Amazon’s machine learning specialists recently uncovered a big problem: its new recruiting engine didn’t like women. [^1]
It was an advanced system that could process large amounts of historical data and use algorithms to “learn” about and recommend candidates to their internal recruiting team. Pretty impressive.
Even though they scrapped the project last year and the end result was an embarrassing situation for Amazon, the snafu helped shed light on how far A.I. and machine learning have actually come.
While a myriad of industries had been using A.I., automation, complex analysis, and big data to improve decision making, tools for a more data-driven approach to recruiting is now here. And, it’s transforming the industry in some key ways.
Benefits of A.I. in Recruiting
The automation process in recruiting is accelerated by three things: an overall digitalization of modern businesses, advanced software, and a need to improve the efficiency of the hiring process. In fact, Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends report says 38 percent of companies use A.I. and 62 percent expect to do so by the end of this year.
Advancements in the space are helping recruiters find passive candidates quicker. Machine learning can help predict whether or not a person is likely to change jobs and filtering out candidates through segmentation models. And, it can even help improve the overall candidate experience early on.
Done right, A.I. can integrate seamlessly into current hiring process workflows. But while A.I. is helping recruiters break through to source and find candidates in some important ways, the reality is that it’s very much a competitive market. Let’s go through the four ways automation and machine learning using A.I. are helping recruiters find and screen candidates faster, and talk through the missing piece.
- Automation for high-volume tasks. Manually screening resumes are one of the most time-consuming tasks for recruiters, especially if more than half are from unqualified candidates. Some companies are already using screening services to find ideal candidates or dismiss unqualified ones and new advancements in A.I. can help by looking for patterns in screening at a faster rate than the human hand. Done right, some can even predict who may or may not be successful in the future.
- Natural language processing to analyze speech patterns. Advancements in tech are creating A.I.-generated voices that are even almost indistinguishable from human ones (Turing Test, anyone?). While we have some time until we can have a proper conversation with an A.I. we’re pretty close. Similar A.I. can help recruiters learn a lot about a candidate just from the way they talk and more sophisticated software can even help analyze the language competencies (fluency, pronunciation, colloquialism) which can benefit more diverse talent markets. Advances in natural language comprehension have made chatbots capable of taking over many communications tasks, in other markets, like taking orders and answering customer questions. One company here in Chicago, Motion.ai (Chicago) is working to bring chatbots to the masses and enabling businesses to better engage, convert, close customers. One way this type of tech can play out in the recruiting space is by having A.I. collect information and do the dirty work to screen candidates, or keep in a regular communication cadence (i.e., reminding of upcoming appointments or sending notes in between interviews to enhance the candidate experience).
- Data science to measure and match talent. Traditional video interviews are taken to a whole new level with new facial and speech recognition technology. Recruiters may or may not even need to watch video interviews to learn whether or not someone is suited for the role. Advanced software can analyze the candidate’s body language, the tone of their voice, and measure their stress level via facial and speech recognition. Then make a recommendation on the candidate, saving recruiters time from having to sit through lengthy screening processes. And, companies like Code Pilot are helping match technical talent faster with compatible companies through the use of data science, machine learning, and automation.
- Programmatic ads will make more job ads way more targeted. In the same way that Instagram suggests clothing brands you might like or Spotify recommends songs, programmatic advertising is the automated buying, selling and placement of ads through software, with minimal human intervention. There’s increased use of super targeted ads thanks to things like your phone’s microphone, web browsing habits, and so on. Traditionally, placing job ads required researching the best places to buy ads, calculating pricing and availability, placing orders, and then uploading ads manually. Now with programmatic recruitment advertising, employers no longer have to follow the 'post and pray' approach.
Application Challenges and the Missing Piece
A.I. is helping the recruiting industry standardize some processes, helping increase efficiencies and workflows. In other words, these advancements are helping recruiters find and source qualified candidates. But there’s not much yet available to help recruiters get through to candidates.
Reaching and fostering relationships is still very much a human thing. For many companies, it’s a challenge to actually get through to, reach and retain candidates in the process—namely passive ones.
At Hunt Club, we’ve significantly invested in advancing our tech network utilization and developing algorithms to assess the relative strength of every single connection. This helps improve the upfront workflow and processes, allowing our services team to spend more time developing relationships and building trust with qualified candidates at a much higher rate than the industry: Hunt Club has a 70 percent success rate compared to the industry’s 20 percent.
Whether someone is actively or passively looking for a new job, there’s a level of candidate care that job seekers expect from recruiters in order to consider making a move.
In the End
It’s exciting that we’re collectively getting smarter about how to identify great talent and company fit, but if you don’t have the team and budget to invest accordingly, you may find yourself at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to finding talent.
Over to You
Are you in HR and already using A.I. in your business? Where do you see automation helping the industry? We'd love to know more about your story.