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    Artificial Intelligence and Your Job Search

    With ever-changing technology, it’s nearly impossible to write about its impact on the job search without that information becoming outdated in a matter of months. One part of the technology arena is getting more and more attention: artificial intelligence (AI), has – and will continue to – change how we live our lives and conduct business.

    How is AI affecting the job search? Where is it headed?

    Merriam-Webster defines AI as a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers or the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.

    At its core, AI is a means by which companies program computers to automate everyday tasks. As AI grows in complexity, the intelligence component kicks in by learning or surmising based on a growing amount of incoming data, like humans take new information and use it to reach decisions.

    Technology impacts how we learn of, apply for and interview for work. The internet has made it possible for countless people to apply for a single position, creating a tsunami of applicants for companies to consider. By submitting an online application, you’re engaging with AI at its most basic level.

    To manage, companies had to create systems to automate how they track the large applicant pool. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) automate candidate record maintenance.  More sophisticated ATS track applicants through the entire hiring and orientation/training process.

    Let’s dispel a myth: we’ve been told that companies use software to read your resume and/or application, searching for a certain number of specific keys words, and that, if you don’t meet that threshold, no human ever gets to see it. While such technology exists, it’s costly, and few companies have that level of sophistication. Most companies have employees who review applications. You still need to include key words.

    More sophisticated AI includes scraping internet information about you to help assess your character, judgement, interests and other factors. This can include checking your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms.

    Machine learning, an even more sophisticated form of AI where computers gather ongoing information to make more human-like decisions, involves approaches like video interviews where technology assesses specific wording in your answers and your tone of voice, eye movements, facial changes, and more, to help determine your fit for the job.

    Where’s AI headed?  Will it replace humans in the hiring process?  While the answer to that first question is unknown, it is likely that hiring at lower-skilled entry level positions will be automated. Will that happen in five or ten or twenty years?  We only know that AI will continue to alter the hiring experience, both for the employer’s standpoint and yours.

    Randy Wooden
    Randy Wooden is Director of the Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC. Randy launched The Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC, the first program of its type for any Goodwill®, in 2012. His experiences in career coaching, executive recruiting, business ownership, as a hiring manager and as a job seeker have afforded him the opportunity to view the hiring process from all angles. He developed and provided on-air talent for the Internet’s first daily, live television program targeted toward job hunters. He shares job search tips through a bi-weekly newspaper column; regular appearances on television, radio; and frequent public speaking appearances. Contact information: rwooden@goodwillnwnc.org, (336) 464-0516
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