How is AI being used to recruit graduates and apprentices?

Mar 1, 2023 | Research, Selection & assessment

ISE data reveals how employers are using AI and automation to recruit graduates and apprentices.

ChatGTP put the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) under the spotlight like never before. Using machine learning to respond to user questions offers enormous opportunities, but it has also sparked negative debate particularly around cheating in education.

For recruiters, could candidates turn to ChatGTP to write CVs and covering letters or practice interviews? Will it become commonplace for drafting job descriptions, coming up with interview questions or benchmarking?

Increasingly, the use of AI more broadly is gaining traction in recruitment with employers embracing automated assessments and screening as well as digital interviews. Aptitude Research reports more than half of companies are increasing their investment in recruitment automation.

Forbes highlighted the time and efficiency savings. And former ISE researcher, Nicola Thomas, explored the pros and cons for recruitment, diversity and the client experience.

So, how widespread is AI among ISE members and in the recruitment of graduates and apprentices? For the first time, our annual Student Recruitment survey asked employers about the extent AI is being used.

Who is using AI?

Our survey found that around one in ten (9%) student employers are using AI in the recruitment process.

However, different sectors utilise AI in their selection processes to varying degrees. Sector analysis showed that the Finance & Professional services sector uses AI the most, followed by Digital & IT, and finally the Health and Pharmaceuticals, and Legal and Energy sectors were found to be using AI to the same level.

For the current recruitment season, we found that the Health & Pharmaceuticals is the sector most likely to use AI. On the other hand, the sector the least likely to use AI in their selection process this year is Retail & FMCG.

How is AI being used?

We found that different organisations use AI in different parts of their selection process. The most frequently used AI tool was to pre-screen candidates and to analyse video interviews.

These were followed by using AI algorithms to analyse CVs, update candidates about where they are in the process, and finally using AI in gamified assessments.

Concerns and opportunities

Employers shared their biggest reasons for and against using AI in the selection process including whether AI perpetuates bias and doesn’t allow for cultural differences.

Among the biggest concerns were around confidence in outcomes and how it may be perceived externally among candidates. Research showed how unprepared students are for asynchronous video interviews.

Conversely, the biggest reasons for incorporating AI were to make the first stages of the recruitment process more agile and efficient, particularly in reducing initial volume of applications. The time saving benefits were also highlighted, particularly around automating assessment centre scheduling and attendance.

Sova’s Dr. Alan Bourne explains some of the benefits of AI that is applied thoughtfully and correctly in the assessment process.

It will be interesting to see how ChatGTP evolves in the world of business. We will continue to track and share how our members are using AI to recruit graduates and apprentices.

Use of technology will be one of the hotly debated topics at this summer’s ISE Student Recruitment Conference. The next annual recruitment survey will be out in the autumn.


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