The Current State of AI in HR Tech


The December-January timeframe is usually that period of the year when a lot of deliberations happen on different technology trends that experts believe will influence the course of action in the time to come. Recently, I was fortunate to have been invited to host an interesting discussion at a Coffee Chat organized by HR Open Standards (HROS). Leaders and experts from the HR Tech domain participated to have a free-flowing discussion on the current state of AI in HRTech. It was a fascinating conversation and we saw many diverse views surface during the hour-long interaction. 

With an array of participants from different parts of the world, it was interesting to note that AI seems to be making its presence felt through a variety of HR workflows, across the spectrum.  At a high-level, everyone agreed that AI is certainly influencing the way in which a lot of work is being done by the HR teams. AI-enabled features such as conversational chatbots, alerts, personalized nudges, talent pipeline creation, and such, are now part of ATSes, HRIS (HR Information Systems), Performance Management Platforms, Workforce Management solutions, and so on.


Talent Lifecycle and AI

During discussions, the participants came up with a lot of interesting observations based on individual experiences of their tryst with AI-powered HR tools. From all that transpired, one could summarize that AI is largely being used for a couple of different types of workflows and activities, such as:

  • Conversational Chatbot to enable a better engagement with employees and candidates
  • Use of NLP (Natural Language Processing) to extract relevant information from documents and unstructured data sources for better and faster decision making.
  • Machine Learning-based recommendation engines, which makes use of past data to generate predictions and recommendation in assisting HR and Employees in their day-to-day work

We spent a good amount of time discussing real user experience, the effectiveness of AI, and different scenarios from day-to-day usage of different AI features - mostly in Recruitment workflows. One of the standout observations I wish to highlight is the gaps we discussed with respect to AI implementation in HR Tech. With so many options and services available to choose from, most of the time organizations end up choosing a combination of AI-based services to address their specific needs. For instance, the use of independent resume parsers to process candidate details and then using AI-based matching feature to shortlist the candidates.

These services and features work great in isolation but when it comes to end-to-end workflow, certain gaps are observed. For example, when recruiters reach out to the shortlisted candidates based on AI recommendations, they end up getting ‘not interested’ responses.  The apparent gap here seems to be an essential ‘AI-enabled Identify’ step - even before sourcing the given candidate.

Integration is the Key

To summarize, as application builders, the efforts seem to be in the right direction to make most of AI vis-a-vis the HR workflows. But, what needs to come together in the delivery of an end-to-end AI-enabled user experience for the actual users of these HR applications. Based on inputs and suggestions that surfaced during the Coffee Chat as well as from my experience at Harbinger, I think Integration is the key. With the integration, one can ensure the availability of the required data for AI from different HR data sources.  This will also enable the seamless execution of end-to-end AI-assisted workflows.

The above findings are in-line with an emerging trend of 2021, called Hyperautomation. As we all know, Hyperautomation focuses on bringing AI, ML, and RPA together. In the given context, this seems to be the right step forward in delivering better AI solutions for every domain, including HR.

It was indeed an exciting session and I enjoyed hosting the meet that facilitated my interaction with experts and gave me a chance to learn from them. I wish to thank HR Open for the opportunity and a special thanks to everyone who participated in the chat. Just in case the use of AI in HR Tech and Integration is something that excites you, I would be happy to connect and meet for another Coffee Chat (maybe a virtual one for few more days to come!).


Mahesh Kharade |AGM - Technology, Harbinger Systems

Maheshkumar leads the Center of Excellence for HR Tech and Proposal Engineering Group at Harbinger Systems. He is an active contributor to the technology arm of Harbinger's Marketing division as well. Maheshkumar has over 13 years of experience in the design and development of Enterprise Applications in HR Tech, Healthcare, and eLearning domains. His core technology expertise lies in AI, Integrations, Big Data, and Cloud.