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Future of Work: Graduate Recruitment


What impact will automation technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have on jobs? That’s a topic that gets plenty of press around the world.

According to James Manyika*, Chair of the McKinsey Global Institute “60 percent of occupations have about a third of their activities that are easy to automate” That’s typically processing and sorting of data.

Adopting “automation and AI machine-learning techniques, the benefits are relatively clear. There are all kinds of performance improvements from reducing error rates, being able to do predictions better, and being able to discover novel, new solutions or insights”.

So what does this mean for graduate recruitment? Well, there are organisations already using AI in their graduate recruitment process. Globally, Unilever has made the most noise about what they do – using AI to screen out 60% to 80% of initial applicants. But local organisations are doing the same. And that extends to video interviews, where AI is helping the recruiter to shortlist.

The sophistication and the spread of AI across HR systems will only grow. And graduate recruiters should be ready for it, as graduate recruitment is a popular target for HR systems innovation and trial.

Here is our take on how some elements of graduate recruitment might look in the near future.

  • Employer shotgun advertising to students is replaced by algorithms that target and invite "strong fit" candidates to an advanced stage of the recruitment process. 
  • Chatbots handle student inquiries. No more email replies from the recruiter.
  • AI automatically screens applications across multiple attributes (biographical data and psychometric test results). No more manual resume reviews. No more culling on single attributes.
  • AI shortlists from video interviews. Recruiters only review the shortlisted videos prior to in-person assessments.
  • At each step, AI assesses all applicant data (from biographical data to video interview results). Better decisions based on complete data.
  • AI automatically invites applicants to the next stage. No more manual invitations from the recruiter.
  • Unsuccessful students automatically receive personalised feedback.
  • Data analytics lead to new insights that identify who will be successful employees (and unsuccessful) at the graduate application stage.

As this happens, it will really streamline the graduate recruiter’s workload. And that means freeing up resources to add value elsewhere.

One possibility is that the recruiter becomes a “coach” to strong/shortlisted applicants at each process stage. That is, the recruiter provides personal support to help strong candidates maximise their potential for success. Now that would be different from today’s emphasis on culling.



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