Introducing IMSA – pioneering Artificial Intelligence platform to support the recruitment process

The future is now. IMSA Search Global Partners is introducing IMSA, Artificial Intelligence designed and built specially for executive search purposes.

The thick cloud of navy-blue dots is blinking at the computer screen. There are hundreds of thousands of them, and each dot is a person. A CV – to be more specific. In a blink of an eye, the computer is crunching through the database, searching for the words and patterns. It comes with the result – the list of top ten CVs of people with the experience and knowledge appropriate for the job description. This is not the HR magic. It may be the future of executive search.

IMSA Search: What am I looking at, exactly?

Jerry Chang, IMSA China: You are looking at the Artificial Intelligence algorithm, designed and built specially for executive search purposes. IMSA brings the new quality in executive search. As IMSA Search Global Partners, we believe in technology serving our client’s purpose and benefits. This is not just a bold statement and IMSA is proof. Using AI to read and rank thousands of CVs in a second, instead of using a human researcher, allows IMSA Search to speed up the recruitment process and makes it more efficient and less biased. AI saves the recruiter’s time, which can be spent on non-repetitive, quality services.

IMSA Search: Why do you want to use AI in executive search? Typical we think of this process as the area of activity where the human element is necessary.

The human element is crucial, yes. But consider the facts and numbers. Like many recruiters, I start my day with reading CVs. Most consultants will not admit that, but as human beings, we can read up to five percent of CVs we get for a specific job position. We’re not lazy! The whole process is incredibly time-consuming. For example, If I am looking for a C-level manager for a position at Prada, I have more than 50 000 CVs to go through in my database. Let’s assume it takes two minutes to read one CV. To read all the CVs from a database, a recruiter needs more than two months of work without breaks to eat and sleep for just one assignment. It’s just impossible.

In addition, out of every hundred CVsreceived, only three to five are relevant. Reading the 95% non-relevant documents is frustrating. These are very mechanical activities, so why shouldn’t a computer help with this? It is more efficient and provides more benefits, both for the recruiter as for a client and candidate.

IMSA Search: How exactly does AI work here?

Well, IMSA Search is a company of 213 senior consultants, located in offices all around the world. Each consultant has tremendous work experience and a database of CVs. Now we are sharing one database of C-level specialists from all over the globe. The data is secured carefully, according to the EU GDPR standards. IMSA is doing the same thing that a researcher does, but much faster. I have mentioned two months of non-stop work. AI can do the same in 10 seconds. As a result, the researcher has more time and can meet with more candidates from the list.

IMSA China, IMSA Korea, Jerry Chang
Jerry Chang, IMSA China

IMSA Search: So IMSA allows IMSA Search to do more face to face meetings with candidates? 

Yes, indeed. What is more important, it modernizes the whole process. The recruitment process has not changed during the last 50 years. It is crazy when we consider the major changes in other industries like entertainment, transport, ecommerce, healthcare, etc. Using AI for various purposes is very common these days. Big companies like Amazon or Netflix are using it to tailor a suitable offer for their clients. Why should we not do that in the executive search?

IMSA Search: AI is looking for a thing similar to what it already knows. A real person can think out of the box. Isn’t this a problem?

The most intriguing aspect of artificial intelligence is the way it learns. It is comparable to the way a child learns new things. First are simple comments. Such as: when you see a green light, you can go, but if the light turns red, you must stop. It is a binary command. Later, the child starts to realise that green light does not always mean “go”. If the car is driving very fast, the child should stop despite a green light. AI is learning in an almost identical way. AI is not just looking for similar things. It is learning by analysing your choices, identifies the patterns you consciously or unconsciously use and adapts it in multi-dimension beyond a human brain. The difference is that AI learns much faster and uses much more information than a human. After almost three years of trial, IMSA is ready. It still needs to learn a lot, but the potential is immense, and the capability will grow every time IMSA Search uses IMSA to find candidates.  

IMSA Search: Can you tell more about these three years of preparation for launching the project? What was most difficult part of the process?

Those starts and restarts all over again. BanorsAI is forefront AI designed and build specially for executive search purposes. There weren’t any case studies or academic papers we could use. We were starting with one tool, experimented with it, and when the outcome was not satisfying, we needed to start again. It was a very complex project, but the result is worth the effort we put in IMSA In my opinion, AI may eventually change the whole paradigm of how executive search works.

IMSA Search: It sounds more like IMSA will change the way recruiters work. Are there other companies testing AI in the recruitment process?

No doubt there are, but we are blazing the trail here. IMSA Search is a company of a particular kind. We are a group of executive search specialists. All of us serve senior positions in our own business. This gives us a  special advantages that make this project possible. Small companies, which operate at the local level, do not have money to launch this kind of project. As a person responsible for IMSA, I worked for two years with a group of experts devoted to this task. Big companies operate like corporations and hire a lot of graduate students and lower level specialists to do research. Using AI instead means a signal for a deep restructuration, which is never an easy thing to do. IMSA Search has the perfect conditions for change. Partners are open-minded and see the potential of modernisation the processes.

IMSA Search: How will the executive search look like for ten years from now? Will there be no researchers anymore?

Robotisation and algorithmic work is inevitable in many fields. In my opinion, ten years from now, doctors may not perform some operations procedures anymore. Robots will do that for them. Diagnosing may look the same. The highly specialised robots will use big data and surpass human in diagnostics knowing your blood pressure, blood type, history of diseases, statistical treatment success rate and even your genotype. They will diagnose you more accurate than any other medical specialists.

But we will still need the doctor’s human touch. Even if it is possible that such a job as “researcher” will disappear, there will be other jobs, we cannot even imagine right now. Nowadays we have planes that don’t need a pilot, but they need the whole team of specialists sitting in a room and oversee the flight. It will be different, but we cannot stop progress. One thing is certain. The world will need specialists. The 21st century is not about quantity. Quality is everything.  

IMSA Search: Are you not scared of all these changes?

We can be scared and try to hold onto traditional ways of doing things. But the future is coming, whether we are on board or not. My favourite approach is to be excited, embrace the technology and utilise it for our advantage. I am proud that – as IMSA Search Global Partners – we choose to face the obstacles and are sailing the uncharted waters with AI. As I said before – we are blazing a trail.