AI for recruiting can tame the beast

November 8, 20194 minute read

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Imagine you’re a talent acquisition leader. For every job you post, you’ll receive 250 resumes on average, according to Zety. Or, as AOL reports, if you were at a place like Google, you’d be under an avalanche of 2 million resumes every year.

You’d likely agree with the 52 percent of hiring managers who reported to Ideal that the hardest part of recruitment is screening candidates from a large applicant pool. To tame the beast, companies are scrambling to use AI for recruiting, with its predictive analysis and big data capabilities, to save time and money.

If HR Technologists‘ calculations are correct, AI could result in an ROI economic effect exceeding 1,000 percent. Crunchbase News reports that AI appeal has venture capitalists sinking millions into start-ups to improve HR processes, and as Ideal‘s list of top recruiting software tools outlines, the number of AI solutions hitting the market is steep. For those looking to ride the AI train for talent acquisition, here are three ways that AI is now stepping out to handle critical recruitment tasks:

1. Speed the sourcing process

Sourcing, or talent pipelining, means understanding the talent landscape and finding people to proactively recruit. According to Forbes, ad hoc searches are not nearly as successful for hiring as having candidates lined up in the pipeline. Using algorithms, your organization can sift through and find the best matches— even for hard-to-fill jobs. As Forbes notes, this makes hiring a “proactive process” instead of a “reactive” one.

Even with proactive recruiting, the multitude of resumes bouncing around HR desks can be daunting. But AI can help with that, too—assessing resumes and social media profiles in a small fraction of the time it would take human beings. In an interview with Financial Times, Brigitte Van Den Houte, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Global Talent Management at Pitney Bowes, explained how AI helped the organization scale up their recruitment efforts without relying on temporary recruiters—plus, it reduced the time it took to fill positions by as much as 10 percent, or nine days.

2. Rediscover talent

When you must fill a position quickly, don’t sleep on talent in your database. According to Ideal, companies may very well be sitting on a goldmine in the form of past applicants. For high volume roles, Ideal notes that, on average, 65 percent of resumes received are ignored. But with talent rediscovery software, organizations can find previous applications that match current open positions.

Tony Le, Senior Director of Global Recruiting for IAC Publishing, explained in an interview with SHRM how he uses AI to search the company’s vast database for applicants. Using machine-learning algorithms, candidates are matched to job descriptions and compiled into a short list, ranked by suitability for different positions. He stated, “Use of artificial intelligence has helped us reduce at least a week’s worth of time on the front end of the cycle.”

3. Promote a diverse workforce

Hiring diversity can also benefit from AI. As Fortune notes, humans and AI bring very different elements to the hiring process. People may have insight to share from their own experiences and expertise, but they also bring their own preferences, biases, and assumptions. And while AI may depend on the initial input of a programmer, it can cut away those biases to review applicants equally and find strong candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Keep HR in step with AI

Automation and AI are well poised to help speed up recruiting and hiring processes, but placing automation technology on top of outdated processes can create bottlenecks. In some cases, updating portions of the HR department may ultimately require updating the entire department.

For example, organizations should not let their print environment fall behind. It may seem like a small thing, but HR handles more paper documents than most other departments. Adopting a Device as a Service (DaaS) program can help to ensure that all hardware used by the HR department is constantly monitored and up to date—that way, you don’t have to worry about AI software slowing your IT assets down. Managed print services also offer more autonomous machines to ensure that recruiters spend minimal time wrestling with printer malfunctions and more time communicating with people.

Protecting employee information is another sticking point. HR departments should insist on an IT environment that includes secure endpoints, encryption, and multifactor authentication. The volume of data that runs through AI applications makes them all the more difficult to secure—but the sensitivity of that data makes security all the more important.

AI for recruiting allows HR and talent acquisition to enter a bold, new world. Despite bumpy roads and the challenge of protecting employee information, the urgent need for handling high volumes of applicant info demands robust solutions. Right now, AI appears to be the most promising route for future-focused HR departments to follow.

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