Artificial Intelligence in Hiring and the Candidate Experience

Artificial Intelligence in Hiring and the Candidate Experience

Artificial Intelligence in Hiring and the Candidate Experience

We use the term Artificial Intelligence quite liberally these days, maybe without fully having an understanding of what it means, and how we are already affected by it in 2017. In his book The Quest for Artificial Intelligence: A History of Ideas and Achievements, Nils J Nilsson describes Artificial Intelligence as “that activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment.” We have seen this illustrated most recently on a consumer level with products like Amazon’s Alexa, a virtual personal assistant that can perform various tasks including playing music, and answering questions about the weather. According to a CNBC article, Artificial Intelligence could replace around 50% of the world’s current jobs in the next decade. Artificial Intelligence will permeate nearly every employment sector, but there is no doubt that it will have far reaching affects in the staffing and recruiting industry. The idea of robots being introduced into many professions is not just the plot of science fiction films anymore. It is an almost certain reality. As in any industry, there are pros and cons to introducing some level of Artificial Intelligence into job searches and hiring. The candidate experience is one area that will see significant improvements with this type of innovation. While actual robots are being tested and used in several industries, such as fast food and construction, we won’t be getting into robotics here. For our purposes, when we talk about Artificial Intelligence as it relates to the job search, we are referring to developments in software and machine learning. Here are some key ways that jobseekers will benefit from developing Artificial Intelligence platforms.

Communication is Key

A major complaint among candidates is that recruiters do not communicate with them following the application/submission process to provide status or feedback. The candidate perception is that they send a resume and it simply disappears into a “black hole.” According to The Society for Human Resource Management, the average number of requisitions for a corporate recruiter in 2016 was 40. Timely feedback is important to a seasoned recruiter; it’s just not always feasible. Recruiters will always have to attempt to prioritize an extensive laundry list of activities and may often fall short of responding in as timely a manner as they would like. According to Forbes, 85% of applicants don’t hear back after submitting an application. Enter recruiting bots. Recruiting bots can provide virtually instant feedback during all steps of the process through intelligent automation. While this automated response feature is already a part of some applicant tracking systems utilized by recruiters and hiring managers, advancements in machine learning are creating a more personalized exchange. This technology is already in development, and being utilized in a few test companies in the form of Mya. Mya , short for “my assistant”, is an Artificial Intelligence platform developed by FirstJob to help automate a large percentage of the recruiting process. Available on mobile web and SMS texting, Mya initially screens candidates via text, and answers applicants’ questions about the employer, company culture and salary in real time. Thanks to machine-learning, Mya also gets on-the-job training.  In the event she receives a question for which she does not have the answer, she will send a message to a human recruiter. Mya will learn from these responses and patterns, and will be able to answer those questions in the future. Following an interview, applicants will receive an update and suggested next steps. While it may take time for the interactions of Mya and other bots to become more personalized, the majority of candidates would welcome feedback of any kind in their job search.

AI Especially for the Candidate Side

Another way that Artificial Intelligence may soon work in favor of the candidate is through resume bots. Developed by a jobseeker to help her own search, Estherbot is a resume chatbot that will interact with employers and hiring managers to provide a more interactive resume viewing and parsing experience. Through this bot, employers can receive more in depth information about a candidate’s work experience, education, hobbies, etc. Creator Esther Crawford also added the option to turn off the bot and speak to the candidate directly. Crawford created her bot having had very little experience, and by using an already existing bot platform. She is now creating a startup to help people create their own resume bots to streamline their own job searches. While this option is clearly not one that will be embraced, or even accessible to everyone, it can be of great use to candidates in industries that are often subject to aggressive headhunting, like information technology and higher level sales positions.

Creating More Jobs and Streamlining the Hiring Process

A California company has developed an Artificial Intelligence bot named TARA (Talent Acquisition Recruiting Automation) to help small businesses hire. The platform is geared toward those companies looking to hire freelance developers to create software or work on other projects, but its developers would like to apply its machine learning technology to assist governments and other industries with large products in the near future. By streamlining the process of qualifying candidates, bots like TARA will enable employers to focus their attention on the growth and development of their companies, thus creating more open positions in the job market. The initial screening and qualifying of candidates through a more automated system will save applicants from the lengthy interview and hiring process that so often causes them to abandon their pursuit of a desired position.

As more technology emerges, recruiters and hiring managers will be responsible for less of these transactional types of interactions, and be able to devote more time to mentorship and closing open positions. While these advancements will be helpful to recruiters, candidates will reap many of the benefits. A lengthy hiring and interview process is another common complaint among candidates. According to a CareerBuilder survey published by The Society for Human Resource Management, the interview experience is the single most influential factor in the hiring process that will make or break an applicant’s impression of the company. The candidate experience will be improved by more immediate contact and feedback, and a less drawn-out hiring process. Intelligent automated technology that can provide initial application feedback, schedule interviews, answer general questions from applicants, and advise candidates of next steps, and is a benefit to both hiring managers and candidates. While an automated process will never take the place of a the human touch that is essential in good recruiting, it will make the entire ordeal a little less painful for both sides, and it’s closer than you may think.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike.

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