AI and new, rapidly evolving technology. Embraced by some and feared by others. But how can they improve the efficiency of recruitment processes to ensure that the right people are identified and selected for the right roles?
This topic was explored further at our event ‘Time consuming or time saved? The future of AI and technology in recruitment’ which took place in Birmingham on Thursday 7th March. Jeremy White, speaker on future trends and Executive Editor of Wired, Laura Belfield, Senior Product Manager at PredictiveHire, and Matt Mowlam, Group Digital Director at PageGroup, discussed the evolving recruitment landscape and how technology can improve the candidate journey.
One of the key points highlighted during our discussion was that AI is a useful tool that can improve processes and has already begun to integrate into our everyday lives. On this point, Jeremy had this to say:
“We’re using it all the time now – it is in your smart systems, the web pages you look at. The best thing about artificial intelligence and machine learning is that we are interacting with it all the time as we live, work, and breathe. This is not a technology of the future - we are interacting with it now. And that actually shows you how good it is becoming, because a lot of the time people don’t even realise they are doing so.”
The evolving recruitment landscape
Recruitment and the HR function are currently experiencing a shift in the way that technology is used to support hiring processes. Laura pointed out that this means they are on the brink of a lot of disruption and transformation. “Traditionally in HR, technology has been very process related. Used to screen CVs to make processes easier, but it hasn’t really been employed to make smarter decisions.” Laura explained.
Diversity in recruitment is another key challenge. Recruiters and HR are hired for their ability to relate to people, to empathise, and to build rapport with the individuals they are interviewing as well as existing employees within a business. However, these roles are heavily process-driven and involve excessive admin tasks which can often take time away from more important responsibilities. In the recruitment process, when hiring a new candidate hours are spent attracting candidates to apply for a role, then countless more are spent sifting through CVs to find a shortlist of professionals to then be progressed to the interview stage. It is a timely and potentially costly exercise if no suitable candidates are found or worse if the wrong person is hired.
In most industries, the market for top talent is candidate-driven which means there are very few people suitable for the roles available on the market. AI and technology can help streamline these processes and support hiring managers in identifying and engaging with the most suitable candidates for a job.
Why adopt AI and technology in recruitment?
Considering how much recruitment has changed and the growing pressure to find the right people, it is needless to say that, where possible, businesses should be adopting tools that can help improve efficiency in their hiring processes. “What AI is particularly good at doing, is identifying patterns in large amounts of data that humans wouldn’t be able to spot,” Jeremy said. He continued on to highlight that this would be especially useful in matching people with jobs that they might not have previously considered.
Commenting on the technology and how it can help streamline recruitment processes Laura said: “It’s about smarter decision making and leveraging the data that exists in HR. When technology and AI are built with a great user experience in mind, it can improve the way people engage with businesses in the application process.”
Candidate engagement and the journey that professionals interact with when navigating a company website are now especially important. AI and tech are useful tools that can support hiring managers and recruiters in ensuring that all candidates have a positive experience during the acquisition phase of a recruitment process as well as when they start to explore the opportunity further.
Laura highlighted that there are three areas that this technology can improve processes; improved efficiency and more time for hiring managers to talk to candidates; increased diversity within those businesses; and boosted performance within the business as better people will be hired based on their ability to excel in the role.
Overcoming the challenges
“The war on talent is a phrase that has been around for years, but it is really real now. If a candidate has a bad experience with a business, everyone will hear about it. The opportunity for it to impact your brand is huge. So, the pressure to have a good candidate experience is much bigger. The other big thing is the pressure on diversity and reducing biases in recruitment practices. Technology can really help with that,” Laura stated.
The biggest challenges that business will face when choosing to adopt this technology will be finding the right people to implement it but also shifting the mindsets of those people who will be utilising it within the business.
Often people have an idea of what skills drive success and what traits define a top performer when actually this is their personal bias. Technology allows businesses to make smarter, data-led decisions in the recruitment process. Effective change management will be crucial in implementing new technology and should be embraced from the top down, but the people on the ground really need to be given adequate guidance and training to help them transition into these new ways of working.
If you would like to discuss this topic further, or for more information about how we can help streamline your recruitment processes, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today.
Operating Director, Michael Page