In recent years, AI has revolutionised almost every industry and business function – and now it’s coming for talent acquisition.
Uptake of AI tools that can augment existing talent activities and enable new ones is already gathering momentum. According to Gartner, 17% of organisations were using AI for HR in 2019, and by 2022, it’s predicted that another 30% will follow their lead.
But as we’ve written about elsewhere, talent teams should be wary of using AI without a clear sense of what outcomes they want to drive, and exactly how they are delivered by different tools and solutions. AI is a complex and evolving technology, so it’s not always a given that it will generate positive returns.
As talent leaders evaluate AI solutions, it’s important to interrogate how they link back to critical business outcomes. A good way to explore the question is to categorize AI’s areas of impact into the following: recruiter experience, candidate experience and employee experience.
The pandemic made an already-challenging talent landscape even tougher for recruiters. Not only are some skills in short supply, there is also a shift in workers’ priorities which favors flexibility over benefits, pay and culture. Recruiters are looking for tools and practices to help them add clarity to their communication with both internal and external candidates. They need to cut their costs, and improve their ability to make accurate, data-driven decisions.
AI can help recruiters become more productive and efficient, partly by enabling them to reach high volumes of candidates without sacrificing quality, and partly by helping them narrow the field of available options more accurately.
AI-driven talent tools can automate data collection and parsing, easily creating large, rich and compliant talent pipelines. Because the quality of data is better, so too is the predictability of hiring results: strong candidates can be sourced at scale, reducing time-to-hire.
Critically, these historically manual processes can be replicated automatically, with custom rules built to prioritise high-value tasks and roles. It means talent teams can put their limited human resources to better use, improving their own performance and creating positive business impacts in a much shorter time.
Delivering an excellent candidate experience – both for those who win positions, and those who don’t – is critical to maintain a good employer brand, and attract talent in a competitive marketplace. But recruitment has historically had a bad rep, thanks to patchy processes characterised by long waits, poor communication, and aggressive questioning from ill-prepared interviewers.
In today’s market, that approach won’t cut it. Instead, candidates need to be at the centre of the talent experience from day one. They need to feel desired and empowered; that companies are trying to earn their attention, and not vice-versa.
Delivering a personalized candidate experience at scale becomes much easier with AI. Intelligent sourcing tools can suggest candidates from outside recruiters’ usual talent pools, identifying relevant skillsets in people with roles or backgrounds recruiters might not think to consider. That helps generate a wider, more diverse talent pool that AI can automatically match up to open roles, speeding up an often slow process.
The candidate experience on career sites or during automated interactions (such as with chatbots or email campaigns) can also be personalized, increasing engagement and conversion rates. AI systems learn more about candidates as they browse, and can serve up customised content and targeted recommendations for job roles or content consumption with every new visit.
According to the Beamery Talent Index of 2020, only 46% of HR leaders say their organization lacks the skills to drive future performance, and yet 57% of employees say it’s easier to find new jobs in different organizations than to progress internally. Something doesn’t add up.
Top talent is difficult to attract, and businesses need to work hard to retain valuable employees once they have them, or risk churn. But existing employees are usually an afterthought when looking for skills to fill open roles – even though they’re already a proven culture fit, and take far less time to hire, onboard and create impact. To ensure they have the right people in place to meet the future needs of the business, talent teams need to show employees a clear path to progression.
AI enables talent teams to identify potential internal mobility paths for employees. It can infer skills from roles and job titles, suggesting tailored growth paths for employees that improve retention. AI can also spot the valuable skills that already exist in-house, and that HR could invest in developing. Optimizing available skills within the existing workforce means businesses can execute on plans faster.
As the HR technology space matures, more AI-led solutions are coming to market which enhance recruiter experience, candidate experience and talent mobility. They offer more efficient, more intelligent ways to bring new talent into businesses and improve career pathing for those already in the ranks. For talent teams, AI is becoming an invaluable asset, helping them deliver on their ever-increasing talent acquisition and management remit at scale. People are any business’ biggest asset: with AI, talent teams can optimise those assets to drive real results.