[Editor’s Note: Know This, Do This is a blog series from System Soft Technologies. What is this series for? It’s a cycle of articles that take you on a journey, exploring ways innovative technology can help leaders drive transformation and growth.]
In the already fast-changing world of HR, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is creating unimagined twists and turns as 2020 progresses. This is leading to unprecedented attention on HR technology to help employers manage these new challenges.
Arguably, no emerging technology has had more impact on the evolution and refinement of the pandemic workplace than artificial intelligence (AI), which is expected to continue in the months and years ahead.
One HR area that’s benefited the most from AI-based solutions is primarily in recruiting for employers whose business sectors continue to thrive, or in managing challenges, such as furloughs and layoffs, for the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19.
Growing Digitization Movement
The movement toward HR digitization, with the use of AI and machine learning, was already well underway at the start of 2020. But, it took off with coronavirus.
The overwhelming adoption of AI can be tied to its many benefits, which essentially center around making recruitment easier, more accurate and efficient.
AI enables recruiters and hiring managers to assess and interview candidates with much more ease compared to traditional methods. Research also shows that HR managers believe AI can significantly improve talent acquisition and retention.
Consider that 60% of organizations plan to boost their use of workplace automation during 2020, according to consulting firm Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report.
For the last several years, finding the right candidate in high demand talent pools has been highlighted as one of the biggest obstacles to attracting top talent. And, AI has evolved accordingly to help solve this problem.
Implementing AI in talent acquisition, though, goes beyond accessing candidate data. Rather, it’s about leveraging it at scale, helping companies find the best candidate for the job.
But note. While AI technology in talent acquisition has transformed and improved many traditional processes, human interaction is still essential.
The writing is on the wall, boldly: AI is here to stay, as it transforms every aspect of life and business. And, as many people now grapple for jobs, hiring teams often still rummage through loads of resumes and engage in other mundane tasks.
AI relieves most of this stress and enables human recruiters to focus on important aspects of the process like assessments and interviews. This saves a lot of time, while ensuring a more efficient recruiting process.
Overall, Mercer found, when it comes to AI for HR, companies are:
- Using chatbots to look up information, such as company policies or benefits (56%).
- Identifying the best candidates based on publicly available data like social media profiles (44%).
- Providing recommendations for learning and training to employees (43%).
- Using chatbots to engage with candidates during recruitment (41%).
- Screening and assessing candidates during recruitment (40%).
And, as AI helps makes all that possible, organizations plan to keep investing in AI through the rest of 2020, targeting several uses, such as:
- Chatbots for employee self-service like changing benefits or requesting time off.
- The ability to identify employees who are disengaged or at risk of leaving.
- Suggestions of job openings or career paths for current employees.
- Help in the performance management process.
- Customization or improving benchmarking in compensation.
The possibilities are potentially endless. Doing those things with AI at the helm will improve your quality of candidates, automate tedious manual tasks, create a better experience for candidates, optimize the recruitment process, make hiring cost-effective, and reduce time to hire.
And, that all means overcoming your biggest challenge as a hiring manager: Finding the right candidate.
What is AI?
Professor Stephen Hawking said: “Every aspect of our lives will be transformed by AI, and it could be the biggest event in the history of civilization.”
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI is an interdisciplinary science with multiple approaches. But, advancements in machine learning and deep learning are creating a paradigm shift in virtually every sector of the tech industry.
AI now helps us get to our destinations faster and predicts the weather better. These self-learning machines can analyze humungous loads of data in milliseconds and provide insights that make our decisions logical, smarter and more efficient.
This is a key reason why AI is one of the hottest technologies in the market, as the leaders look for ways to not only become more efficient, but also better at what they do.
AI in Talent Acquisition
AI for recruiting is the simulation of human intelligence, such as the learning or problem-solving a computer can do, to the recruitment function. It’s designed to streamline or automate some parts of the recruiting workflow, especially repetitive, high-volume and time-consuming tasks.
For example, software that applies machine learning to auto-screen candidates or tools that conduct sentiment analysis on job descriptions to identify the potentially biased language.
9 AI Applications in Talent Acquisition
Programmatic Job Advertising. Programmatic advertising is the buying, placement and optimization of ads performed by software, rather than people. It allows advertisers to target their ideal demographic across the web and keeps them from overspending on clicks that don’t convert with automated bidding processes. It uses complex algorithms and data to show people the right ads at the right time based on their probability to engage with a job add. This leads to spending less money to generate quality apply.
Augmented Writing. The most important use of this tool is the elimination of job-ad bias. This studies job-ad content and job descriptions for words or phrases that suggest a preference for or aversion to gender, age or ethnic-specific groups of candidates.
AI continually gathers vast amounts of data from job-ad content and their results to pinpoint words or phrases that could negatively impact response. It then suggests smart alternative content to expand ad reach and improve application conversion rates.
AI applications can be used to observe the emotional response to job content by questioning recruiters about the emotions they are evoking and highlighting the areas that didn’t properly convey the intended message. Are you trying to make the applicant feel happy? Angry? Amused? Once it knows your goal, the algorithm will assess your content and suggest alternatives.
Automated Candidate Sourcing. LinkedIn research shows that 46% of recruiters and hiring managers have identified “finding the right candidate” as the biggest obstacle in hiring today. To overcome this challenge, many companies use Big Data, Predictive Analytics and AI to automate recruiting processes, especially candidate sourcing, because it’s the most time-consuming task.
This tool automates resume screening based on experience, skills, performance, tenure and turnover rates. Additionally, this solution can also enrich candidates’ resumes by using public data sources about their prior employers, as well as their public social media profiles.
Candidate Rediscovery. We all are aware of the ATS black hole, which buries potential candidates, because of mismatched keywords. According to a recent study, 65% of resumes for high volume roles are completely ignored. AI solutions can rediscover the talent from existing candidate pipelines that have been forgotten.
Candidate Matching. This facet of AI in recruiting focuses on a customized candidate experience. It means the machine understands what jobs and type of content the potential candidates are interested in, monitors their behavior, then automatically sends them content and messages based on their interests.
NLP and Chatbots. We’ve been using Natural Language processing as part of recruiting for several decades in the form of Boolean Search, which helps in text analysis to find appropriate resumes. NLP enables computers to process and analyze a large amount of natural language data.
Chatbots speaking through NLP engage with applicants in human-sounding text conversations and collect their audio responses, pictures, videos and documents. It hosts the interviews, starting from introduction to open-ended questions to the next steps, followed by a conclusion. This saves a recruiter’s time in pre-screening candidates. The timely feedback provided by chatbots leads to an enhanced candidate experience.
Video Interviews and Facial Expression Analysis. Video interviews have been used for a few years now. But, new technology can analyze a candidate’s facial expressions, word choices and speech patterns, capturing mood, personality traits and, to an extent, determine the candidate’s culture fitment.
Diversity Hiring. AI solutions can support recruiters in diversity hiring by fighting bias and discrimination. This can take place through various means from AI-powered chatbots and pre-employment assessments to blind hiring and inclusive job ads.
Employee Referrals. One of the most reliable, quick and cost-effective sources of hiring is the Employee Referral. AI has elevated this by helping companies proactively identify a stellar fit in an employee’s network and automatically engage with the right employee to promote referrals.
4 Challenges of AI in Hiring
AI requires a lot of data. AI requires a huge data set to accurately mimic human intelligence. For example, to screen resumes like a human recruiter, the machine learning needs several hundreds of resumes for a specific role.
There’s a lack of human touch. No matter how empathetic and intuitive the AI may become, such as chatbots taking over conversations, candidates might feel a lack of human touch and emotions, which may negatively impact the candidate experience.
AI can learn human biases. AI tends to learn patterns of human behavior based on data and past trends. This might even include learning unconscious biases based on age, sex, religion, etc., if such a pattern has not been excluded from the algorithm, while implementing AI-powered tools.
What about reliability? AI in recruitment is still at nascent stages and might have significant inconsistencies and flaws based on the data being used by the tools. It can take some time for AI tools to recognize patterns and draw the proper conclusions.
Impact on Recruiters
AI can bring a lot of efficiency during the recruitment process, especially when it comes to volumes, speed, time, bias, diversity, standardization and candidate experience. But, humans will always want to invest in relationships and connect with individuals rather than machines.
AI cannot fully replace human touch and capabilities through technology. Instead, augmented intelligence suggests we should look to create technology to enhance human aptitude and efficiency.
By automating the repetitive and administrative tasks, it can save recruiters time, so they can better plan their hiring efforts and become more strategic in their approach, rather than being reactive. Additionally, recruiters will get to spend more time interacting with candidates, building long-term professional associations, and determining the culture fit.
The insights and intelligence provided by AI tools, as it comes from reporting and tracking KPIs, will help recruiters use data in making decisions and persuading hiring managers based on available numbers, market data and trend analysis.
AI is changing the way the game is played in recruiting. If you’re not adding AI into your recruiting process, or at least reading up on the possibilities, you’re missing out.
As you begin to test new processes or systems, you can learn more about what you and your candidates are looking for during the job hunt. With the right tools, software and programs, you can develop an automated process that improves the quality of your candidates and their experience.
For more than 20 years, System Soft Technologies (SSTech) has been serving clients, ranging from tech startups and mid-market companies to the Fortune 100, with their Staff Augmentation needs. And, AI is now a big part of our clients’ success.
About the Author: Mahima Chhabra
Mahima Chhabra serves as Talent Acquisition Lead at System Soft Technologies. Mahima passionately builds productive business relationships and high performing teams through evaluation and implementation of HR best practices. She excels at matching the right talent with long-term opportunities and is a data-driven HR advisor. A genuine academic, she holds an MBA in Human Resources and is actively pursuing a CHRL Designation.