Natural Language Processing Guide

Your Quick Guide to Natural Language Processing in Recruitment

Did you know that the use of Natural Language Processing or most commonly known as NLP i s prevalent in our everyday lives? By definition, Natural Language Processing is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that helps computers understand, interpret and manipulate human language. In short, thanks to NLP and its rapid advancement over the years, it is easier for machines and humans to communicate well with each other. Still quite overwhelming to understand? We’re here to help recruiters and HR experts understand other terminologies involved in AI in recruitment in a way that relates it to our everyday lives. 

What is Natural Language Processing (NLP)?

Natural Language Processing is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that has the ability to translate written or spoken human language into something that a machine or computer can understand. According to Catenon World, this AI component can listen or read human interactions and understand and interpret the meaning behind this. Take the example of how we integrate NLP into our daily lives. If you are a fan of smart devices, Alexa and Google Assistant are the best examples of this. 

Here’s a quick overview of how we interact with or use Natural Language Processing almost everyday: 

  • Predictive text as seen in SMS, search engines etc. 

In searching for answers like “what is Natural Language Processing?” on any search engine, NLP was able to process your intent and directed you to various answers in a matter of seconds. See a quick video below as an example: 


    • Chatbots 

How many times do you encounter speaking to Chatbots? There are various NLP based chatbot that exist to provide better customer service most especially when a customer’s touchpoint is on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or via the brand’s website. Take the example of Grab Philippines below who relies heavily on chatbots for immediate interaction with users. 


  • Emails 

Ever notice how your emails have become smarter? For example, when drafting an email, the predictive text function is able to help you complete your email faster. Another use of NLP in emails can be seen in email classifications. Notice that you get more emails flagged under promotions, social or even spam? Or how it suggests a suitable email subject based on your content? That’s all thanks to AI and NLP! 


Natural Language Processing Used in Recruitment 

If NLP provides value in our personal lives, imagine the value that it can bring in the enterprise world. AI develops together with its components and this includes Natural Language Processing. In the next few years, we’ll see the increase in dependency of organizations in NLP to help them perform repetitive tasks and most importantly, pick up and interpret data faster than humans can. 

Here are examples of how recruitment tools use Natural Language Processing to enhance the Human Resource function: 

  • Shortens the time spent on top of the funnel hiring 

Let’s face it, as a Human Resource professional, you are expected to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. One big chunk of the work that you do involves screening hundreds or even thousands of applicants on a daily basis. Thanks to Natural Language Processing and other branches of AI used in recruitment, you get to save almost 26 hours per week! 

  • Provides insights and patterns about your recruitment behavior 

Just like how Google, Alexa or Siri studies and predicts certain behaviors or patterns of your day, NLP in recruitment provides just about the same value. It can study and interpret your previous recruitment behavior to have a better understanding of what your ideal candidate looks like. Not only that, it can also provide you with insights that you and your team can make use of to improve certain processes or even use this as a basis for better data-driven decisions. 

  • Helps detect insider threat 

High end recruitment tools offer features that can help detect or prevent insider threats in the organization. Codetiburon, interestingly points out that Natural Language Processing can be integrated in insider threat applications to provide greater visibility, faster response and deeper insights. This can save the organization the average cost of an insider threat which is estimated to be around $8.76 million annually! 

There are many other uses of NLP in recruitment and the list goes on as more recruitment technologies offer different recruitment solutions that can help enhance your HR processes. However it is important to note that integrating or making use of such technologies does not mean that human intervention is no longer needed. Machines and humans should always work in synergy to enhance the role of HR and most importantly, have a return on your investment. 

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