July 24, 2019

Drowning in Data, Artificial Intelligence Is a Lifeline

Part 2 of an ongoing series inspired by What’s Next for You: The Eightfold Path to Transforming the Way We Hire and Manage Talent

One of the best quotes from What’s Next for You is also one of its simplest – “It’s time to put more humanity back into the talent recruiting and management process.” If people are our most important corporate assets, how did recruiting and talent management become so cold and impersonal?

In some ways, it’s a generational issue. As Boomers age out of the workforce, the assumptions that built their careers don’t easily apply to younger workers:

  • Newer generations represent fewer workers available, even with increasingly automated jobs
  • Job skills must be updated far faster than ever before
  • Positions require particular technical demands, leading to increasingly narrow job requirements.

At the same time, younger workers make different demands upon potential employers:

  • 25-35-year-olds want to make an immediate impact, rather than wait for years to rise through the ranks
  • They will trade salary for more meaningful work or a better cultural workplace fit
  • They expect mobile, consumer-grade digital solutions for finding a job and building their careers.

In short, most organizations’ talent management models support yesterday’s jobs and yesterday’s workers, not the people who will dominate the workforce very soon.

These individuals are more likely to have in-demand technical skills. Combined with the relative scarcity of qualified worker, the intense need to find them becomes much more understandable. Common sense indicates that the law of supply and demand should apply. If there’s a shortage of talent and a mismatch between employer expectations and applicant demands, then the market will adjust to what younger workers require.

And yet, that change has been slow to come. Something else must be affecting this process.

Data-driven hiring and the internet are those somethings. It’s never been easier to post job descriptions anywhere. It’s also never been easier to apply for jobs everywhere.

This combination of factors means that recruiters and hiring managers have no time to review avalanches of applications, many of which have been gamed to match keywords rather than accurately convey someone’s ability to do the job. The hiring workflows and process in use map to a world that doesn’t exist anymore and can’t handle the volume.

Overlooked talent, poor hiring decisions, and impersonal processes that alienate applicants are the inevitable result – precisely the opposite of the user experience that younger job seekers expect. It should surprise no one that jobs go unfilled, and employee expectations outstrip an organization’s ability to meet them.

This mismatch makes the artificial intelligence approach so intriguing. The answer to putting humanity back into the hiring process is to use all that data more comprehensively and more effectively. That’s what the talent intelligence approach delivers – a digital solution for a digital, even post-digital, age. AI technology becomes the foundation upon which people and relationships once again become the focus of the process, delivered in a structured, purposeful, and functional way.

For managers, this situation will change because it must. The only question is which organizations will thrive because they move faster than their competitors.

This post only covers one aspect of this very complex topic – the irony that data and database-based talent management helped create this crisis, and that artificial intelligence is the best tool for managing that data and restoring the human element to the process. But it’s a very good place to begin.

What’s Next for You: The Eightfold Path to Transforming the Way We Hire and Manage Talent, by Eightfold’s Ashutosh Garg and Kamal Ahluwalia, is on sale now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble