An older man sits at a table in the front room of a deli. The man has white hair and a graying beard and he wears a dark blue button-up shirt. He has one hand on the keyboard of a laptop and the other held to his chin in deep thought. Next to the laptop is an open binder filled with pages of text. Behind the man are glass-fronted display cases filled with slices of deli meat and a glass-fronted refrigerator filled with wheels of cheese.
The hiring process includes many time-consuming and repetitive tasks. Using AI to automate those tasks allows you to focus on considering the strongest candidates. — Getty Images/Maskot

As with many other business processes, artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the way many employers approach recruitment and hiring. Automating certain parts of the candidate sourcing and vetting process can save valuable time and offer an improved experience for both small businesses and their potential candidates.

“AI frees up time for recruiters to focus on meaningful interactions, which are crucial in winning at hiring,” said Thad Price, CEO of Talroo and ReadySetHire. “It's not about replacing human decisions but enhancing them with data that can improve a business's outcome and reduce hiring friction.”

How AI can help with recruitment and hiring

Using AI to help draft job descriptions and marketing collateral for open positions is one of the simplest and most useful applications for this technology. However, AI’s power goes far beyond these time-saving tasks.

Here are a few additional ways to integrate artificial intelligence into your hiring process to find the best employees.

Source candidates for your open roles

Many small businesses do not have access to a database of candidates to choose from when their initial job notice gets little traffic. As a result, they may search for candidates online themselves or take a chance on someone who is not right for the job. Both of these options can be time-consuming and a waste of resources.

AI tools like Ideal, LinkedIn Recruiter, and Workable can save valuable time by scanning job sites to find candidates who meet the specific criteria of your job posting.

“Although AI shouldn’t be used to make the final call in recruitment and hiring decisions, it can help find top talent that otherwise wouldn’t make the shortlist,” said Nadia Alaee, a Senior Director of Human Resource Business Partners at Deel. “With the time saved, hiring teams can focus more on developing strategic initiatives and building a positive candidate experience.

[Read more: 4 Effective Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage AI]

Perform more accurate, faster screening

Traditional ways of narrowing down a field of candidates, such as resume screening, phone interviews, and reference checks, are not only time-consuming but aren’t always meaningful ways of predicting performance.

AI-powered tools like Beamery, Impress AI, and Pymetrics can streamline your screening process. Chatbots, for instance, can filter out spam and handle initial interviews, and AI-administered skill assessments can easily match candidates with open positions by measuring current knowledge and ability.

Richard Walker, CEO of York Solutions, said his company uses AI to assess the required technology skills for the job and assist recruiters in evaluating candidate responses.

“We … use AI to not only create the quizzes for candidates, but … also … to evaluate written responses, including programming assignments, to determine if the work was done correctly,” he added.

Streamline candidate communications

Automated scheduling and personalized communications can improve the recruitment experience and boost engagement. From scheduling interviews to sending automatic status updates to candidates, automated AI-driven tools reduce repetitive tasks, saving your team valuable time to focus on the “human” elements.

Some tools to consider for this purpose include GoodTime, HeyMilo, and ParadoxAI, as well as built-in AI features in mainstream email platforms like Gmail.

“These tools can help streamline processes such as sending personalized candidate rejection letters efficiently, ensuring professionalism and empathy are maintained,” said Price.

[Read more: Best Applicant Tracking Systems for Small Business Recruiting]

Human expertise [is critical to] maintaining a balanced approach when using AI.

Nadia Alaee, Senior Director of Human Resource Business Partners at Deel

Reduce bias in your hiring process

Avoiding unconscious bias throughout the recruitment process requires an intentional effort to ensure fair practices.

Bias elimination starts with identifying inherent structural biases within your company. Writing inclusive descriptions using a tool like Textio can help you focus on skills and appeal to a more diverse audience.

Additionally, programs like TestGorilla and Vervoe can help small businesses reduce bias by assessing candidates based on skills rather than strictly on their resumes.

“Evaluations are more fair and consistent when analyzing each candidate in the hiring process based on the same criteria,” noted Alaee.

Best practices for AI-enhanced hiring

Based on his own company’s experience using AI in the recruitment and hiring process, Paul Miller, Managing Partner and CPA at Miller & Co, LLP, recommended taking time to research available solutions and request demos or trials from vendors.

“This hands-on approach will allow you to assess the features, usability, and compatibility of different tools with your organization's needs,” he said.

Miller also advised considering how a new AI-based tool will integrate with any existing HR or workforce management systems you may have.

“Seamless integration can streamline processes and minimize disruptions to your operations,” he added.

Once you’ve narrowed down your software choices, Walker said to thoroughly test the tool before deploying it.

“The last thing HR or your organization wants is a tool that defeats the purpose of finding the right talent,” said Walker.

While AI can save your company significant time and resources in the hiring process, Alaee cautioned against relying too heavily on the technology.

“With AI tools specifically, there could be misinterpretations, work that goes against company policies [or], errors due to certain biases within AI,” said Alaee. “Human expertise [is critical to] maintaining a balanced approach when using AI.”

Emily Heaslip also contributed to this article.

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