Over the last five years, I’ve been putting AI to work to improve the world of online recruitment for those who need it most: job seekers.
To some, this might seem counterintuitive. AI often conjures up images of huge databases and thousands of lines of complex code. It’s often perceived as a dry, intimidating topic. What many don’t realize is that AI has a very human side, and it makes a great wingman.
Already, many companies have an online presence that includes content management systems embedded with AI. When a job seeker uploads their resume, it enters the company’s database and is automatically scanned by its applicant tracking system (ATS) when new positions open.
I believe AI in job search can — and should — go further. To put it simply, AI can help you speed date open positions to find your next job.
THE MARRIAGE OF AI AND JOB SEARCH
AI is alive and well in the realm of dating. People who sign up on sites like Tinder don’t just educate the platform about the kind of person they’re looking to connect with. They also share more granular insights through their search patterns, their connection requests to others on the site, and the messages they respond to (or ignore).
It doesn’t take long for the dating platform to become proactive and accurate when it comes to sending you suggestions about who to connect with. It already knows you may be interested in those individuals. Ultimately, it’s up to you to act responsibly and decide whether you’ll play the hand AI deals you, but it takes away much of the initial guesswork. The same concept applies to job search when AI is used effectively.
ELIMINATING FALSE POSITIVES
Most people who sign up on an online dating site looking for love probably feel some trepidation. They’re putting themselves out there, allowing themselves to be vulnerable, and inevitably opening themselves up to rejection.
It’s much the same for online job seekers. They research first, then approach prospective employers. They submit their resumes hoping to receive favorable responses, but they’re mentally preparing themselves to be brushed off or ignored. The best job boards make intelligent use of AI to auto-refine and filter the company-candidate matchmaking process to lessen the possibility of either party wasting the other’s time and encountering disappointment.
This job search-Tinder comparison is a fun one, but I would also emphasize that AI in job search isn’t simply about “people swiping.” Advanced AI-based recruitment platforms process millions of data points responsibly to deliver results that have relevance and meaning.
GET IN THE GAME
It takes many job seekers some time to mentally get on board with this approach. Embracing AI-enabled job search requires a leap of faith.
It’s ok to be cautious when using these new tools. But holding back about who you really are and what you’re looking for is likely going to result in you drawing the short straw. The more you trust the tools to do the background crunching for you, the more rewarding the outcomes.
Job boards are using AI to do more than simply capture and analyze your basic resume data like education, qualifications, and work experience. You get a chance to complete activities and answer some questions. AI gets to work in the background, gathering and analyzing your behavior—everything from your mouse clicks to reaction speeds. It then crunches the millions of data points it’s collected and creates a personal profile about you that includes things that don’t appear in a regular resume, such as your personality, longer-term life goals, and the type of work culture you’d flourish in.
The more you reveal about your career ambitions and personality, the better your chances of matching with companies and roles where you’d be a good fit. The process is entirely reciprocal. The more you share, the better AI will work for you.
For many, this is still something of a mental barrier to overcome at first. But the rewards can be far greater than those that come from hours of wasted time and effort spent trawling through job postings or performing internet searches for positions based on one-dimensional search criteria.
When used effectively, AI can reward job seekers with a newfound sense of control. It can put the power to own and steer their career path into their hands. AI should be used to deliver far more unbiased and meaningful results than jobseekers would get from simply typing “jobs near me” in a Google search and spending hours sorting through the results to find a decent fit.
Part of owning your role in the relationship means being diligent about data stewardship. You need to ensure your resume is always up to date and accurately reflects what you’ve done and where you’re trying to go. This will educate AI and provide you with better matches. If you don’t do that, it’s like poor dental hygiene. If you never brush your teeth, you can’t really get upset with your dentist if you have a cavity.
Applying AI in job search the right way injects a much-needed dose of humanity into the process. It gives job seekers an additional level of protection against rejection. More importantly, it prevents them from taking on a role in a company where the corporate climate and culture are at odds with their personal and professional values.
Most job seekers understand that it’s not just about where you work. It’s about how you work within the company. Doing your job in an office with a city view or remotely in the comfort of your home means nothing if you’re in the wrong position or culture.
Gergo Vari is Founder and CEO of Lensa, a job board built on technology that puts people first