From Job Post to Job Offer

Niraj Patel, SVP for Artificial Intelligence, DMI gives four ways AI expedites hiring.

As the Coronavirus impacts businesses across the globe, many organisations will be forced to review their hiring plans and processes. Early impact of the pandemic has already been felt in travel, tourism and manufacturing, with implications set to spread further before the economy rebounds.

And when it does, hiring managers will be under pressure to quickly staff offices, factories, services and teams. In this high-stakes recruitment landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) software solutions offer more opportunities than ever for companies to expedite hiring and reduce time-to-fill on vacancies.

From Job Post to Offer

On average, time-to-fill – the number of days from posting a role to a candidate signing a contract – is around forty two days. For senior and executive roles, highly-skilled occupations such as engineering, IT and science for example, this timeframe can increase by twenty or more days.

Factor in notice periods and businesses can face gaps of more than six weeks between outgoing and incoming employees. This can significantly impact a company’s productivity, customer service, internal resources and – in the current economic situation – the ability to keep business moving.

Recruiters are facing a fundamentally altered recruitment landscape, with a larger pool of candidates applying for each role, as well as increasing pressure on hiring managers to attract, identify, engage and attract world class talent.

Coupled with this is an increased reliance on remote working to keep operations running during emergencies like the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the net for candidates is spread across a broader geography and is likely to prompt more widespread use of video interviewing, as seen among companies [DS1] such as Twitter, Google, Amazon and Target.

Expediting the hiring process

Utilizing AI to filter resumes and schedule interviews is quickly becoming more mainstream. But here are four additional ways in which AI can be applied to expedite the hiring process:

  1. Talent Pool Expansion

AI can trawl and assimilate millions of data points across both a company’s own internal documents (e.g. recruitment databases) and external information, such as social media networks (e.g. Linkedin and Facebook), as well as niche organisations for particular sectors (e.g. a lunch club for engineers).

That means it can not only sift through a higher influx of applications per job post, but also track past employees and previous applicants to re-engage promising talent.

Powered by AI, “candidate rediscovery” is also becoming more widely recognized as a way to reduce time-to-fill, as it re-engages with people already familiar with, and familiar to the organization.

Such candidates move through the introduction and familiarization stages quicker and, with the right algorithms, can be a lower risk hire. AI is now making candidate re-discovery less cumbersome, costly and demanding of human time.

AI can also search colleague and candidate affiliations through someone’s career history – for example, by trawling professional networks and alumni groups – to flag passive candidates that are potentially suited for a role.

  1. Chatbot communications

AI offers heightened opportunities to automate routine communications and provide an “always-on” chatbot for frequently asked questions, freeing HR professionals to focus on more strategic work. Depending on the program, AI can handle queries by phone, email or online chat.

Online thrift store, ThredUp, deploys SMS-based chatbots to hire 100 to 200 employees each month. When fast, high-volume hiring is the priority, automation of rote tasks offers a chance to greatly enhance efficiencies. In this case, AI handles everything from scheduling a phone screening to providing new hires with directions for their first day on site.

Not every company can automate such a large proportion of the process, but there are key areas where chatbots can speed time-to-hire. For example, chatbots can scan calls and communications to identify actions such as ‘send letter’ and ‘schedule interview’, with automated activation. Chatbots are also a 24/7 resource for routine inquiries, such as driving directions to an interview, benefits packages, dress code and other frequently asked questions.

Equipping chatbots to handle routine tasks also lowers cost per hire, another critical KPI for hiring teams, as well as providing an opportunity to reduce email traffic.

  1. Interviewing

AI is most commonly applied at the screening stage, with many companies running skills and psychographic tests to filter applications. Even prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, fifty percent of US firms utilized AI to screen resumes and shortlist candidates.

Though it’s unlikely that AI-powered interfaces will entirely replace humans, there are plenty of interview phase opportunities where AI can speed processes and deliver analysis to support faster, better informed decision-making.

Already – and increasingly – AI technology will be applied in early-stage interviews where facial and linguistics analysis programmes can augment human assessment, reduce bias and also identify soft skills – such as communication, leadership, creativity and decision-making – that are increasingly prized by U.S. employers.

In concert with an expectation that video interviewing will rise as the net for employment is cast wider and remote work is more prevalent, AI will gain traction in analyzing the language, tone and facial expressions of candidates to indicate suitability for a role and predict future performance. Real-time analytics and comparison reports provide unprecedented levels of insight into the character and skills of candidates, which can be matched against an ‘ideal employee’ profile.

On a related note, AI, when correctly maintained, is an effective tool for reducing bias in recruitment and promoting diversity and inclusion. In early screening and throughout interviews, AI analytics can ensure diverse representation and avoid human bias.

  1. Personalized engagement

In 2020, candidate engagement will be a key focus for employers to convert quality candidates into quality hires. The millennial generation makes up about half of the American workforce and early Generation Z’ers are also well into employment age. Generation Z in particular is said to crave connection and prefer person-to-person contact, so it is important that AI is applied with that in mind to enhance the recruitment process, rather than remove those vital touch-points connecting a candidate to their potential employer…and vice versa.

AI offers a chance to deeply analyze a candidate using millions of data points across the web – including professional networking profiles, social media activity, work or reviews published online and the resume – to draw out information on what motivates, incentivizes and excites candidates.

It also can identify a candidate’s personal traits, such as preferences, values and ambitions, which provide rich insight on their ‘persona’. Armed with this information, hiring teams can apply advanced principles of personalized marketing to construct more compelling candidate engagement – from wording of the job posting and initial candidate outreach, to preferred modes of contact, interview structure and salary discussions.

Furthermore, a common frustration for candidates is a lack of feedback on the status of their application. AI-powered chatbots and communications enhances the candidate experience with real-time feedback as the candidate progresses through the recruiting pathway.

Is your business ready for AI-powered recruitment?

AI is set to further transform the hiring process, becoming more widely and creatively implemented within packaged software solutions. It will enable more businesses to create an intelligent and analytical approach to handling vast quantities of data, in search of higher quality talent.

Reducing time-to-fill is – and will remain – a key performance indicator for hiring managers, since vacancies remaining open for the long term is costly. Further use of AI is a wise investment to reduce time and cost, but also to de-risk hiring through examination of candidate personas and elevated levels of personalized communication, from job post to requisition close.

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