The democratisation of artificial intelligence (AI) has considerably transformed many aspects of our society. One of the areas where AI is having a particularly marked impact is recruitment, and Africa is no exception to this revolution.
Africa's challenge is to create almost 450 million new jobs over the next 20 years, and AI will play a vital role in meeting this challenge, by offering the right profiles to the right companies.
Currently, 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 are struggling to find a job, with the average recruitment process taking 34 days. This process could be reduced to 9 days thanks to the use of AI, which would greatly encourage the recruitment of young people in Africa.
On a continent where the active population is constantly growing and where there are more candidates than offers, African companies are looking to exploit the potential of AI to improve their recruitment processes.
However, despite the undeniable benefits of AI in recruitment in Africa, concerns remain about its implications. Some fear that excessive use of AI will remove the human aspect of the recruitment process and encourage impersonal decisions. It is therefore essential to strike a balance between automation and human interaction to ensure a positive experience for all parties involved.
How can AI be used in the recruitment process?
One of the most widespread uses of AI in recruitment in Africa is the automation of administrative tasks. AI-powered chatbots and conversational agents* can:
- Answer candidates' questions
- Sort CVs
- Schedule interviews
- Send reminders.
These are all time-consuming and repetitive tasks that add no real value to the recruiter's job.
AI: for accelerated pre-selection
Online platforms use AI to help shortlist candidates according to specific criteria. Using algorithms, they can analyse thousands of CVs in a matter of moments, identifying the most relevant candidates for a given position. This approach facilitates the selection process and enables employers to find specific profiles more quickly.
Today's IT talent are not just looking for a job, but a mission in a company that meets their expectations. To achieve this, a company needs to personalise its recruitment and take the time to find the Talent who will feel good in the company. To facilitate this search, the company can rely on its employer brand to reflect its attractiveness and thus attract more applicants. In addition, applicants with a good knowledge of the working environment will inevitably be more interested, which will have the effect of sorting the applications because only profiles that think they are a good match for the company will send in their CVs.
Saving precious time to avoid recruitment errors
Many recruitments fail because of poor integration into the team, and the best candidate will not be the best recruit for different companies and teams!
With more time for recruiters thanks to the efficiency of AI in time-consuming and secondary tasks, these mistakes will be rarer. Time can be spent learning about the team and the potential match with the candidate.
Challenges for recruiters
One of the biggest challenges for recruiters will be to create and run communities and unite talents in order to bring together candidates with the same requirements. These communities will enable talent to exchange ideas and receive personalised advice and offers. An AI can meet this need by offering activities, webinars, etc.
It can act like an HR department trying to meet the needs of its Talents by finding ways of animating communities, with the difference that AI will be able to offer several choices, adapted to each Talent, in a matter of moments.
Recruitment today is no longer about collecting CVs and passing them on, but about making personalised recommendations to companies and providing specific feedback to candidates.
Today's AIs can sort through thousands of CVs in a matter of seconds, but the trick is to get the basic settings right so as not to eliminate the right people. The way this kind of AI works is quite simple: they are trained on thousands of databases to produce a trend and a pattern that ultimately gives us an algorithm. This algorithm is based on what it has been taught, so the same AI will not be effective in Asia and at the same time in Africa, the data being different, the markets being variable and the requirements changing, it will be necessary to succeed in collecting enough data in Africa to have a high-performance AI in this region of the world.
Access to new technologies in Africa
To go into more detail, one of the major challenges for recruiters on the world's second most populous continent is access to this tool. At present, less than 50% of the African population does not have access to new technologies, let alone the Internet. In some less advanced regions, access to this kind of technology is virtually non-existent. So we need to make up for this by making these technologies more accessible.
The transformation of the recruitment profession and its new added value
The soft skills part of the recruitment process will make all the difference. At present, only human beings can handle this part of the process.
The innovations resulting from the development of AI now enable recruiters to act as real advisers and personal coaches for talent.
They can take the time to understand the needs of companies and candidates, with the aim of obtaining the perfect recruitment. This involves a number of interviews and briefings, visits to the client's premises, lunches with people involved in the recruitment process, etc. More focused on the human element, the recruiter will be able to support and train talent to maximise the chances of a successful recruitment.
"AI is an opportunity for recruiters to refocus on what they do best." - Adama N'GOUIN-CLAIH DOUKOURE, country manager Anywr Ivory Coast.
Despite the automation of "primary" tasks by AI, recruiters will still need to intervene, as there are a large number of atypical profiles that an artificial intelligence system will not be able to process with as much distance and expertise as an expert. Human beings take precedence over AI, which will not (yet) be able to have this vision of candidates.
Limits and risks
As we have quickly seen, AI is limited in certain areas where a human eye is required. Their usefulness and effectiveness have been proven, saving recruiters a considerable amount of time.
Recruitment professionals will have to face up to preconceived ideas and succeed in eliminating any form of subjective selection when CVs are automatically sorted by artificial intelligence. This is a long-standing problem that cannot be resolved with the advent of a new sorting method based on averages and databases.
In addition, the problem of managing and protecting personal data is fast approaching. When thousands of items of data are processed, it is legitimate to ask how and with what safeguards will they be handled?
Is it only used for known purposes, or is it only accessible through AI and not elsewhere? There are many questions that need to be answered if we want to develop recruitment processes that are sustainable over time.
What about the training of future recruits?
Despite everything, it's hard not to think about the problems that could arise rapidly as a result of the development of AI. If we do away with all the initial stages of a recruitment process, we will soon be faced with the problem of training new recruiters.
As everyone knows, you learn to run by taking your first steps, so how can you become an experienced recruiter if the young people you are training are not doing any of the basic, recurring tasks? This will be one of the major challenges that will emerge: succeeding in training future experts by integrating the use of artificial intelligence.
Ultimately, the use of AI is an opportunity for recruiters, as it will free up their time not to reduce the number of posts but rather to recruit more intelligently. As Hamza BOUGHALEB, country manager Anywr Morocco, brilliantly put it during the webinar: "This will allow us to go after more ambitious objectives rather than reducing staff numbers", in fact, with more time and the same number of staff, recruiters and HR will be able to set themselves bigger objectives.
Watch our webinar on the subject!
To learn more, we invite you to watch the replay of our webinar "AI and its impact on recruitment in Africa".
Our country experts and digital solutions specialists answer many questions on the subject.
And if you have any questions about recruitment or international mobility, contact one of our Anywr experts for a chat!
*A conversational agent with artificial intelligence is a virtual assistant in the form of software that uses new technologies combined with natural language to provide high added-value assistance to contact centre staff.
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