One of the challenges of AI in recruiting is the fundamental fact that there’s no-one to talk to. So far, that has been considered a plus: the rush to AI tends to assume that people just get in the way and take too long to do things.
But the further we go down this road, the more we find that, as always, assumptions are misleading and sometimes dangerous.
Lydia Goutas, partner at Cornerstone Vienna and Leader of our specialization team in Financial Services & Fintech got into this at the team meeting last week.
“We were discussing an interesting article from CNN Business and Adobe Analytics,” explains Goutas. “It states that 3,000 physical bank branches in the US have closed since 2010 in the face of digitalization and mobile banking.
“You would think this could be traced to new habits of young consumers, but guess what? The consumer group that visits a physical branch most often is GenZ, the youngest. Almost three quarters of GenZ consumers visit a physical branch at least monthly.”
GenZ are the youngest cohort, born between 1995 and 2015.
According to Goutas, the European banks most advanced in digitalization are finding the same trend. There are many uncertainties in this time of transition and it appears likely that the certainty of talking to another human is re-assuring – especially in a very personal area such as your finances.
The same seems to hold true in executive recruiting – another highly emotional area. At a moment of this importance in your life, do you really want to talk to a robot?
AI has made a huge impact at the lower levels of the search business, those of identification and triage, but at leadership levels, the candidate is as curious about the company as the company is about her.
Recent studies show high-performing candidates want more face-to-face contact and more interaction with their consultant in the recruiting field. It is a reminder, says Goutas, that there is a vast gray area which will not be covered in AI because the human element is vast and subjective.
It is also, if we go back to the banking experience, a lesson in the dangers of making behavioral assumptions on the basis of age. Despite being the most digitally savvy, the youngest consumers – GenZ and Millenials – are overwhelmingly those who say physical branches are an important part of the banking experience.
“If this comes as a surprise to you,” says Lydia Goutas, “it shows a lack of customer understanding. Assumptions are always dangerous.”