Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly sweeping through the business world, and its presence extends across many different management remits.
Predictions of how AI would revolutionise the way we work are becoming a reality in many areas – and one of them is recruitment.
In an article on the Insead Knowledge website, Stewart Black and Patrick van Esch concede that developments haven’t yet stretched to a single AI-enabled recruitment system that can seamlessly handle all of the function’s tasks. However, each of those jobs can be performed by individual AI-enabled tools – and that, they insist, constitutes a technological revolution. This is well-timed, because hiring in an increasingly competitive labour market is one of the key challenges for businesses in the current climate, especially with the impact of the pandemic and the consequent Great Resignation to contend with.
If, indeed, the recruitment AI revolution is here, it’s the result of an evolutionary process. As the authors observe, the internet has smoothed out the majority of frictions involved with candidates and companies finding their match. The mid-2000s saw the launch of multi-platform aggregators, and social media sites such as LinkedIn have widened recruiters’ nets considerably. As a result, the number of applicants per job has skyrocketed. However, ‘more’ doesn’t always mean ’better’; Black and Van Esch refer to studies that suggest between 75% and 80% of job applicants are not qualified for the job they’re applying for.
This leads the authors to explore the different ways AI-enabled recruitment tools can help leaders and managers to broaden and deepen the talent pool while effectively screening candidates to find the right people to fill available roles. Their top eight recommendations are as follows:
A common gripe among executives is that it can be difficult to know which AI recruitment screening tools and providers will work best for them in a sector that is subject to constant change and improvement. Rather than embarking on an exhaustive comparison across the breadth of the market, Black and Van Esch recommend that you just “get in the game” to see what works, keeping what does and throwing out the rest. “Doing” rather than “planning” is the best way to move along the learning curve, they insist.
2. Make it known
According to Black and Van Esch, studies have revealed that the majority of job candidates – younger ones, in particular – have a high level of trust in AI recruitment and look favourably upon companies using it; they view the AI-enabled process as “novel”, “rewarding” and “trendy”. Therefore, it’s beneficial for firms to capitalise on this by emphasising its use of AI in recruitment and using terms such as “cutting edge” in its marketing.
3. Mine the data
One of the key advantages of AI recruitment systems is the simplicity they offer in searching through previous applicants for a good fit for a current vacancy. Rejected applicants are a worthwhile pool to explore because they might suit new roles and they have already shown an interest in the company.
Black and Van Esch advise that AI screening providers, such as Leoforce via the Arya platform, have the ability to sort through thousands of previous applicants within minutes, pinpoint those who meet the new criteria and even rank them. This kind of functionality can increase the ROI for an organisation’s recruitment technology.
4. Take the passive route
AI tools can do more than just place job opportunities in the path of active online candidates; their ability to pick out passive candidates can also pay dividends. Bear in mind that passive candidates outnumber their active counterparts by around three-to-one, and between 70% and 90% of them are open to job opportunities. What’s more, failure to pursue passive candidates risks losing talent to competitors, warn Black and Van Esch.
They point out that Engage Talent and ClearFit AI recruitment tools can mine sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find passive candidates matching your specifications, not just by looking for keywords – they can also assess how team-oriented or individualistic a person is by analysing the number of selfies on their profile in proportion to other images.
5. Use gamification
To whittle down the candidate list, recruiters can use cognitive games or more complex simulations for assessment. Black and Van Esch offer the example Unilever, which used the Pymetrics AI recruitment platform to develop games based around neuroscience for candidates to complete in around 20 minutes. These games had the “reliable and valid” ability to measure characteristics including problem solving, risk taking and decision making.
6. Use virtual interviews
Human interviews using an unstructured format have only a 25% success rate in predicting job performance, according to Black and Van Esch – so only twice as successful as a coin flip. Even structured in-person interviews are vulnerable to the cognitive biases of the interviewer.
Although they shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for a final interview, AI tools can reliably evaluate candidates at the initial stage, assessing not only answers but also word choices, vocal inflections and facial movements.
The authors offer Unilever as an example once again – the multinational utilised HireVue for interviewing around 30,000 candidates for 200 intern roles; the applicants who made it to the final round of in-person interviews were of such high quality that offers were made to 80% of them – compared with a previous success rate of 65%.
7. Use a chatbot
Fair treatment is essential in the recruitment process, and offering candidates appropriate and timely information plays a key part. Busy recruitment departments often neglect to offer feedback and the company’s reputation can suffer as a result. An AI chatbot can take care of the heavy lifting in this area, keeping candidates well informed and preventing the recruiter from garnering negative sentiments expressed by candidates through word of mouth or via social media.
8. Integrate processes
As previously mentioned, one single AI tool for the whole recruitment process doesn’t exist – yet. Until such a time as an all-singing, all-dancing solution is developed, recruiters will be left to piece together different tools to perform each relevant task. However, the process must appear joined up to candidates, so organisations should integrate each aspect to create a smooth journey from application to hire.
In conclusion, Black and Van Esch remind leaders that, while AI can streamline the recruitment process and make it more effective, efficient and successful, the major draw for potential candidates is the company itself – so ensure that the workplace environment is every bit as impressive and well-organised as the AI system that got the employees through the door in the first place.