Paymaster Magazine
AI in the Recruitment Industry Title Image

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Recruitment Industry

Headshot: Adrian Baillie-StewartAuthor: Adrian Baillie-Stewart — Director and Content Strategist at Content Strategics (Pty) Ltd

Editor’s note — This is the second in a four-part series of articles published exclusively for Paymaster People Solutions. The full series of articles looks at the growing prevalence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on the Human Resources (HR) industry. This—the second article in the series—explores AI within the context of the recruitment industry. The first in the series is available for your reading pleasure, here. The remaining two articles in the series will focus on the topics of AI and Training, & AI and Payroll.

Recruitment — out with the old, in with the new …and save 80% on your recruiting costs in the process

In an article published on, Louis Efron states that “corporate recruiting is broken”.[1] Efron says that when resumés are submitted through the traditional corporate pipeline,[2]

even the best resumes and most qualified candidates fall into a black hole, never to be seen again, … In fact, statistics show that 85% of applicants don’t hear back after submitting an application—and, 71% of employers claim that they can’t find a candidate with the right skill set.

AI in the Recruitment Industry IllustrationThankfully there is a growing trend for corporate recruitment departments to adapt to these changes by choosing to migrate towards newer technologies and software systems that will adequately assist with its ongoing recruitment needs. Importantly, these newer technologies and software systems include an all-essential ingredient: Artificial Intelligence (AI) functionality embedded within its core software system.

Within the context of the recruitment industry, a good definition describes AI as the process of “trying to solve [by computer] any problem that a human can solve”.[3] Importantly though, when using AI, the problem-solving process is able to be done with significantly more speed and consistency than a human would take to solve the same or similar problem.

Moreover, a key characteristic of ‘doing recruitment’ using an AI-enriched recruitment software system, is that these software tools allow “recruiters to focus their time on interviewing and closing offers”.[4] In other words, many of the tedious processes reminiscent of the traditional recruitment pipeline are now rapidly being done away with. This facilitates a significant general improvement to the overall recruitment process and it excites recruitment professionals — now the recruitment professional is able to truly focus on performing job tasks that are directly related to the enjoyable aspects of selection and placement of new employees. Far less time is spent on administration and laborious time-wasting tasks. Ian Hurst, Managing Director of Paymaster People Solutions, professes that he now spends not more than “half an hour on an interview (that would have taken 2 hours) because the routine questions have already been asked and answered before I get to meet with the candidate.” Hurst makes it clear: “I am saving 1½ hours for every interview that I am engaged in — this is a significant productivity improvement for me.”

AI in the Recruitment Industry IllustrationCompared with former traditional recruitment processes, candidate-screening and engagement have seen a significant change in the way these are now being done. Companies have begun to “test candidates by having them interact with a chat box or AI tool, answering common candidate questions about the role while also asking for feedback and information about the candidate.”[5] Similarly, during candidate engagement, once job-seekers have applied for a job vacancy, they have traditionally received little to no communication from the employer. With AI however, an automated engagement process is initiated — a process that goes well beyond standard automated emails or messaging workflows that have become so characteristic of your standard marketing-type software service. For recruiters there is much excitement because AI promises to offer real-time, unique engagement opportunities that best-fit individual candidates.
To illustrate the truly progressive (cutting-edge) side of the capabilities of the latest recruitment software tools, Tess Taylor–writing for HR Dive—states that embedded AI “is being used to scan through other aspects of candidate information, such as their social media content, their facial expressions, even their work samples to identify top candidates”.[6] This illustrates just how radical some of these newer forms of recruitment software tools have already begin to leverage AI to the absolute maximum.

AI will never fully take over — humans will always have work to do

Many people may be feeling threated by the growing phenomenon of AI and automated recruitment. This is particularly so for those recruitment professionals who suspect that their jobs are on the line. Be assured however, that the generally accepted sentiment is that “AI will never fully take over human recruitment work.”[7]

AI in the Recruitment Industry IllustrationIn Personnel Today, Cath Everett explains that John MacIntyre, Professor of Adaptive Technology and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of Sunderland, is adamant that there is “zero chance that humans will be replaced by machines”.[8] MacIntyre is of the view that “AI-based systems are great for specific tasks such as recognising patterns in data. But, unlike humans, they are unable to intelligently interpret that data, combine it with other information and make decisions on that basis.”[9] For this reason, it would seem reasonable to suggest that the growing prevalence of AI in the recruitment industry may even lead new kinds of recruitment-related jobs beginning to evolve — new jobs which current recruitment professionals might enjoy migrating towards in the not too distant future.

Writing for, Eyal Grayevsky states that AI in the recruitment industry will “automate the qualifying process and inform better hiring decisions, deliver a better candidate experience and improve brand perception, and  drive significant ROI and efficiency gains”.[10] For example, when measured using a defined set of AI processes built into Paymaster People Solutions’ software products, the company’s managing director, Ian Hurst, says that “when compared to former traditional recruitment methods, cost savings of up to 80% are now obtainable when using newer AI-enriched recruitment software and processes”.
Regarding the supremacy of human involvement in recruitment processes, Alice Weightman of Hansen Search describes the current situation being faced most eloquently, and with a decidedly positive sentiment too:[11]

…[T]here’s an art to recruitment. It’s not just about matching candidates to jobs – if that was the case the consultancy sector would have died out a long time ago. It’s about being able to accurately read a given situation to see what a client really needs, even if they don’t see it themselves yet. It’s about being able to build relationships that allow you to carefully calibrate all stages of the recruitment process to ensure the right result for all parties.

For this (and many other reasons) the future of the recruitment industry looks extremely exciting indeed. However, it all boils down to how HR professionals choose to interpret and adopt the impact of a changing HR world. At the centre of this change though, one thing is for certain: AI continues to alter how the recruitment industry functions. At Paymaster People Solutions, its progressive and forward-thinking team of HR professionals have already embraced these changes. Consequently, they are now proudly helping their clients to gradually transition towards the adoption of these changes with much excitement too.



[1] Louis Efron, ‘How A.I. Is About To Disrupt Corporate Recruiting’, Online Publication, Forbes, accessed 8 December 2016,

[2] Ibid.

[3] ‘The Definition of Artificial Intelligence’, accessed 16 November 2016,

[4] Efron, ‘How A.I. Is About To Disrupt Corporate Recruiting’.

[5] Jessica Miller-Merrell, ‘9 Ways to Use Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting and HR | Blogging4Jobs’, accessed 17 November 2016,

[6] Tess Taylor, ‘How AI and Recruiters Will Work Together in the Near Future’, HR Dive, accessed 8 December 2016,

[7] Ibid.

[8] Cath Everett, ‘Does the Rise of AI Mean the Death of the Recruiter?’, Personnel Today, 19 July 2016,

[7] Ibid.

[10] Eyal Grayevsky, ‘The Evolution of the Recruiting Industry and Where AI Fits Into the Picture’, Online Publication, Recruiter.Com, (29 August 2016),

[11] Alice Weightman, ‘Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Recruitment?’, Hanson Search, 12 August 2016,



Paymaster People Solutions (Pty) Ltd is a subsidiary of Grant Thornton Advisory Services Cape (Pty) Ltd
Grant Thornton Advisory Services Cape (Pty) Ltd is a member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd

Copyright 2016 Paymaster – Online Payroll Solutions | All Rights Reserved



Adrian Baillie-Stewart

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