Artificial intelligence and machine learning systems are revolutionizing every industry in the world and will continue to transform the business world as we know it. In the recruitment industry, there are many ways that AI can make various crucial and menial processes more efficient and effective.

Artificial intelligence allows you to free up your talent acquisition team by automating various tasks, it can help recruiters with efficient prospecting and outreach, and much more. But when it comes to employee referrals, you might think that there’s not much AI can do for you. After all, it is an inherently human-led process, isn’t it?

Well, not anymore. Artificial intelligence might just be the next turning point in modern employee referral programs—a way for recruiters to achieve better results than ever before.

Let’s explore this topic and take a look at AI-powered employee referrals and how you can use the technology to take your company forward.

How Can AI Transform Employee Referral Programs?

Speed, accuracy and reliability should be some of the primary driving forces behind well-optimized employee referral programs. You not only want to bring in people who are a good fit for the team, but you also want to do it quickly so as not to leave the positions vacant for too long.

That said, speed can often come at the cost of screening quality, while unintentional bias can create an environment where people are recruited and promoted based on sentiment rather than hard data. Sometimes, you will get an employee that’s just right, but most of the time this will produce inefficiencies and cause a high employee turnover rate.

This is where AI-powered referrals come into play.

Using AI in the workplace to automate processes, eliminate biases, and ensure inclusivity is invaluable to modern recruiters, but it’s also important for effective onboarding and training. As you can imagine, this is a net positive on recruitment budgeting as well, as recruiters can manage their resources more efficiently throughout the process, while achieving better results.

The Role of AI-Powered Automation

Automating referral programs was nearly impossible up until a few years ago. Now that automation is taking over, business leaders can leverage specialized AI tools to automate parts of recruitment—employee referrals included.

Take LinkedIn, for example. In recent years, they have successfully implemented AI and machine learning into their operations. For example, the new AI-assisted job description creation can help companies and recruiters optimize their job listings faster and more accurately.

You can also make LinkedIn outreach more efficient by automating the process with the help of AI, enabling you to find the right candidates faster and with a higher degree of accuracy more easily.

Your employees can also use these automations to get in touch with their own referrals more efficiently and hand off the conversation to your recruiters after the initial point of contact. The result is a more streamlined, automated referral process that connects the right people with the company.

Eliminating Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is one of the biggest problems in modern-day recruitment practices, simply because it’s easy for companies to make these mistakes and thus drive talented people away.

From creating bias-free job descriptions to creating and managing referral programs that don’t harbor any bias towards any gender, ethnicity, or race, eliminating bias can be a difficult task. That said, AI systems can help spot and flag biased wording and behaviors in the workplace, especially in various recruitment programs.

One of the best ways to eliminate bias is through the use of AI knowledge management in the workplace, which can answer common interview questions in a standardized way, reducing the risk of unconscious bias in the hiring process. These systems have many uses, but when we’re talking about employee referral programs, they can help your team identify qualified candidates without being influenced by factors such as race, gender or age.

This creates a more streamlined and compliant recruitment process for the company.

Diversification and Inclusivity

Artificial intelligence can do much to help eliminate the problems of poor team diversification and a lack of inclusivity when it comes to referrals.

Employee referral programs that don’t control for inclusivity and diversification when bringing in new people can create homogenized workplaces. You need to ensure proper DEI practices to ensure employee engagement and team performance

On the other hand, homogenized work environments perform worse than diversified ones and negatively affect the employer brand as a whole.

With AI-driven analysis of employee referrals, you can quickly spot harmful patterns that hinder inclusivity and diversity in your organization, leading to a homogenized workforce. You can then use those insights to analyze these trends and uncover why these referrals lack these key DEI pillars.

Implementation and Optimization as a Team Effort

Last but not least, it’s important to remember that AI implementation requires the whole team to be involved, to spot inefficiencies in the system and respond to possible errors. No AI-driven system in recruitment comes ready to use “out of the box.”

Any system needs to be trialed, tested, and then optimized to fit organizational parameters. This can be a stressful process at first, but it’s important to stay calm and develop a troubleshooting process to eliminate bugs and train the system to fit your specific needs.

AI optimization is a team effort, and your recruiters and decision-makers need the feedback of all team members using the system so that they can analyze its performance and adapt. With that in mind, make sure to involve your employees in the testing phase.

Over to You

Artificial intelligence is helping recruiters and companies acquire talent faster than ever before, and it’s doing it in many key ways—employee referrals being one of them.

Up until the proliferation of artificial intelligence in the business world, creating and managing employee referral programs was a complex task, but AI is making it more efficient and effective. Now that you understand AI’s role here, you can go ahead and start implementing these systems in your own employee referral programs to acquire the right talent quickly.

Ciara Byrnes

Ciara Byrnes spends most of her time reporting on digital marketing for an over-stressed audience of marketers and business owners trying to keep up with the fast pace of change. To center herself, she has become a wellness enthusiast, reaching “highs” like morning yoga on the porch of her family’s summer lake cabin to “lows” like failing to convince herself that wheatgrass is actually yummy.