candidate experience

Robots vs Recruiters: AI and the Future of Talent Acquisition

As technology advances, many in our industry wonder whether or not artificial intelligence (AI) will replace recruiters or, at the very least, how it will impact what we do and how we do it.

Is the death of the recruiter finally here? 

Our sold out and much anticipated #NextGenTA MeetUp on June 8th covered this topic thoroughly through a panel discussion and audience questions. We wanted to ask some of the industry’s best and brightest where they thought AI would take us and what kinds of obstacles and opportunities might be presented along the way.  

At the MaRS Discovery District, we sat down with Kevin Grossman, President of Global Programs, Talent Board, Victoria Reynolds, Head of Talent Acquisition at Capital One, Chris Brown, Director of Talent Solutions, Canada at LinkedIn and Sara Cooper, Talent Director at Omers Ventures. Here are just some of the highlights from our conversation and insights these talent leaders provided to the packed house at MaRS: 

Q: Is AI the death of the recruiter?

Sara answered: “No, I read this 10 years ago and we’re still here. It will however transform HR and recruiting. A good recruiter uses tools to be better and faster. If a transactional recruiter is just posting jobs and waiting for applicants, then AI might be the death of that recruiter. If you believe in building relationships then AI will only help you be a better advisor and elevate your career.”

Q: Kevin, what are your thoughts on AI’s impact on recruiters and the candidate experience?

“Relax, the robots aren’t taking over. I came into the HR tech space in 1999. AI had a job matching algorithm, which was solid technology at the time. I haven’t seen a lot of change until very recently. Like Sara said, AI helps empower recruitment. Where we will likely see the most impact (and potential job loss or restructuring) will be in sourcing and administrative tasks. Companies that win, will invest in leveraging new technology to drive efficiencies and provide better feedback loops through people.”

Q: Chris, what is AI and how is it being used today in recruitment?

It’s important to frame the different types. The term “artificial intelligence” is fairly generic. In recruitment, a lot of AI is heavily focused on matching and resume parsing. What we’re seeing now is a transition to more intelligent learning. For example, AI becomes very interesting regarding speech recognition. It’s working towards learning - using AI technology in a customer service chat bot, perhaps moving to interviewing, and face recognition. Sourcing, however, is where we might lose jobs. We can’t comprehend how fast it changes because it will almost certainly occur faster than humans can adapt to it.”

Q: Victoria, what are your thoughts? What happens if companies don’t adapt? 

“We need to find balance. We’re make progress using predictive analytics, using data to cut down on both the recruiter and candidate time. At Capital One, we’ve looked into chat bots for credit card customers - can we apply this to the recruiting experience? We’ve also looked at building an application for scheduling and aiding candidates in their preparation. We chose to build this in-house as our teams know culture and we believe that can’t be taught unless you’ve lived it.” 

Q: Sara, how has technology modified the role of the recruiter? Have we raised the bar to strategic thinking?

Recruiters don’t have the best reputation – you just have to read Linkedin to know that. They have to be better at adding value and being proactive and AI will allow them to do that. AI will separate the great recruiters from the rest because it will free them up to focus on strategic work. Recruiters who will survive are the ones who can meet the needs of the business not just today but six months or even years from now. If we are going to prep our business for our CEO stepping aside five years from now, we need to start building a pool of potential replacements today. Those relationships need to start today. That’s something that AI can’t do, at least not right now.

Q: Kevin, based on candidate experience benchmarks, where do recruiters win?

“The one thing we measure is the potential business impact of how candidates are treated. If candidates are treated fairly, communicated with, and given closure, 64% of the time they will apply again, refer others, and buy your stuff. 43% of candidates who have a bad experience will sever that relationship. This is significant for a consumer based business.” It comes down to respect for the candidates time, no amount of automation can fix that.

Sara jumped in on this one: “Always remember that declined candidates are future customers. We need to better predict with accuracy what we may need - perhaps AI will help us do a better job at workforce planning.”

Back to Kevin: “There is a speed aspect that AI can help with. Often candidates withdraw due to the length of the recruitment process.”

 

Q: Chris, what’s happening with LinkedIn right now when it comes to AI? What can we expect as it relates to Talent Solutions? 

“AI exists today on LinkedIn with features such as “jobs you are interested in” and “people you may know”. As engagement improves, AI does the heavy lifting to get you more value. LinkedIn Recruiter is still restricted to skills and keywords but it’s moving toward social cues like a LinkedIn user’s affinity to the company or brand, or intent. Our AI technology will celebrate what we do for both companies and candidates. AI will help us move from just finding people to real recruiting which goes beyond just finding people but to attracting and engaging those with the right skills and affinity to your brand.”

Q: Victoria, are we going to create bias through machine learning and AI?

“Humans are biased. Machine learning can highlight whether or not there is bias. The more technology we use to identify unconscious bias, the better off our recruitment processes will be. The robots might actually help.”

To gain the full Next Generation Talent Acquisition experience - awesome panelists and thought leaders, sponsor rewards and networking - keep an eye out for our next MeetUp announcement for September 19th! The topic: Diversity. Not a member? Join here.

Thanks again to our panelists!

Lastly, this event would not be possible without our awesome sponsors. Thank you to XRefIdealTalentMinded and ViziRecruiter for not JUST sponsoring the event but sending your awesome teams to join in on the fun and add value to the conversation. 

If you are interested in speaking, sponsoring or have a topic that you would like to see us tackle please contact Kim Benedict, kim@talentminded.ca.

Have a wonderful summer #NextGenTA friends - we’ll see you in September!

WHAT THE BEST COMPANIES DO BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE (ON CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE)

Co-authored with Candice Sommers, Project Analyst, TalentMinded.

Every year we encourage our TalentMinded team members, clients and HR community to participate in the Candidate Experience Awards to drive best practices in their recruiting programs.  At a recent workshop hosted by Achievers and facilitated by the Talent Board we learned more about what it takes to provide a truly positive candidate experience - and the results might be different from what you think!

Here’s a summary of what we know about what the best companies do better than everyone else: 

  • They pay attention to job descriptions - they create unique, compelling job ads 
  • They invest in the right channels to attract more of the right people
  • They invest in their careers site and technology to enable the process
  • They include employee testimonials in their content & invest in referral programs
  • Their recruitment process is mobile compatible and responsive
  • They make it is easy to provide status updates and communicate to candidates often
  • Acknowledge candidate skills and experience throughout the process
  • Provide agendas to interviewees
  • They provide feedback and follow up no matter what the outcome
  • Provide clarity on the process and explain decisions 
  • Ask relevant questions at every stage of the interview process
  • Ask for candidate feedback 

Providing a consistent and positive candidate experience doesn’t have to be a daunting task nor is it all about expensive swag or extravagant tactics. While ‘Candidate Charters’ and ‘Concierge Teams’ can be awesome, focusing on these simple best practices have proven to help companies raise the bar. 

In our next blog we’ll share our favorite candidate feedback survey questions and tips on how to implement some of these improvements.

TalentMinded helps companies scale through better talent acquisition programs. We offer the best in people, process, tools, technology and brand for one monthly fixed price.  You don't just need a recruiter, you need a recruitment solution.  Call or email to learn more - kim@talentminded.ca, 416.587.1283.

Why don't companies reward the people that care about them?

Why do organizations not reward external people (like alumni, clients, followers) for referring company career opportunities to their friends/family, social networks and other channels?  There are some companies that do but at TalentMinded, more often than not we uncover organizations that are just in the stages of perfecting their internal employee referral programs; they’re not even thinking out of the box! 

Years ago I worked at a company that paid out rewards to what they called, ‘brand champions’.  If you referred a new business opportunity and/or a candidate that was hired they would present you with a gift card of your choice.  There were terms and conditions of course, but overall the success of the program was less about the monetary value of the reward (in this case it was usually $250.00) and more about the passion for the brand and recognizing fans for helping them succeed.    

It was through programs and values like this that they built an engaged community of external brand champions that believed in the mission, cared about their success and always took the time to help.  It was about building strong partnerships and relationships and it worked!  The program was so successful in fact, it was like having another recruiter on their payroll! 

These types of channel referral programs are not new to how businesses drive sales and revenue, so why are they virtually obsolete from how we attract and acquire new people to our companies?

Leveraging a company’s external reach to talent through broad social media networks and other spheres of influence is core to recruitment success in today’s digital world, especially for new start-ups.  Much like a strong marketing program, to survive (or at least compete) companies must optimize all channels in the talent ‘ecosystem’ to drive awareness and ultimately create better quality, predictable talent pools. 

We know the best candidates (and customers) come from referrals – inside and out – so we’re curious – what’s stopping companies from developing this type of external program to help access and reach the right people for their business?   

We’d love to hear your successes, challenges and thoughts on external referral programs!

Comments welcome or reach out direct at kim@talentminded.ca

Author: Kim Benedict, Managing Director/Co-founder, TalentMinded Inc. www.talentminded.ca