[LI] Future of the job search & whose AI will change it

Three more items on how “AI” is changing job hunting. These were posted on LinkedIn in May-June 2017. (I depart from the usual presentation of short LI posts by including in 2 of the 3 below, my writing on the target pages outside of LI.)

The future of job hunting: More Spotify, less Craigslist,” CIO.com, 24 May 2017 (posted May 2017)

Here’s another site proposing application of AI for job hunting and recruiting, What this appears to be from the description is an intermediary jobsite using AI to analyze job seekers’ data for recruiters and make suggestions to the job seekers. Sounds interesting, recognizes the “time sink” nature of the job hunt, and may have some good results (would like to know about anyone’s experience).

However it also sounds like another example of a site doing things with job seeker’s data on their behalf (and for recruiters) with higher powered analytics, which then funnels lists of possibilities that job seekers then have to review and do the old style applications for. As such it would be a partial improvement on existing job sites – more efficient searches – but without addressing other key time sinks – resumes and applications. Also, the problem isn’t that those are “boring” but that they involve repetitive tasks with peculiar demands (esp. as regards diverse advice on resume formatting) and uncertain returns.

This is another initiative that works to improve the existing system while the needs are for something more far reaching.

(my comment)

See also this one, which seems similar in approach: www.hackcollege.com/blog/2016/03/22/job-hunting-meets-artificial-intelligence.html

What is the future of job search? Quora, 4 June 2017 (posted June 2017)

One of the reasons I’ve been focusing a lot of attention on the future of the job market, and how intelligent technology might transform it in a way favorable to job seekers, is thinking about what my son will have to deal with. The system is ripe for change, and intelligent technology will take it on one or another path moving forward. That choice – whether we choose to emphasize central job services where the job seeker is data, or independent agents empowering job seekers (arguably in a way that also benefits employers) – will make all the difference. This link is my quick response to a question on Quora.

(text of my Quora response to the question about the future of job searching follows)

In my opinion, the future of the job search is still in play. All we know for sure is where we are – a system that is in many ways dysfunctional – and that wherever we’re going, automated and intelligent programs (often lumped rightly or wrongly under the term “artificial intelligence”) will change a lot. The question as I understand it, is how the latter will affect the job seeker and what they have to do to search, find, and apply to positions.

Broadly speaking, one possibility is that the technology will be used to provide improved services for job seekers, using their data and delivering them lists of opportunities (perhaps building on techniques already developed by job sites), and another is that it will be used to provide more tools for job seekers, enabling them to manage and refine their own searches and applications more efficiently, and automate much of the process.

Currently it seems most development is towards the first: “AI” is being developed mainly for recruiters and job boards, while job seekers interface with these using basically the same technologies introduced in the 1990s (word processors to manually create resumes & compose cover letters; web browsers to find jobs & fill out or correct autofilled forms). The job seeker in this scenario is beholden to others’ visions and agendas. (See for example statements by the CEOs of Microsoft & LinkedIn about the former’s acquisition of the latter.)

My hope is that we can move in the second direction, such that eventually each job seeker is not just data in the system of increasingly intelligent programs, but has active control over an intelligent program working only for them. This could be revolutionary, including a total rethinking of the resume concept and how applications are made and submitted, and the scale on which job searches and recruiting take place.

The most dramatic transformations of the job market, including what happens from both the job seeker and recruiter/hiring agent sides, would happen when intelligent learning programs of each communicate directly with each other to determine potential matches and exchange appropriate information (including an application, if so instructed), before reporting back to their respective owners.

The future of the job search will be at least changed and hopefully transformed in an equitable way by application of intelligent technology.

Fortune: How AI Is Changing Your Job Hunt,” The Future of AI (blog), 3 June 2017 (posted June 2017)

 Prof. Toby Walsh expresses 2 concerns re Fortune’s “How AI Is Changing Your Job Hunt” + my comment re “Whose AI?”

(text of my comment on his blog post follows)

There’s another problem, which is best seen when asking “whose AI?”

To a certain extent the application of intelligent automation in recruiting is inevitable. What strikes me, however, is the total imbalance in development, and indeed in developers’ thinking about how AI can match up job seekers and employers. All the focus is on how AI can serve recruitment, while treating job seekers as … complex data sets.

What about intelligent apps/bots – “AI” – for job hunting, which can automate a number of repetitive and time-consuming tasks, analyze potential employers, learn from the process, and provide the job seeker with enhanced information? A “self-driving resume”?

The next question is, what happens when AI in the service of a job seeker interacts with AI in the service of an organization seeking to hire someone? IMO, it’s here where we can begin to see the revolutionary potential of AI for the job market. FWIW, I sketched out some ideas in a LinkedIn piece entitled “Some thoughts on AI, intelligent agents, and transformation of the job market.”


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