AI versus Human – should we love it or fear it?

June 10, 2020by Melania

The idea for this article came to me while writing about the advent of the artificial intelligence (AI) inside the HR profession as a versatile tool we use or wish we used, especially in administration and recruitment. And I wanted to stop and explore more in detail if and how AI and Human can work together in a way which ensures that the output quality increases.

To start with Admin, I must say I was very happy to see Arya, the AI working for the Provident HR team, developed by Aggranda on a UIPath platform. Arya can perform without tiring, complaining or making mistakes, some of the tasks that an HR admin officer normally performs. And I could not stop thinking that – should an organization wish to implement such a solution – it will be met with garlic and crosses from the existing HR Admin team, who will instantly fear that the robot will take their jobs.

And I’d like to argue on that, as I believe that not only it will never take the job of a human but on the contrary it will help make it better and nicer. Show me an HR Admin officer who would rather write 20 labor contracts and put in each one the name of the new employee, their address, their social security info and a million other such details instead of using that time which becomes free as the robot is doing it to sit down and have a nice chat with the new employee and make them feel welcome on their first day!

Or, if we look at the wide range of papers that the employees might ask from HR Admin (such as certificates attesting that they are employed, that they are paid this amount as salary, that they are insured etc.) who in HR Admin would not rather use those 10 minutes it would take them to make the paper to ask the employee how they are and how they’ve been and to find out if there are updates in his/ her life and interests and motivation. That is most critical for understanding and taking the pulse of the organization constantly and much more precious that replying “I will email that to you”.

So, for me, no AI will be the cause for which HR Admin team ceases to be needed, on the contrary, it frees up time so that they can interact with people and they can use that interaction to assess the state of mind of the employee. Should they seem sad or angry or preoccupied, that’s when you have time to notice it and take preemptive action. This was my experience with all the HR Admin teams I worked with, that they were extremely connected to the reality and to what the people wanted, thought or feared. And they knew before anybody else if someone is considering leaving or if someone is looking for a job, or to make a big personal change such as working in another city or country or even getting married or having a baby.

HR should not interfere in those decisions, but it is worth noting that having the insights gives you the opportunity to prepare and to adjust, sometimes even to help when possible and to never be caught by surprise. And that is very precious and well worth the use of automation of any repetitive and boring process.

As for recruitment, I am sure the AI working for a recruitment team can successfully sort through CVs and put in front of the recruiter only those which contain the key words that the recruiter is looking for. That does not mean that the recruiter is no longer necessary, as the AI is not performing the interviews, but just easing the long and tedious task of sifting through hundreds of CVs to find the ones that match the needs of the position.

From my experience on this task, I remember vividly that for each position I had to go through a large number of CVs, the majority of which having very little or no connection to the skills or competencies or experience required in the job ad. So these days we are most fortunate to be able to entrust those long hours to the AI and use them in really discerning the motivation of the short listed candidates or their potential within the organization.

Also I would very much appreciate having the endless hours spent replying to applicants to let them know that their CV was received, but no relevant position is available currently replaced by freed hours in which to thoroughly perform background checks or to think on how to improve the selection process and to adapt it to each role. Automatization means you can delegate that task to the robot and this way, you are free to work on more complex tasks, define strategy, come up with improvement ideas, while making sure that each candidate ever applying to the organization does receive a form of feedback on it.

One thing that I would not automatize in recruitment though is not only the relationship with the candidate throughout the interviewing stages, but also the feedback to those candidates who were not selected in the end. I strongly believe that each candidate who ever meets anyone from the organization becomes automatically a brand ambassador and it is the team’s role to create an experience that they will speak positively about. Therefore, I always insisted on reaching out to the shortlisted candidates individually and offering them real feedback, speaking honestly about the reasoning behind the selection. Not only that is something rarely happening in the market, therefore easily creating a WOW experience for the candidate, but also it can start a relationship in which further on the rejected candidate can be approached for a different position or, like my latest experiences, recommended other candidates when possible.

So yes to the AI, yes to delegating repetitive and boring tasks, yes to solutions provided timely and efficiently, as befits good professionals. No to replacing people with robots, or ever forgetting to show empathy, compassion, care and respect, or becoming just administrative or executive. Understanding their true role in the organization is to rise above the nitty-gritty tasks and manage situations and adapt strategies is the true mark of any worthy HR.

Links/resources: More about Arya:


Melania is a graduate of Communication and an HR professional with 20 years of experience in PR and HR. Her areas of expertise focus on employer branding and all matters related to labor law, such as organizational transformation, restructuring, job grading and change management.