Whether it’s developing sophisticated software solutions, safeguarding digital infrastructures, or pioneering breakthroughs in emerging fields like quantum computing, the demand for high-tech talent spans across diverse sectors.
Combined with demographic challenges, countries like Germany are facing an ever increasing skills shortage. According to a research study by Bitkom, the German IT sector suffers from a shortage of 137,000 specialists.
With AI on the rise, is there a better way to find and hire talent? Can AI replace internal recruitment teams, or the need for external agencies? Is there an AI silver bullet to “win” in the battle for talent?
AI for Talent Sourcing
AI is transforming the way we work, and it has made significant strides in the recruitment industry as well. Consequently, organizations who have a huge demand for skilled professionals are now using AI to improve their recruitment efforts.
One of the trickiest and most time consuming parts of the recruitment process is active sourcing, the act of identifying and screening candidate profiles across public and internal databases. Traditionally, recruiters have relied on manual methods to find profiles, and review resumes, cover letters, or applications. This process is time-consuming and leads to oversight due to the sheer volume of data. Additionally, this laborious process often causes delays in hiring.
With a large number of different sources such as LinkedIn, Xing, Github, Stackoverflow (just to name a few), new AI tools promise to consolidate and streamline the sourcing process. AI can efficiently process and analyze large volumes of data from various sources. Thus, it can significantly reduce the time it takes to identify potential candidates across Social Media, and other databases.
To assess the effectiveness of AI tools for sourcing tech candidates in Europe, we tested three different tools: Prog.ai, Herohunt and Loxo AI.
- Prog.ai is an AI powered recruitment platform for sourcing software engineers from Github.
- HeroHunt is an AI recruitment engine powered by GPT.
- Loxo is a recruitment CRM which also has a tool called Loxo Source that uses AI to source candidates across multiple public databases.
We focused on finding mid- to senior-level profiles for software development and DevOps engineering roles with specific stack requirements: MEAN, MERN and Python-Django. We uploaded the job description for each role to each tool, but had to manually add the must-have tech skills as well. We then ran the search across platforms such as LinkedIn, GitHub, and Stack Overflow, and for different locations (Darmstadt and Wiesbaden in Germany, and Barcelona.
From a volume perspective: The search results for locations such as Barcelona ran in the hundreds, while the results for locations such as Darmstadt were under ten. When we removed the filters for key skills, number of years of experience, numbers increased slightly but not significantly.
From a quality perspective: Amongst the 10 results for Software Engineers in Darmstadt, 6 were off the mark with irrelevant skills and 2 were junior in experience. 10 candidates could be a decent number if all of them were relevant. But the lack of volume coupled with poor quality made this search not useful.
Overall, AI tools can be a valuable tool for sourcing tech candidates in popular locations in Europe, but it is important to be aware of their limitations and to use them strategically. Because you cannot rely on the quality of matches, it requires a skilled recruiter to do the final selection.
For generic role descriptions, AI tools come up with a larger number of results. However, as soon as you introduce specific skills or skill combinations, AI fails to connect the dots and cannot infer from other experience what potential skills a candidate has. Ultimately the tools still rely on keywords appearing on candidate profiles rather than on knowledge about industries, company tech stacks and candidate backgrounds.
However, a skilled recruiter can significantly speed up their work of building candidate lists by providing accurate and detailed search criteria, and being selective about the AI tools they use.
Current state of AI-powered recruitment tools
When it comes to sourcing candidates for specialized tech roles, human recruiters still hold a crucial place in the process. While AI tools have made significant strides, they are far from being able to replace the human touch and expertise that is essential for finding the right talent in the world of technology.
1. Understanding Nuanced Skill Sets:
One of the primary limitations of AI-powered tools is their inability to grasp the intricacies of specialized roles. These roles often require candidates with highly specific skill sets that are not adequately conveyed through keywords or algorithms. Human recruiters, on the other hand, possess the ability to assess a candidate’s experience, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability, which are qualities that go beyond what AI tools can deduct from a resume or online presence.
2. Recognizing Unconventional Paths:
Talent doesn’t always follow a linear career path, and many highly skilled professionals may not have a traditional resume or extensive online presence. AI sourcing tools rely heavily on data-driven metrics and keywords, which may lead them to overlook candidates who have taken unconventional routes to acquire their skills. Human recruiters, with their ability to empathize and think critically, can identify candidates who may not fit the typical mold but possess exceptional potential and a unique perspective that can be invaluable to a tech team.
3. Adapting to Rapid Technological Changes:
The tech industry evolves at a breakneck pace, with new tools and methodologies emerging constantly. Human recruiters are better equipped to adapt to these changes and stay informed about the latest developments. They can engage in ongoing conversations with tech professionals, attend industry events, and maintain a network of contacts within the field. This knowledge is invaluable when it comes to sourcing candidates for roles that require staying on the cutting edge of technology.
AI-powered candidate sourcing tools have undoubtedly changed the recruitment process, but they come with severe limitations when it comes to specialized roles.
The tech industry’s dynamic nature, the need for nuanced skill evaluation, the importance of soft skills and cultural fit all underscore the indispensability of human recruiters in the hiring process.
Although in its infancy, AI technology is evolving fast and it will be interesting to see how these tools become a companion for recruiters in finding profiles and reaching out to candidates. In other words, AI becoming a recruiting co-pilot.
In an ideal world, an AI-powered tool for recruitment would:
- Provide a more concise set of search results that precisely align with the job criteria
- Analyze the candidate’s previous and current employers as well as work experience to generate a matching score, bolstering the search outcome
- Evolve into a conversational interface, showing the rationale behind the displayed results
Till this happens, the human recruiter’s role remains as critical as ever in shaping the future of tech talent acquisition. And, the collaboration between humans and machines will prevail.
acework can help you find the right talent abroad
At acework, we specialize in simplifying global recruitment for businesses. Our extensive candidate pool, proven hiring playbook, and experienced team of senior talent partners all over the world allow organizations to expand their talent pools and tap into a diverse and global workforce faster.
Our strategic advisory services enable organizations to gain deep insight into the talent landscape and develop sustainable recruitment plans that drive action. We manage the entire sourcing and outreach process, providing invaluable feedback, market insights, and a compelling employer value proposition to attract top talent.
Whether you’re building a remote-first or hybrid team or seeking talent for your local hub, acework is your trusted recruitment and talent acquisition partner.
written by Shilpa Amladi, acework’s Talent Advisor