Artificial intelligence is at work in your life in all kinds of ways, from providing driving directions on your smartphone to recommendations of shows you might like on Netflix. Here's another way: your job search.
Increasingly, companies are using AI in the screening and hiring process, and that means the way you look for and land a job needs to evolve as well. According to a recent Korn Ferry Global survey of hiring professionals, 63% said AI has altered the way recruiting is done within their organization. Further, nearly half of the respondents said it is making their jobs easier, including giving them valuable insights about candidates they hadn't had access to before.
That last point is key, especially considering that the average job posting today garners an exhaustive 250 resumes, according to recruiting and job-review site Glassdoor. Stories of resume "black holes" abound where job seekers apply for a position online, never to hear another word. Breaking through that much competition takes more than a sharp resume with a few well-placed keywords. It takes an understanding of how companies are using AI to aid their search, and knowing the kind of information that prompts them to decide who gets hired.
It first helps to understand what AI is and how it's being utilized by recruiters. Simply put, AI is technology that enables a computer system to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as decision-making, visual perception and translation between languages.
Lisa Rangel is the founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes and a former recruiter herself. She says the introduction of AI into the job search means that companies are looking at a candidate's entire online presence and communication exchanges on LinkedIn and Twitter, among others — and not just their resume — and are using that information to parse out whether he or she would be a good fit.
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"AI is allowing companies to be more proactive by scouring the internet for information," she says. That includes public profiles such as those on LinkedIn, but it also includes any articles or blog posts someone may have written or if they've spoken at an industry conference.
"The better a candidate is at having a good online presence, the easier it is for recruiters using AI systems to get information about you or to seek you out," Rangel says.
This last part often gets overlooked when people aren't in job-seeking mode. "You don't simply want to pay attention to how you appear online when you're actively looking for a job," she says. AI allows company recruiters to define the kinds of candidates they're looking for in a particular role and then find matches for those qualities. Having a current, robust online presence allows those companies to find you even if you're not looking.
One common move that experts caution against is stuffing a resume full of keywords that you think a recruiter will like. "I call it the gamification of resumes," says Gabriel Fairman, CEO of Bureau Works, a language translation company that uses AI to match translators to the digital content companies post. "Once you know how to game the system with keywords, you can get through the screening process, but it's not a good indicator of whether that's the right job for you," he adds. That's not to say keywords are useless, but like anything else in the professional world, they need to be used smartly and with purpose.
Here, experts give some helpful job-searching tips in an increasingly AI-centric world:
Stay on top of your online presence. It sounds commonsense, but make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and has your contact information. Rangel says she often sees resumes that omit that crucial piece of information. "Don't make it more difficult for people to find you," she adds. Similarly, make sure all your online settings are not switched to private.
Use keywords correctly. If the job posting is looking for someone with experience in content marketing, be sure to have content marketing and not content creation or some other phrase on your cover letter and resume. It's not a guarantee you're going to get called for an interview, but not having the exact wording from the job posting will decrease your chances of even making it to the next round.
Become a voice in your field. Something as simple as adding an insightful comment to a LinkedIn post will expand your online presence and help to amplify your voice. When you attend a work-related conference, add something about it to your profile or Tweet about it. AI algorithms are designed to capture information about these events and can help to set you apart from the crowd.
Get comfortable on camera. Some companies are relying less on resumes and more on videos and digital interviews to find their next hire. That's why experts say it's important to invest time practicing speaking comfortably and confidently on camera.
Fairman of Bureau Works says every candidate that applies for a job at his company has to submit a one-minute video where he or she explains a bit about themselves and why they want to work there. Doing so, he says, gives him a better feel for what a person can bring to the company than what he has typically found on a resume.
Pymetrics, a New York City-based company that specializes in using AI in recruitment, works with companies to assess candidates through a series of behavioral science-based tools. They use AI to review the answers and compare the results to those of successful performers in the same role at the company where the candidate is applying. So, a human is still the assessor, but uses a machine learning algorithm to assist in decision-making.
Company CEO and co-founder Frida Polli believes this is the way more companies will be recruiting in the future, because it eliminates natural human biases in the interviewing and hiring process.
It's unlikely that AI will ever completely eliminate humans from the job-hiring process, but it is dramatically changing the landscape. The more you know how to leverage this technology in your job search, the sooner you'll find the position that's the right fit for you.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.