies, and a wave of new start-ups seeking the traction and funding needed to reinvent recruiting.

However, the impact will soon be felt by everyone in talent acquisition. The technology continues to improve at a startling pace, and the limitations of existing LLM interfaces are becoming irrelevant as generative AI is integrated into the software we use daily. Perhaps most importantly, there are now external pressures on TA teams to consider Gen AI more strategically. Pressure is coming from the top of organizations to drive productivity through automation, and jobseekers’ use of AI is noticeably impacting legacy recruiting processes.

Change is always challenging, but when it happens this quickly, there is a real danger that cognitive biases such as confirmation bias, optimism bias, and status quo bias can influence our thinking.

This is my biggest concern about many discussions I’m seeing regarding the impact Gen AI will have on the future of TA. If we were to plot an opinion graph that runs between “nothing is going to change” to “there will be no humans working in recruiting,” we would find a small but vocal minority at each extreme end of this spectrum. What happens is that a consensus develops around the middle of these two views. Currently, that consensus is that AI will be a co-pilot that makes people more effective but doesn’t fundamentally replace them. Often, people talk about the “boring” parts of their job being automated, leaving them time to do the interesting, high-value tasks.

I don’t know exactly what will happen, but I do know there are significant holes in the co-pilot argument. Who decides what the boring tasks and the interesting tasks are? Moreover, we are just at the beginning—what could be possible this time next year?

Consider Google’s Astra project. With the vast resources of the world’s biggest tech company behind it, the pace of innovation is staggering.

If you had shown someone this video two years ago and asked when it was likely to become reality, they probably would have said decades into the future.

The whole notion of an AI assistant is already being disrupted, and could well end up more like a interloping replacement than a friendly co-pilot

I’m not suggesting this is the end of human recruiters, but I am saying that the reality could land closer to that end of the spectrum than the current consensus thinks.

So, we need to be prepared. We need to fight cognitive bias with a mindset that is open-minded, curious, flexible, and above all, strategic. Radical change is coming, and TA needs to lead the way and shape the future, not play catch-up.

If you want to find out more about the potential for AI to disrupt Talent Acquisition then please use the link below download my free whitepaper “10 Ways AI Will Transform Talent Acquisition