Artificial Intelligence is no longer the thing of sci-fi dreams. It’s here and it’s already making waves across industries, like predictive investing, online shopping, music streaming services, and hiring practices. Getting past the ATS was hard enough.. but now there are even more robots coming between you and your next job? Fortunately, it’s not as scary as it sounds. We’re here to help you understand how companies use artificial intelligence to hire and what it means for your job search.

What is Artificial Intelligence anyways?

It’s difficult to imagine AI as a benign and benevolent tool, as so many science fiction thrillers focus on computers becoming sentient and taking over the world. The truth is that AI has already been around for decades, working to make your life easier. At its core, artificial intelligence is an independently functioning system that makes a machine appear to have human-like intelligence. Machines learn from previously retrieved data and tweak their process based on whether or not the goal was achieved. As a result, AI can help humans accomplish more in less time by automating tedious, data-based tasks.

From chatbots to Google autocomplete, AI makes quick shortcuts that let you find what you want faster. It’s the same for AI in hiring. Companies want to find their best fit as quickly as they can, and AI tools help them accomplish that. However, no company has completely automated their entire hiring process (thank goodness!) and it’s doubtful they ever will. Face-to-face interviews give both you and the hiring manager keen insight into each other to see if you’re a good fit for the company – and that the company’s a good fit for you.

How do companies use Artificial Intelligence?

There are three types of AI tools that companies use to help them make hiring decisions.

Screening & Automation

These tools help companies filter through applicants to create candidate shortlists. Most of the time, it grades your resume for job relevance (using keywords like an ATS), and automatically moves you to the stage of the hiring process that it deems appropriate.

Recruitment Chatbots & Scheduling

Similar to automated customer service chatbots, recruitment chatbots are able to feign natural conversation. They also collect information on your skill set and answer any basic questions you have on the company’s hiring process.  Gone are the days of sending an email to the “Do Not Reply” address in a desperate attempt to reach someone at the company to get an answer to a simple question. There’s also software that eliminates the back and forth to try and find a time slot to fit both of your schedules. Simply tell the bot your availability and it automatically checks the hiring manager’s schedule to set up your interview.

Skills Testing and Matching

At the end of the day, the hiring manager wants to know if you can actually do the job. For example, resumes and interviews don’t have mechanisms to prove your claimed abilities to the hiring manager. As a candidate, you want to know you’re set up for success in a role that’s a good fit. Some companies have made it possible to test job-specific abilities and hire you based on your performance, not just your work history. Other companies have Tinderized hiring, allowing you to match your skill set to a company’s candidate wish list.

The only real worry you should harbor about AI in hiring is any learned biases from a hiring manager’s unconscious favoritism. This worries employers too. As a result, AI software companies are focused on making the software smarter and to help them learn which pieces of the candidate puzzle are important and predictive.

What does AI mean for you?

Even though the concept of AI can be intimidating, it’s actually a huge benefit for you as a job seeker. You can get faster feedback on your applications, track your status in the company’s hiring process, and get basic questions answered with ease. These tools allow hiring managers to focus on the human side of hiring, spending more time with talent like you. Artificial intelligence also lets companies make hiring decisions faster, which means that you’ll spend less time looking for work between jobs.

Ultimately, there’s no need to fear artificial intelligence in the hiring process. There are no robot overlords chucking your resume into a black hole. In fact, when you understand how AI works, you’re able to use it to your advantage. Get through screening tools by tailoring your resume and cover letter to the job description. Chat up a storm and get all your questions answered quickly with a chatbot. Find your perfect job fit with matching tools. In the end, artificial intelligence is not just a way for recruiters to churn through candidates faster. It’s a way for you to leverage the system in your favor.