Talent Acquisition Technology: Better Hiring Through Automation

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Why should the tech candidates you recruit be the only ones who get to play with artificial intelligence? HR departments and hiring professionals are increasingly coming to see the value of incorporating advanced technology to streamline the hiring process — while automating away some of the mundane tasks from the job.

According to Joyce Shen at CIO, the HR tech market is estimated to reach $9 billion by 2022. Industry players should, therefore, expect a significant impact on the way they operate and strategize during the hiring process.

There are a number of organizations adopting technology early on. Brett Walsh and Erica Volini at Deloitte report that 41 percent of companies say they have fully implemented or have made significant progress in adopting cognitive and AI technologies within their workforce.

Using technology to exploit data more efficiently as well as automate tasks is essential to organizations looking to create a faster, simpler and more accurate hiring process.

This post deals with the technology companies are already using and what we can expect in the not too distant future.

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Applicant Tracking Systems and Why They Are So Useful

Let’s start with applicant tracking systems, which have been around for some time now. Simply put, an ATS is an automated program to manage the recruiting process, from receiving applications to hiring employees.

Applicants’ personal information — such as their contact, experience and education, resume and cover letter — are uploaded to a recruitment database when they apply for a job online. The information can be transferred within the system as candidates move through the hiring process, writes Alison Doyle at the Balance.

This also enables automated messages be sent to candidates confirming receipt of their application or that online tests be administered. A hiring manager can schedule interviews or rejection letters can be mailed through the ATS. All of this information can reach payroll through the system, should a candidate be successful.

ATS for Compliance

An ATS is also good for compliance. Brian Delle Donne, president of Talent Tech Labs, tells Forbes that an ATS keeps records of hires, longlists, shortlists and elected interviewees. This helps to demonstrate an organization is an equal-opportunity employer by keeping tabs on gender, race and disabilities.

“Recruiters receive so many resumes for each open position that it’s gotten past the point where humans can do it without assistance,” Delle Donne says. An ATS acts as a filter, allowing hiring managers to maximize their time on shortlisted candidates.

Finding the right ATS to fit an organization’s needs is essential, according to Lauren Kirkpatrick at TalentCulture. Legacy systems are tried and tested, albeit sometimes cumbersome, but they also ensure compliance. Larger organizations may be tied to these systems, but SMEs are freer to choose more agile systems.

An ATS isn’t just for hiring, Kirkpatrick argues; it is also effective for talent management, onboarding, training and facilitating processes downstream during talent acquisition.

ATS Versus Recruiting Software

Rachel Blakely, at Technology Advice, talks about the difference between an ATS, which focuses solely on tracking applicants, and recruiting software that connects candidates with clients.

A lot of recruiting software incorporates ATS features in addition to scheduling, email marketing, multiple users, boolean search and mobile capabilities. An organization’s choice will depend on its size and hiring needs.

A business owner or HR manager for a small company will likely be satisfied with a simple ATS to speed up hiring. Larger organization or those with in-house recruiters might choose online recruiting software to streamline the hiring process and fill job orders faster for your clients.

Blakely argues either option will “help kick your hiring process into full gear.” The software can do the hard work instead of HR managers wasting time reading and organizing resumes one at a time.

End-to-End Software

In a bid to automate away an HR person’s day-to-day admin wholesale, Brian McDowell at HR Locker argues for end-to-end recruitment software. This will take care of sorting, shortlisting and responding to candidates, as well as delivering on-brand, consistent and timely messages to candidates regarding their progression, or not, to the next stage of the recruitment process.

The right software can also help analyze the lifecycle of a new vacancy, giving data to refine the various processes such as the job description, output of the ad, shortlisting, interviewing, appointment and onboarding.

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How Artificial Intelligence Will Change Talent Management

Now, let’s move onto the hot topic of artificial intelligence. Jessica Miller-Merrell, at Workology, clarifies the term by describing AI as “an ideal ‘intelligent’ machine [that] is a flexible rational agent that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.” It uses learning algorithms that mimic cognitive functions to make machines more like humans.

Miller-Merrell says using AI will make HR generally and talent acquisition specifically more strategic. She argues that an AI chatbox or app will help screen candidates’ answers to questions, and engage them further with automated communication during the application and after accepting an offer.

AI, according to Miller-Merrell, will also help with:

  • Onboarding by providing new hires with information and resources.
  • Career development through individualized programs and coaching.
  • Compliance and case management by “investigating” and documenting incidents and employee investigations.

However, amid all the talk of AI, Miller-Merrell notes the prevailing reality of the profession: “A number of HR and recruiting leaders still rely on staffing plans and dashboards that are [managed] and maintained mostly via spreadsheet.”

She goes on to suggest that AI can “fundamentally change” how employers effectively recruit and hire candidates.

Also confident in AI’s value is Lewis Lustman at HireRight, who says AI is going to affect recruiting tasks by reducing time to hire and improving the quality of candidates.

AI can source candidates by predicting their capabilities for the advertised role. Accessing the multiple pockets of available data online from social networking and job sites, the AI has a wealth of information to match to the job requirements.

When integrated within an ATS, AI can review resumes, select candidates for interviews, schedule meetings and communicate with them. It can also assess unsuccessful applicants’ suitability for other roles in the company.

Not only does all this work undertaken by AI free up hiring managers’ time, but it also enjoys swift responses and an enhanced candidate experience. This is always a good result to boost the employer brand.

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AI Assists With Diversity

Co-founder of AI firm Mya Systems Eyal Grayevsky tells Wired of his goal to make Silicon Valley more diverse. He plans to do this by removing human biases from recruitment.

An intelligent chatbot interviews and evaluates job candidates the way a recruiter would. Only the chatbot is programmed to operate in particular ways, asking objective and performance-based questions, while dropping the biases and judgements of humans.

Taking a different view is Lustman at HireRight, who urges circumspection amid the excitement of AI’s development. AI may inadvertently lead to biases if kept unchecked, Lustman argues. Machine learning means that AI, after reviewing thousands of candidates for thousands of jobs, may note a significant number of recommended candidates are 25-year-old males with five years of experience.

“It may engineer its own algorithm that results in a preference for candidates who first meet those criteria, or could choose to exclude those candidates altogether as a result of fears of over-saturation of this candidate type,” Lustman writes.

While this is a valid challenge or caution, Ji-A Min at Ideal remains undeterred. She argues that by knowing AI has the potential to replicate an existing bias means, hiring managers can monitor for it. And if a bias does occur, they are able to remove it.

A Small Synopsis of Talent Management Tech — With a Focus on AI

While there are many advances and options in various talent management technology, we have chosen a few to spotlight:

  • Arya is AI that scans the web for candidates and arranges interviews with them. It makes predictions concerning candidates’ likelihood to move from existing roles as well as their cultural fit for the new company.
  • Beamery is a recruiting CRM driven by AI components Watson and Sherlock. It prioritizes candidates based on qualifications, suggesting when to contact them and keeps them on recruiters’ radars.
  • Cyra uses machine learning and natural language processing to source the best candidate. It also manages workflows by automating mundane tasks.
  • Entelo seeks out passive candidates from multiple sources in a single platform. It also ensures underrepresented groups based on gender, ethnicity, and veteran status are included.
  • Hired connects people with the right companies at the right time. Machine-learning algorithms make smarter matches over time.
  • Ideal has built an AI virtual assistant that seamlessly integrates with your applicant tracking system, automating tedious tasks like candidate sourcing, resume screening and candidate rediscovery.
  • JobBot uses AI to assess and rank candidates, as well as schedule interviews.
  • JobPal is a chatbot that converses with job seekers to enhance the candidate experience.
  • Restless Bandit finds qualified candidates buried deep in ATS data. It updates candidates’ work history from the web to pair them with potential openings.
  • Swoop Talent uses AI-powered algorithms to connect and verify talent data while providing a single access point to retrieve constantly updated data.
  • Think of Talla as an AI assistant to help with employee onboarding and polling, and answering basic HR questions.
  • Augmented writing system Textio helps recruiters write better job descriptions. By analyzing millions of job ads and hiring outcomes, it calculates which words and phrases are more likely to succeed in attracting the best talent.
  • Another AI assistant is Wendy of Wade and Wendy. Wendy understands a company’s identity, which enables her to vet and deliver candidates accordingly. Wade offers career guidance to candidates, as well.
  • Xor is a chatbot for communicating with candidates via Whatsapp, Slack, Messenger, Viber and Telegram.

HR systems such as an ATS will continue to evolve and improve. However, AI is a cause for excitement. Not only will this ground-breaking tech simplify the job for hiring managers and recruiters, but it will also be able to vet candidates while paying attention to diversity and other questions of compliance.

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