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The Pros and Cons of Using AI in Life Science Recruitment

The Pros and Cons of Using AI in Life Science Recruitment


AI is becoming increasingly popular within Life Science recruitment, as it can help to automate and streamline many aspects of the hiring process, from job advert writing to employee onboarding. Whilst AI continues to revolutionise aspects of recruitment, there are some potential downsides to relying on AI too heavily in your hiring.
  • Author Company: PharmiWeb.Jobs
  • Author Name: Lucy Walters
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Editor: Lucy Walters Last Updated: 24-Apr-2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that focuses on creating intelligent machines that can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and understanding language.

AI is becoming increasingly popular within Life Science recruitment, as it can help to automate and streamline many aspects of the hiring process, from job advert writing to employee onboarding. Whilst AI continues to revolutionise aspects of recruitment, there are some potential downsides to relying on AI too heavily in your hiring.

This article explores both the pros and cons of using AI in your hiring, with advice on how to use AI tools in a way that benefits both you and your candidates.

How Can AI Be Utilised in Recruitment?

AI can be used to automate and streamline several aspects of the hiring process, including:

  • Sourcing talent
  • Screening candidates
  • Communicating with candidates
  • Creating job descriptions and job adverts
  • Assessing candidates
  • Creating recruitment marketing materials
  • Onboarding new hires, and more

The key benefit of automating the more time-consuming aspects of recruitment is that less time can be spent on administration, and more time can be invested into nurturing top talent. However, remember that in order to engage this talent, you’ll need to connect with them on a human level, and if used inappropriately, AI can be a barrier to this.

What are Some of the Pros of Using AI in Recruitment?

Save Time and Reduce Costs

HR managers reportedly lose 14 hours per week on tasks that could be automated. AI can automate many time-consuming and repetitive tasks in the recruitment process such as CV screening, candidate sourcing, and interview scheduling. This can save you a significant amount of time, helping to keep candidates engaged and ultimately reducing your time to hire.

Improve the Candidate Experience

AI recruitment tools are designed to improve the experience of both recruiters and candidates. According to research, 63% of candidates say most employers do not communicate adequately, with 50% reporting having declined a job offer due to a poor candidate experience.

AI can provide a more personalised and engaging candidate experience by using chatbots to answer questions, provide instant feedback, and streamline the application process. This is especially useful if you’re hiring lots of roles at once, and don’t have the time to communicate with candidates as efficiently as you’d like.  

You can also send automated updates on the progress of an application, ensuring all applicants have been kept informed regardless of whether they are successful. Even if one role isn’t right for them, despite them being a strong candidate on paper, having a positive experience means they’re more likely to apply for a role with you in the future.

To improve the candidate experience on PharmiWeb.Jobs, we have recently introduced new AI technology to our job board that provides candidates with more personalised job recommendations. Each week, they receive a personalised email containing job recommendations most relevant to them, based on their preferences along with their activity. This ensures your roles are being pushed in front of the right people, improving the quality of your applications and the relevancy of our emails for jobseekers.

Reduce Bias

AI can help to eliminate unconscious bias in the recruitment process by removing identifying information from CVs and evaluating candidates based solely on their skills and qualifications, ensuring a fair and unbiased hiring process.

Improve Hiring Quality

AI can improve the quality of your hires in numerous ways, from helping to you create more engaging and targeted job adverts, to analysing large amounts of data to identify the best person for the job. Improving the candidate experience also reduces drop-off rates, ultimately helping to keep top talent engaged, and ensuring you’re hiring the right person for the role.

Make Your Recruitment Advertising More Engaging

AI tools can also help you to craft more engaging recruitment advertising materials. You can copy and paste your job description into ChatGPT and ask it to transform this into an engaging job advert, or use to help you brainstorm social media marketing ideas to hit your target audience. This is particularly useful if you’re part of a small team that doesn’t have as much time to spend on crafting compelling adverts, or even the skills to do so.

What are Some of the Cons of Using AI in Recruitment?

Privacy Concerns

AI systems that use personal data to evaluate candidates must comply with privacy regulations. This can be a challenge, particularly if the AI system is not transparent in how it evaluates candidates. When using a new AI tool, ensure it is taking effective measures to protect personal data, and that applicants are clear on how their data is being collected, stored, and used. You are responsible for ensuring your activity follows GDPR and other data protection regulations.

Limited Capabilities

AI is not yet able to replicate the full range of human capabilities, such as empathy and intuition, and in most cases is designed to make data-driven decisions rather than emotional ones. It may therefore not be able to evaluate some of the critical aspects of a candidate’s suitability for a job, including things such as interpersonal skills and other soft skills that could make all the difference when deciding between two equally qualified candidates. Ensure you’re taking steps to assess a candidate’s personality as well as their skill set.

Accuracy Issues

Remember that as AI is not yet able to fully replicate human intelligence, it cannot understand data in the same way you can. For example, if AI is being used to source candidates, you may ask it to look for candidates with a specific job title or qualification. Although it should be able to pick up relevant variations, it may miss candidates with a variation it has not yet seen. The way candidates format their applications may also affect how AI is able to read their information, and unless candidates are given specific instructions on how to format their application, important information representing their suitability could be missed.

This dependency on keywords may also be picked up by candidates looking to ‘cheat’ the system into thinking they are well suited for a role even when they aren’t, so you need to ensure the tools you’re using are evaluating candidates in a number of ways and aren’t over-reliant on data.

Lack of Human Interaction

Similarly, if used too heavily throughout the recruitment process, AI can remove the human element from your hiring. Although AI can help to increase your communication with candidates – including highly personalised communication – you need to ensure you’re also building personal connections with your candidates yourself. The further into the process candidates get, the less reliant you should become on AI and automation, and the more time you should be spending nurturing these important relationships.

From a recruitment advertising perspective, you need to ensure that your employer brand shines through everything you put out there, as this is what differentiates you from your competitors. If every other recruiter/hiring manager is using AI to produce job adverts for example, you may start to see similarities, especially if you’re hiring similar types of roles. Human intervention may still be required to tweak these materials in line with your unique voice.

Potential for Bias

Whilst AI can help to reduce unconscious bias, it can also introduce new biases into the recruitment process if the data used to train the AI system is biased. This means that AI must be carefully designed and tested to ensure that it does not perpetuate existing biases, and the onus is on you to ensure the tools you’re using are leading to fair hiring decisions.

What is the Key to Using AI in Recruitment Successfully?

AI has the potential to revolutionise the recruitment process by saving time, reducing bias, and improving the overall candidate experience. However, companies must carefully weigh the pros and cons of using AI in their hiring and implement AI systems that are transparent, unbiased, and compliant with privacy regulations.

Ultimately, the key to successful recruitment in 2023 and beyond is finding the right balance between technology and human interaction, ensuring AI is not an obstacle to building positive, long-lasting relationships with candidates, and is assessing candidates based on who they are as well as what they can do. It’s here whether you use it or not (and your competitors will!), so it’s important to keep up to date with the tools and tricks that AI is increasingly providing.