Companies Are Investing in AI and Automation to Boost Talent Recruitment and Retention

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If you haven’t yet listened to the demo of the much-buzzed-about AI-powered Google Duplex, which can book your haircuts and make dinner reservations, certainly do so. The ambition is remarkable — can artificial intelligence really master the nuances of polite conversation? — even if the product does not completely deliver. (At times, Google Duplex sputtered and jumped jarringly between different speech cadences.)

Google’s developers confirmed that the human on the other end of the call would be informed that she or he is speaking to AI, which makes me wonder how social norms would change in a human-AI conversation. I thought of this when I came across Randstad Sourceright’s recent report showing that businesses are increasingly using AI to recruit skilled employees and address talent shortages, a well-reported challenge in the procurement sector.

Surveying more than 800 talent management professionals, Randstad Sourceright found that 54% believe that AI can make the hiring process more efficient and consistent. This can come in the form of automated interview scheduling or chatbots that provide job applicants with updates and answers to common questions.

In industries such as procurement and supply chain, where companies find themselves competing for a small pool of skilled employees, AI and automation can make the hiring process seem less impersonal, the report authors argue.

A well-designed chatbot can help prevent applicants from feeling forgotten about during lengthy hiring processes, even though the notion of using AI to make hiring seem more personal may sound ironic. Forty-three percent of the professionals surveyed also thought that AI provides the advantage of freeing up hiring managers to make stronger connections with select candidates.

Technology Investments Beyond AI

On average, just over half of employers around the world are increasing their technology investments to improve their workplace experience, while 46% are specifically investing in technology to improve the hiring experience. However, these figures differ somewhat from country to country.

The majority of India-based employers are investing more in technology to improve their workplace experience (78%) and job candidate experience (64%). Brazil, Singapore and Sweden are seeing a similar trend.

On the other end of the spectrum are Japan, Belgium and Germany. Only 16% of employers in Japan are investing more in technology to boost workplace experience, and 11% are doing so to improve the job candidate experience.

U.S.-based employers fall somewhere in the middle, with a slight majority reporting an increased investment in technology to improve the workplace experience (58%) and the job candidate experience (60%).

Globally, the three most common actions employers are taking to improve the job candidate experience are improving the career website experience, creating talent communities and content plans, and conducting training for hiring managers. Among U.S.-based survey respondents, more than three quarters say that their companies conduct internal audits to map the job candidate experience from search to hire.

Here are some more notable findings from the report:

  • Seventy-six percent of respondents from the banking and financial services industry think that their employee engagement programs are being delivered effectively, higher than any other industry.
  • Unsurprisingly, employers in the IT and technology industry are most likely to be increasing their technology investments to improve their workplace and job candidate experiences.
  • Providing interview and hiring process information to candidates is a common technique in the automotive and manufacturing industry and the banking and financial services industry to improve the job candidate experience.
  • Only 43% of respondents from the consumer goods industry think that their employee engagement programs are important to job candidates, in contrast to over 60% for the other industries.

Check out the full report here.

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