‘Gone are the days of manually searching and scrolling through a list of applicants’: AI is coming to eliminate recruiters and automate job applications, Indeed says

Professional job-seekers are having a tougher time in today’s market—it’s taking longer to get hired or even get a callback since the heady days of the post-pandemic Great Resignation, while large employers are open about their desire to cut costs, including among formerly insulated executives and middle managers. 

But in a still-booming economy where consumers are going strong, companies can’t avoid hiring humans to meet increased demand. And now Indeed, the biggest job-searching site, is calling on AI to make that job easier.

“It takes more than 50-plus days—you heard me right, 50-plus days—on average, to hire for a role,” Rajatish Mukherjee, executive vice president and the head of Indeed’s employer-facing division, told reporters this week, unveiling the company’s new offering that promises to use AI for everything from filtering candidates for open jobs to writing outreach messages. 

“Gone are the days of manually searching and scrolling through a list of applicants,” Mukherjee said.

The system, dubbed “Smart Sourcing,” is designed to identify active job-seekers (for instance, surfacing candidates who recently updated their profiles and have clicked on job postings); serve up potential matches for job postings, complete with an AI-generated list of highlights demonstrating why a person is a good fit; draft outreach messages; and automate scheduling processes. 

Employers can pay between $1,150 and $3,840 per year to use Smart Sourcing (the lower figure is for occasional hiring). In test runs, Indeed said, employers save six hours a week with Smart Sourcing.  

Mukherjee has seen the benefits himself, saying, “It’s taken me like 45 minutes to an hour to craft a really good message to a potential candidate, because I really want them to answer.”

The technology couldn’t come at a better time, as recruiters—those very employees tasked with sourcing and hiring new employees to grow a company’s ranks—are themselves being cut at an alarming pace. Google, for instance, cut hundreds of recruiting employees in multiple rounds of layoffs last year. Amazon jettisoned many contract recruiters, and Meta’s 11,000 job cuts in 2022 disproportionately affected the recruiting and business divisions. Indeed itself cut 2,200 workers last year, according to CNN.

Indeed has a solution for job-seekers, too, offering an AI tool that will generate a fluid and captivating work-history summary for candidates, while also improving options to apply with a single click. 

Already, 300 million job candidates on Indeed’s platform have agreed to be included in the Smart Sourcing AI tool that will make them visible to companies, Indeed said.

Of course, how well it truly works is yet to be seen.

Mukherjee said that the tool has the potential to reduce hiring bias, by focusing on candidates’ actual skills rather than factors like the presence or absence of a college degree, adding that Indeed has a “responsible AI” team focused on removing bias from the process. But plenty of research has already revealed AI’s potential to supercharge human bias, rather than removing it. Some AI tools that focus on candidates’ body language or expressions can return nonsensical results that have little to do with actual job performance, while comprehensive screening tools can simply bypass qualified candidates altogether, the BBC reported in February. The outlet cited examples of job seekers who were screened out after listing seemingly undesirable hobbies (softball instead of baseball) or putting in a birthdate that made them seem too old. 

Some cities and states are moving to regulate AI in the hiring process—Illinois has allowed job seekers to opt out of tools that evaluate their biometrics while New York requires employers using AI decision tools to make sure they are free of bias, and allow potential hires to opt out. But so far, consumer advocates say the laws are weak and poorly enforced.

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