Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Recruitment: Why RPO Will Lead the Way

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about how artificial intelligence will affect recruitment. (If you have been living under a rock, read this, this, this or this to catch up.) Most predictions paint a future that looks very different, but with little idea of how we actually get there. Sort of like a sci-fi movie – we don’t see much in the transitions, we just know that we all end up wearing uniforms and flying spaceships.

Technology will soon change how we hire each other, but not how we want to experience being hired.Recruitment in the future will, just like everything else, have more automation. But the automation must be careful and intentional – remember that we have gotten this wrong before (looking at you, ATS industry). It can’t be just an arms race to see who can use the most automation. It’s about crafting an experience for each candidate to give them the right amount of technology mixed with the right amount of human touch. We must not forget that job seeking is a deeply personal and emotional experience.

AI will no doubt transform the way companies do their hiring. It is clear to me that RPO providers are uniquely positioned to help lead companies through these changes, because they bring with them the following strengths:

  1. Mountains of data: Without data, AI just isn’t very, well, intelligent. As technologies gobble up vast amounts of data, and anonymized data is able to be shared across clients, RPO companies have terrific access to data to feed artificially intelligent systems. Because it operates in a controlled environment, the RPO provider can also have high-quality data, whereas HR tech companies lack the time and incentive to curate data, ending up with a messier version.

  2. A relentless focus on candidate experience: While automation will reduce costs, it can and will hurt candidate experience when done poorly. As the steward of a client’s brand, an RPO partner must design the right experience, recognizing that the job seeker’s experience is an emotional one and finding the right touchpoints to maximize engagement.

    In an experiment with one of our clients last year, we eliminated phone screens and automated the hiring process to push candidates directly from their application to the manager interview. The first thing that happened was that candidates stopped showing up. They weren’t engaged, so it wasn’t a big deal to blow it off. We inserted a shorter “engagement call” by a recruiter, not to do an interview, but to build rapport and an emotional connection with the candidate. Interview rates shot right back up.

  3. Skilled experts required to get the job done: The modern HR department has many specialists, but it’s never enough. Teams need core experts in technology, recruitment marketing, compliance and sourcing. Furthermore, they need specialists who help them hire in far-flung locations or obscure industries. It’s not practical (or perhaps even possible) to assemble a core team with the expertise a partner can provide.

    In the team of the future, there are experience designers, marketing strategists, data scientists and recruiting concierges designing, redesigning and executing customized experiences for candidates.

  4. Accountability for results: Like the recruiting shifts before it, there will be lots of technology sold. It will be sold from fancy demos and great salespeople, and implemented with tight project plans. But results will be murky, and vendors will say that the client didn’t do X right or is too slow to adopt change. Clients will blame vendors for poor training or the lack of XYZ features in the software. With an RPO partner, the accountability is clear: get results. An RPO provider can’t just sell something because it demos well, they need to produce results. This reduces risk for those innovative employers who are willing to lead the charge by partnering with a provider that is accountable for the entire process.

The step change in recruitment is coming. Technology will soon alter how we hire each other, but not how we want to experience being hired. By combining technological expertise with thoughtfully crafted experiences, RPO partners are the best resource to help businesses forge their path in the new world.

Post contributed by Adam Godson, Cielo’s Vice President of Global Technology Solutions. Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGodson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Comments

Martin Warren 12/15/2016 1:46:26 AM

12/15/2016 1:46:27 AM

Excellent post Adam. Technology is the enabler, execution is what will drive the competitive advantage.
Adam Godson 12/17/2016 11:54:22 AM

12/17/2016 11:54:24 AM

You're right, Martin! I hope all HR practitioners are as enlightened, as I'm certain that it will take some time to find the right balance. Much like with applicant tracking systems, there are many people prone to apply technology over experience without consideration to the candidate or others experience.