The COVID-19 pandemic has forced human resources teams to rebuild their talent acquisition processes to both widen their talent pools and operate in a virtual environment.
“This crisis has led us to reimagine recruiting,” says Michael Wright, global head of talent acquisition for media investment company GroupM, in a sentiment echoed by companies around the world.
Artificial intelligence has become a critical element in those new processes. According to our recent survey of HR professionals concerning the future of the industry, greater than 81 percent of HR teams plan to use more AI tools over the next five years.
Here’s a look at just how AI is supporting new talent acquisition processes to help HR meet the workforce demands of their organizations in a post-pandemic economy.
AI Helps Widen Talent Pools
Sourcing talent is becoming one of the biggest challenges for organizations in a post-COVID labor market that favors workers. With a high number of workers leaving for better jobs and unemployed workers delaying their return to work until certain workplace conditions are met, employers are at a disadvantage in the fight for talent.
“Many workers don’t want to go back to the jobs they once had,” writes Dee-Ann Durbin, business writer at The Associated Press. Given the shortage of talent in the workforce right now, workers are able to hold out until they get a higher-paying job with better benefits because employers are scrambling to entice them back.
To meet workforce demands, HR teams are being pushed to cast wider nets to attract candidates, including unconventional/nontraditional candidates who wouldn’t normally be considered. With its predictive analytics and data-mining capabilities, AI is playing a pivotal role in this endeavor.
For example, by analyzing a candidate’s work experience, an AI-based tool can locate candidates who don’t have the exact skills to meet criteria for a job, but who have job experiences that translate well for the role. This brings more candidates into the pipeline for filling job vacancies.
AI Automates Talent Acquisition Processes
Because the market for talent is so tight, organizations are having to move quickly to secure workers. By automating tasks that are normally time-consuming, AI helps speed up each step in the talent acquisition process. This enables companies to stay competitive in the race for talent.
Through keywords and historical data, for example, AI allows hiring teams to find candidates from a greater supply of more diverse sources. HR teams can then scan higher volumes of resumes more quickly to find the most qualified candidates.
Conversational AI is being used to shorten the application process by allowing candidates to answer questions via text message to apply for a job. Chatbots help hiring teams stay engaged with candidates by alerting candidates to their application status and answering their questions throughout the hiring process. The technology also schedules interviews, eliminating extended back-and-forth communication that wastes time.
The interview itself is transformed with AI. Historically, candidates have been asked questions that have little correlation to quality of hire, such as where they want to be in five years, or their five biggest strengths and weaknesses. With AI, interviews focus on skills. The interviewer asks about skills the candidate appears to have, but that need to be validated. And, the interviewer talks to candidates about skills they appear not to have; perhaps the candidate does have that experience after all.
In short, AI enables hiring managers to streamline talent acquisition processes so they can source and hire top-quality talent in a very competitive labor market.
AI Facilitates Virtual Onboarding
Onboarding is another important part of the talent acquisition process that is being supported by AI. This is perhaps the most important phase in the hiring process because, according to a 2020 survey by employee management platform Hibob, “64 percent of employees are likely to leave a new job within their first year after having a negative onboarding experience.”
At a time when workers are hard to find, companies need to provide the type of onboarding experience that makes employees want to stay.
AI is enabling companies to provide positive onboarding experiences by automating document generation and delivery, allowing employees to receive answers to onboarding questions around-the-clock through chatbots, and gamifying elements of onboarding to increase employee engagement. Through AI-powered tools, all of this can be done virtually so no matter where new employees are located, they can onboard and get to work more quickly.
As the administrative aspects of onboarding are streamlined, organizations can upgrade the onboarding experience. Time is freed up for more strategic conversations. AI can be used during onboarding to work with employees on:
- What skills are of interest to the new employee and drafting a plan to acquire those skills
- Setting goals that align with business needs and the new employees career path
- Making connections between the new hire and colleagues and potential mentors across the organization
- Planning for projects that can help employees meet new people and gain skills they may not be using in their day-to-day work
- Identifying what internal jobs may be available on down the road
Organizations that aren’t using AI to support their talent acquisition processes are going to fall behind in the race for talent. In the current economy where the demand for workers is so high, workers have more choices than ever about where to work. To attract and hire them, HR teams must embrace the competitive advantages AI-powered tools can give them.
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