The technology can free up expensive human resources by dealing with tedious and repetitive manual tasks.
BY CHARISSA CASSELS, JOURNALIST AT INC.AFRICA, @_INCAFRICA
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, allows humans to focus on tasks that require strategy, creativity, decision-making and emotional intelligence – which technology cannot do.
Like many people, Harmony Mothibe was inspired to start his own business by the words of a former boss. In this case, the words provided direction: “If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over, maybe it’s time to automate it.” And so he did.
He observed that, despite being readily available, AI was not being used widely in most organisations in Africa. This provided the opportunity to start BotsZA, to help businesses integrate AI and automation into existing processes.
AI can sift through applications faster
The high volume of applications that talent acquisition teams receive requires expensive resources to screen candidates. So Mothibe created HAZIE, enabling companies to move away from manual applicant screening and sourcing processes.
He believes that building a product requires a better understanding of the core problem, and if you miss this, you will be applying technology to a non-existing problem.
The product uses AI to pre-screen and identify qualified candidates, and pattern recognition technology to cross-reference supporting documents of candidates. This is a particularly important tool for South Africa, which currently has the highest unemployment rate in the world.
HAZIE currently advertises opportunities for bursaries and learnerships, and the plan is to add opportunities for graduates, internships and apprenticeships as they arise.
The product finds and screens the relevant candidates and suggests them to companies looking to hire people without going through thousands of applications. This speeds up the process.
Opportunities and Obstacles
Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) tools and AI organises and filters information of potential candidates. When used with human oversight and data analytics, AI can also help create a diverse and inclusive workplace to find qualified candidates more quickly.
It allows businesses to post vacancies targeted at appropriate job-seekers by inferring what skills a candidate has on their CV and matching them with related jobs.
But ATS systems can be discriminatory as well. This is because they use keywords assigned by the recruiter to sift through CVs, so it searches only specific keywords and but eliminates any other potential candidates.
So, some talented candidates could be eliminated from the process if they don’t include the necessary keywords as sought out by the ATS. This can be fixed from the front end, however.
For example, if talent acquisition teams don’t remove candidates from the pool based on information such as the schools people attended or gaps in their CVs. Applying such principles allows the team to remove their own unconscious bias from the equation and avoid unintentional discrimination.
Learnings from a startup journey
Mothibe defines resilience, consistency and adaptability as necessary traits when starting a business. “Startups don’t fail when they run out of cash, they fail when founders run out of energy,” he said.
He concludes: “Great things take time, we must allow ourselves to go through the discovery process because as entrepreneurs our journey is always more important than the destination. We learn, fail, and grow; it’s all part of the process. If there is no risk of failure, there can be no success.”