Using talent analytics to get hiring right

Dr Kiki Leutner, director of assessments innovation at HireVue and Dr Reece Akhtar, CEO of Deeper Signals, discuss how talent analytics can help organisations to get hiring right

Businesses of all sizes are on a recruitment drive. Dyson recently unveiled plans to hire 900 new engineers and IT roles in the UK. But the pressure to get recruitment right is immense amid the Great Resignation and Retention crises. And recruiters do not have the bandwidth nor finances to get it wrong.

But to add to the list of challenges recruiters face, the truth is, recruitment is well and truly broken. Riddled with cumbersome processes, traditional hiring methods are becoming increasingly strenuous for recruiters to manage. For instance, the time it takes for recruiters to scroll through endless CVs could be better spent on onboarding or building development programs. And with the job landscape only set to get more competitive for businesses and candidates alike, getting recruitment right is no longer just a nice to have. It’s fast become a necessity.

Any business that fails to recognise this will face significant challenges as they look to accelerate hiring and rebuild teams following COVID in the coming months. So, the ultimate question is, how can recruiters get hiring right?

The data science revolution

Recruiters have long considered the effects of data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) in hiring to reach a broader pool of candidates and get a fuller picture of an applicant’s skills. But with a limited understanding of how AI actually works, busy talent leaders are often reluctant to explore its benefits. We want to debunk the stigma around the use of AI in hiring, and help recruiters and candidates alike use it to their advantage.

Using AI in hiring creates endless efficiencies. It allows recruiters to automate tedious tasks that have historically monopolised their time – such as tracking candidates manually and responding to mass emails. And with hiring speed the number one concern for candidates and recruiters alike, with AI, candidates can find jobs quickly without lengthy application processes. Recruiters can also meet their ambitious time-to-fill goals.

Data-driven skill-based assessments are one example of an extremely effective AI tool for hiring. Using talent analytics to build a more unique overview of a candidates’ potential, recruiters can measure talent based on skills and capabilities. They empower hiring managers to select candidates based on skills, not universities.

Another example is conversational AI, like chatbots, that offer more personalised candidate experiences. For instance, candidates can interact with virtual hiring assistants via SMS or WhatsApp to find the best-matched jobs, schedule interviews, and receive automatic updates – all without any recruiter intervention. With candidate engagement taken care of, recruiters can focus on the most qualified candidates, speed up time to hire, and spend more time on strategic priorities.

AI can also improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in hiring, something that today’s candidates value much more than previous generations. And in today’s tough hiring climate, companies that demonstrate they value DEI, attract top talent. But it’s not just employee engagement levels that improve when businesses have effective DEI strategies in place. Research suggests that more ethnically and culturally diverse businesses are as much as 36% more profitable than the least diverse companies.

Harnessing AI to automate application screening, instead of relying on outdated CV reviews that fail to predict job success, minimises the implicit biases that run rampant in traditional interviews. With AI, recruiters are given a more holistic view of each candidate – something a piece of paper simply can’t do.

Yet despite all the benefits that come with AI, many recruiters are still hesitant to use it. Some argue that it lacks accuracy and reliability. Others say it takes away that human element. But AI does not mean replacing humans. It should be used to improve and enhance human decision-making in the hiring process.

But to ensure AI is deployed in an ethical and moral way, businesses should never try to build systems on their own, as they could end up making their hiring process far worse than it was before. Also, AI in recruitment comes with many professional bodies and legal regulations businesses most likely wouldn’t be aware of if they attempted to implement AI on their own. This is why working with specialists is the safest way to harness the technology. We’re also seeing more countries publish further regulation for algorithms in general, something which applies to recruitment too.

Take Amazon as an example. The company built its own experimental AI hiring tool to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars. In theory a great idea, but soon after its launch, the world’s largest online retailer realised that its new system was not rating candidates in a gender-neutral way. It was trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company over a 10-year period, and most came from men.

Possibilities beyond tomorrow

Clearly, AI can improve recruiting efficiency and effectiveness. But due to its complexity, it shouldn’t be used without clear intention – pursuing AI without a specific outcome in mind is a recipe for wasted budget. But when used correctly, recruiters can reap multiple rewards: reduced costs, boosted DEI, enhanced efficiencies and overall productivity.

And while we may be seeing slower adoption across businesses, AI is on its way to becoming mainstream in the recruitment world. Ultimately, in the end, it will be the most successful way in which organisations can gain a competitive advantage in the war for talent. And will go a long way in fixing recruitment.

Written by Dr Kiki Leutner, director of assessments innovation at HireVue and Dr Reece Akhtar, CEO of Deeper Signals — authors of ‘The Future of Recruitment


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