Origo AI recruitment article
Whether or not you subscribe to the dystopian vision of machines replacing the entire human workforce, and however far away you think that might be, employers can befriend artificial intelligence right now to enhance their human workforce.
The traditional CV, showing educational qualifications and work experience, is becoming an anachronism. “The big gap,” says Nick Boothroyd, co-founder of UK-based employability startup Naturally Talented Me, “is the personality, behaviour and attitude behind the written word. And that is precisely what many employers are seeking: that spark of individuality that will light up their brand and deliver amazing results time after time.”
“We can train many of the ‘skills’ that we need in our non-executive roles but we can’t significantly change natural talent and we certainly can’t change personality in any reliable way. So employers need a new way of assessing candidates that identifies those personality, behaviour and attitude skills, such as empathy, attention to detail, teamwork, reliability and independence.”
“These are the talents that will wow customers, engage work colleagues and boost brands through positive interactions.”
Hobbies and interests are often omitted from CVs, or at best represent an afterthought, not considered particularly relevant to employability. But this is the section Boothroyd, who has held senior recruitment roles at Rank Group, Merlin Entertainments, Prezzo and The Body Shop, looks at first. Why? “Because it is, in part, what people choose to do voluntarily that gives an insight into their true motivations and passions, and hence their natural talents.”
Naturally Talented Me uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help job seekers identify their own natural talents from their hobbies and interests, and then helps employers to find people with the talents they need. The AI is learning all the time from the inputs of new candidates and the requests of new employers, and thus the process of matching candidates with job roles is becoming more and more accurate.
Recruitment is a major cost for employers. Paying an agency to pre-screen candidates can cost thousands of dollars per placement, or if you do it in-house, the cost in hours can be even more.
Some jobs attract hundreds of applicants, many of who will be wildly unsuitable. For companies that fill hundreds of roles every year, this can amount to millions being spent with very little to show for it.
AI can save that cost. Recruiters can train the algorithm not only to recognise the required qualifications, but also to check for natural talents and even conduct interviews. Robot Vera is a Russian AI recruitment solution, which can be programmed to call candidates and interview them. She has proven effective at recruiting some highly qualified personnel, including software engineers and even doctors.
Concerns over how job seekers would respond to being interviewed by a robot have proven unfounded. Nobody has put the phone down on Robot Vera; in fact, for many candidates the use of AI gives a positive impression of the employer, as forward-looking and innovative.
By the time you get down to your shortlist of most suitable applicants, you might want to test them with some hypothetical scenarios, to see how they respond. You can do this by talking them through the scenario and asking them to describe what they would do – not very realistic or informative; you can take them on for a trial to see them in action – time consuming and inefficient; or you can create virtual scenarios using virtual reality (VR), instantly placing them in a very realistic predicament where you can observe their reaction there and then.
Lloyds Banking Group was one of the pioneers of VR in its recruitment process back in 2017. VR allows employers to present candidates with computer-generated environments and challenges that could never have been recreated in a traditional interview. The benefit works both ways: the employer gets a clear idea of the talent they’re taking on and the candidate gets a better idea of job their walking into.
Recruitment is an area of business that can benefit enormously from AI. It can take care of the high-volume, low return, mundane processes like pre-screening, operating at many times the speed of a human and working 24/7, 365 days a year at no extra cost. It can also help in the highly specialised processes of talent identification and candidate interviews.
As the world of work adapts to the need for new talents to work alongside AI, AI holds the key to finding the human talent employers need.