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AI vs Generative AI vs Automation in talent acquisition: What you need to know

Perry SteinbergJune 27, 2023AdTechAnalyticsAwarenessConnectionQualificationResourceRetention

Artificial intelligence (AI) may conjure up images of robots overtaking society – and while that makes for great science fiction, it’s not an accurate representation of what’s actually happening. AI has been in our lives in some capacity for decades. From AI-powered chess opponents to autonomous vehicles, speech recognition software, face recognition technology, and myriad other examples, AI has been in the background of our personal and professional lives, offering support and making our lives easier (whether we realize it or not). 

Today, the conversation has taken center stage for many professionals, leading to questions about the differences between and value of AI compared with Generative AI and smart automation. What are they? How are they being used in talent acquisition today? What promise do they hold for the future of HR and talent acquisition? How can my team and I leverage them to add value to the organization?  

What is AI? 

Artificial intelligence refers to a machine’s ability to perform a specific cognitive function, such as learning, reasoning, or problem solving. It is actively used within every industry, around the world. For example, in healthcare, AI can assist with diagnoses, treatment plans, and patient engagement. In retail, AI has already shown its usefulness in demand forecasting, supply chain optimization, and customer service. 

In talent acquisition, AI can be used to deliver customized job recommendations based on a person’s behaviors, preferences, and other key data points. It also can be used to improve talent pipeline velocity, deliver relevant content to nurture talent, engage with candidates, and more.

What is generative AI? 

Generative AI is a subset of artificial intelligence with the primary goal of producing content based on a prompt. One of the most talked about generative AI solutions today is ChatGPT. For talent teams, generative AI can generate job descriptions, candidate communications, and more. It’s an exciting prospect for many teams, offering a promise of scalability and improved efficiency.  

Although the opportunity is considerable with generative AI, it should be used with caution and appropriate discretion. McKinsey & Company highlighted some of the risks associated with generative AI by saying, “Generative-AI models will confidently produce inaccurate, plagiarized, or biased results, without any indication that its outputs may be problematic. That’s because the models have been trained on the internet, which is hardly a universally reliable source. Leaders should be aware of these risks before turning to generative AI as a business solution.”

What is smart automation? 

Automation follows a specific set of rules to perform an action or a set of actions within a workflow. For example, a candidate submits an application, which triggers a confirmation notification to be sent to both the candidate and the talent acquisition professional. This action happened based on pre-defined if/then rules. 

Why is AI often referred to as automation (and vice versa)?

Often, the terms automation and AI are used interchangeably, and while they have similarities in the value they bring to talent professionals, the way they operate and the level of human intervention needed is quite different. 

Automation will perform a task, but will not provide reasoning or other cognitive capabilities. Automation requires a person to define the parameters of the action or workflow, which the program follows without deviation. This is especially helpful for repetitive tasks. AI, including Generative AI, on the other hand, requires a person to provide prompts to deliver the desired result. A person also will need to review the output from AI to ensure accuracy and infuse human empathy and personality. 

Whether you’re looking at AI, Generative AI, or smart automation, human intervention, intelligence, and authentic personality is still absolutely necessary to achieve optimal results. 

What does Symphony Talent use? 

At Symphony Talent, we continually innovate for the future of talent acquisition, which means incorporating smart automation, AI, and robust data analytics and reporting into our full talent lifecycle solutions, from awareness to retention. As the AI industry evolves to the next generation of AI capabilities, Symphony Talent Artificial intelligence for HR helps connect the right employees to the right jobs by leveraging our data to lead the way.

Data is a core tenet of a successful talent acquisition strategy, which means it’s also a core tenet of Symphony Talent solutions as well. We continue to keep an eye on the needs of our clients today (and into the future) so they always have the solutions they need to stay ahead of the competition and secure the best fit talent for their organization. 

To explore how we incorporate AI and smart automation into Symphony Talent’s ecosystem of solutions, simply reach out for a consultation … we’d love to show you! 

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