Artificial Intelligence

How Integrating AI Into Recruitment Can Benefit Companies Facing a Labor Crisis

Entrepreneurs intent on fast growth need to stay one step ahead of their competitors. That's where AI comes in -- or should.
How Integrating AI Into Recruitment Can Benefit Companies Facing a Labor Crisis
Image credit: Photographer is my life | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Co-founder and CEO, XOR.ai
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Unemployment in the United States is at its lowest rate (3.7 percent)  in nearly 50 years. Great news, right? Yet, while this indicates the positive state of our economy, it also indicates major labor shortages across some of the country’s biggest sectors, including construction, retail, hospitality, manufacturing and health care.

Related: Is Artificial Intelligence Replacing Your Intelligence?

And with 60 percent of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder saying they're struggling to fill vacancies within a 12-week time span or even longer, our tight laor market is a costly problem that needs to be solved, fast.

With many of these industries experiencing a boom, in particular the construction sector, it’s not uncommon for businesses to find they are unable to staff their teams well enough to keep up with the expansion. So, companies intent on fast growth need to stay one step ahead of their competitors. And that's where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in.

Integrating AI and chatbots into high-volume recruitment processes will help you get the people you need for your company, and get them sooner than later. These technologies promise to give you an edge over your competitors; just consider that 85 percent of executives in a survey reported by the MIT Sloan Management Review said they believed AI will help their companies sustain a competitive advantage.

So you can't afford to wait. Here’s how AI can make an immediate impact to your recruitment needs.

Chatbots speed up the recruitment process.

Many applicants to blue collar jobs are likely living paycheck to paycheck, and are going to take the job they can get the fastest. This means you can’t afford to have a slow recruitment process that’s delayed by the time it takes for human employees to screen resumes, contact candidates and get back to them with updates and answers to queries. In fact, integrating AI into the first stages of the hiring process has proven to increase recruiter productivity by 3.7 times.

Related: How Artificial Intelligence Is Reinventing Human Resources

With AI, the initial stage of the application process is taken care of faster than any human recruiters could perform: Chatbots are there for applicants 24/7, and can answer any questions they might have about salary, vacation and work schedules, among others.

The chatbot is also able to ask candidates all the initial mandatory questions, such as those about legal work status, past experience and transportation needs, and process this data immediately. If the candidate is then approved, based on this formal criteria, he or she can be scheduled for an interview.

Just think about how long this whole process takes when done by human recruiters who have to spend time contacting each individual applicant and reviewing that person's questions and responses one by one. So, if your industry is short on labor, and you need to hire fast, this is the way to do it.

AI can assess candidate quality better than humans can.

By adding a predictive-analytics component to your hiring process, you'll see how AI, in many instances, can assess just how good a candidate is, and can do this better than your current recruiters can.

Making sure you’re getting quality talent to fill your positions will result in less employee turnover, bigger cost savings and more productivity down the line. And this is crucial, considering that the costs of a bad hire can be huge, and 69 percent of recruitment companies in one study reported having made a bad hiring decision based on a flawed interview process.

Predictive analytics, on the other hand, can process data about previous and current employees, then find correlations between best performance indicators and individual applicants.

From this, they can make predictions as to whether or not a candidate is likely to stay long with the company and even be promoted. AI can also confirm a candidate’s skills based on concrete data points, whereas humans often over-qualify a candidate based on his or her self-description.

AI can even be used to reel more people into applying for the roles you need filled, by finding the right matches online, and placing your company's job opportunities in front of them.

Of course, AI isn't perfect: Leaving hiring decisions to predictive analysis to handle alone without human input has resulted in unfair bias with regard to gender and race in some cases. That's why it's crucial to review the demographics of the people you’re hiring to ensure that everyone is given a fair chance, and that the AI is not skewing favor away from groups such as women or ethnic minorities.

Chatbots can eliminate human bias.

Your Talent Acquisition team members may believe they’re conscious of any unintended bias or not, but ultimately, people are  flawed in their ability to be completely unbiased when they choose new employees.

Again, that's where AI comes in: Any decisions that might be influenced by prejudice toward race, age or gender, are eliminated once this technology takes over the pre-interview recruitment process.

As your AI scans applicants’ demographic information, the intelligence can be programmed to specifically not allow these demographic points to be used in any decisions made about the candidate. In this way, diversity in the workplace can be increased; and that alone has been proven to hold many benefits, not the least of which is to increase your workforce pool.

From the candidate's point of view

For a candidate, having a conversation with a chatbot can be more productive and comfortable than a dialogue with another human being. The chatbot is able to collect and provide data in a way that a resume cannot, and it can use data from previous chats to adapt its responses to the applicant, with no conscious or unconscious bias at play.

This information-gathering ability, combined with the speed at which chatbots progress through the hiring stages, increases the chance of the candidate sticking around and finishing the application process.

In fact, 58 percent of candidates surveyed by Allegis said they wouldn’t mind interacting with a chatbot in the first stages of the hiring process. And that high percentage bodes well in terms of making AI more a household concept and less something associated with sci-fi movies.

Evidence of that? In a case study by the IBS group, 99.3 percent of candidates surveyed who'd interacted with a recruitment chatbot were satisfied with the process.

In short, integrating AI into your hiring procedures promises to speed up the process, to help make sure you get the caliber of candidates you need, while eliminating bias and diversifying your team. So, is this really something you can afford to be missing out on?

Related: Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Recruiters?

If your own company is currently benefiting from the economic boom seen across many sectors in the United States, sooner or later a lack of staff will start holding you back from your potential for growth. That's why it's important to make sure you stay one step ahead of your competitors and get both the quality and quantity of talent necessary by enhancing your recruitment department with AI's capabilities.

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