Finding the perfect hire isn’t easy. Most of the time you have to review a lot of resumes and see many candidates before you make a decision. And after all this effort, it’s time to send your job offer letter – and you realize this is equally important to any other hiring stage since you have to make your job offer stand out to bring the best candidate on board.
What is a Job Offer?
When a hiring team finds the right candidate, it usually contacts them in order to announce its decision and make a job offer. When the job offer is verbal, the hiring manager calls the selected candidate and lets them know they are offering them the position. Depending on the company’s policy and hiring process, the candidate will also receive the offer via email or in writing. A job offer to a candidate, whether it is made via phone or email, must be followed by a formal job offer letter where the details of the offer of employment are confirmed.
What is included in a job offer?
A job offer letter from employer to employee should include:
Salary (Compensation Bonus or Commission)
Paid time off
Depending on each situation, there are different job offer letters a company or a hiring manager can use. To help you send a job offer letter that will suit your needs, we collected eight sample job offer letter templates.
8 job offer letter examples for any case:
1. General job offer template
If you want a simple job offer letter sample, then this template is for you. This is a job offer email template you can use when you have found your perfect candidate and want to officially offer them a position. Feel free to customize it in order to include as many details as you think your candidate will want to know before making up their mind.
This formal job offer letter sample can be used when a company is offering a full-time position to the best candidate. The formal offer of employment includes a sample job offer email along with a formal job offer attachment that covers the most important terms of employment.
This job offer letter example enables your candidate to acknowledge your offer via email, and is just as official, but not as comprehensive as our formal offer letter format.
An email offer letter tends to be less formal and covers the most basic aspects of the job offer before sending a full offer letter. An offer letter email can include salary, an outline of benefits, and immediate next steps. Feel free to use this template when authoring a job offer email for any position.
Have you decided to change a part-time employee to full-time? Use this job offer template and modify it to suit your needs. Before you send a job offer, make sure to ask employees if they’d like to take on a full-time position. Then, send them a job offer email or letter detailing the new position.
Sometimes it is common for companies to offer a new job opening to a current employee. Although this is an existing employee, the company still has to send an internal job offer to them in order to make this internal promotion official. This email should follow a discussion and verbal agreement between the employee and their current manager to ensure the promotion aligns with the employee’s career goals.
Hiring salespeople? What better than sending a sales-customized job offer. This offer letter template for sales candidates contains placeholders where you can fill in your company’s data and you can also tweak the tone and modify employment terms.
If you hiring a developer, use this template that includes tips on how to optimize your developer job offer letters, a sample job offer email and a sample formal job offer letter for developers. You can also customize employment terms or include a personalized message to your potential hire.
Making a job offer to a candidate seems simple at first glance: you create the offer letter, ask management to approve and send it to candidates. However, each of these steps requires time, effort and a good deal of coordination and care.
A few tips that will help you optimize your job offer process are:
Cover important job details before you start hiring
How you can measure and improve your job offer acceptance rate
What is offer acceptance rate?
Definition: An offer acceptance rate shows the percentage of candidates who accepted a formal job offer.
The job offer acceptance is a useful recruitment metric. A low rate (i.e. <40%) shows that something might be wrong with your talent acquisition strategies. On the other hand, a high acceptance rate (i.e. >90%) can indicate that there’s a good match between your company’s requirements and selected candidates’ expectations. Generally, a high offer to acceptance ratio is a combined result of good communication, reasonable and competitive offers, and good candidate experience.
So, it is important to send a very good job offer, but also receive an acceptance letter. Learn more about the acceptance rate and how to improve it in our comprehensive article.
Feel free to use a free job offer letter template from our list above, modifying it as you want to make it fit your needs and requirements.
Your new hire is starting soon — that’s exciting! Your team put a lot of effort into hiring the best candidate, so you need to ensure they’ll stay in your company and thrive for a long time. The first step to achieve this is an effective onboarding process to help them feel comfortable in their new workplace and get productive fast.
What is employee onboarding?
Onboarding new hires is the process companies go through to welcome and integrate them into the workplace. This very definition suggests that the employee onboarding process extends far beyond the first day of a new hire – it continues until they’ve fully adjusted to their role and team.
And this is the main difference between onboarding and orientation. The employee onboarding definition refers to any action that helps new hires understand how things work in their new work environment, get acquainted with the company culture, and feel welcomed and valued in their team.
Orientation, on the other hand, is the first step of onboarding. It’s when new hires learn the basics of their environment: for example, they might familiarize themselves with the office building and company policies, understand their new job duties and get introduced to their colleagues.
Why is onboarding important?
Think back to your first day in any job – chances are you were excited but nervous. If you don’t receive enough attention and instruction, that may not bode well for your mood or your motivation to get up to speed in your new capacity.
This may be one of the reasons that more than 25% of new hires quit their jobs after their first three months. And this is a huge loss for a company that must repeat a costly hiring process to find a replacement so soon – not counting the resources spent to train or compensate that new employee during their time with your company.
So onboarding new employees effectively can improve your company’s employee retention.
Another benefit of a good onboarding policy is that new hires reach full productivity faster. If they don’t receive adequate help from HR or their manager, and they’re just trying to make sense of everything on their own, your company loses potential revenue this employee would otherwise bring. If new hires go through a well-developed onboarding process, they’ll be quicker to settle in their role and start producing value for their team.
And an effective process is even more imperative when you’re onboarding remote employees (who have extra difficulties in connecting with their colleagues due to distance) or interns and graduates (who are new to your company and also to the world of employment).
Onboarding process steps
When designing the onboarding process, there are many things you can do to help new hires, like sending them a welcome package with company swag, arranging a team lunch or dinner with colleagues, or preparing a presentation. Whatever you include in your own process, there are several onboarding best practices that you could follow:
1. Communicate with new hires regularly
If your new hire’s start date is more than two weeks away, make sure to keep communicating with them and show that you’re looking forward to have them on board. You can prepare a welcome package with company swag or send them your employee handbook in advance. You could also ask the new hire’s prospective manager to send an email welcoming their new team member.
2. Plan the new hire’s first week
When the new employee first arrives for work, they will be uncertain about what their day will be like. It’s up to you to show them that you’re fully prepared to welcome them properly. So, prepare a plan for their first few days on the job and check all the important boxes (like setting up their workstation or informing the front desk employees about the new hire’s arrival).
3. Welcome them with open arms
Be enthusiastic, friendly, and positive. Give the new hire a company walkthrough and introduce them to their colleagues at nearby desks first. Schedule a team lunch for them to get acquainted with others in their team and make sure their manager meets with them regularly throughout this crucial first week. It’d be useful to provide the new employee with a checklist or schedule with all the onboarding activities you have planned.
4. Keep it up
The onboarding process doesn’t end after the first week is over. You need to ensure your new hire has enough basic yet meaningful work to do almost from the beginning. Their manager should have a plan to assign that work and also support their smooth integration into the team. Check in with both the new hire and their manager after two weeks and at the end of the new hire’s first month and give them any support they might need.
A well-thought-out onboarding program – taking into account these four steps – could make all the difference in successful employee retention and engagement. It’s imperative both to employee retention and engagement that new hires know your company values them right from the start.
Use this sample Veterinarian job description template to attract qualified candidates for your veterinary office, private clinic or animal shelter. Feel free to modify veterinarian job duties and include any additional veterinarian education requirements based on your needs.
Veterinarian responsibilities include:
Examining animals and checking their health status
Diagnosing illnesses and determining the best treatment
Use this Camp Counselor job description template to find reliable employees who ensure campers are safe and happy. Feel free to modify this sample as needed. Similar job titles include Junior Camp Counselor, Day Camp Counselor, Summer Day Camp Counselor and Summer Camp Counselor.
Camp Counselor responsibilities include:
Supervising young campers at all times
Leading recreational and educational activities (such as swimming, caving or crafting)
“Look around you where you work, and pick out the people who have reached their level of incompetence. You will see that in every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours.”
That’s the basic tenet of The Peter Principle, a mostly satirical discussion on the inevitable failings of management.
Who better than Workable’s top manager, CEO Nikos Moraitakis, to offer commentary? Some backstory first: Nikos and CTO Spyros Magiatis launched Workable in 2012 to meet the growing need for more streamlined recruitment software – the software has now helped more than 20,000 customers hire 50 million candidates and continues to grow to this very day with existing users in more than 100 countries.
It’s safe to say that this kind of multilateral success required substantially smart management principles. Being an expert in such, Nikos is now certain; the Peter Principle is more a failure of execution than anything else.
In short: the cream doesn’t sour. It needs time to germinate, so that it tastes better than it ever did before. If you rush the process, that’s when it sours.
The tendency for employees to rise like said cream in their organizations is so entrenched in Western culture that it’s practically instinctual. We’re inclined – encouraged, even – to grow, explore, rise as people, so this drive to improve naturally carries over to the workplace. In fact, Nikos suggests that we’re so driven to move people to the next level that this is where we trip up when it comes to employee development.
Nikos picks no bones about how that happens. “If somebody’s good at something, we say, ‘OK. Let’s give them more to do. Let’s make them in charge of this.’ Because usually, management finds people they trust and can get results from, and wants to give them more of the responsibility. It’s the curse of being good.”
Rising too fast in the ranks
Why is it a curse, though? Consider a sports analogy where a good player doesn’t necessarily mean a good manager. Wayne Gretzky – touted by many to be the greatest hockey player in history – racked up seemingly insurmountable statistics in his 20-year professional career. His “management” record is lacklustre, though: a 143-161-24 career record as head coach of the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes over a four-year span in 2005-2008, without making the playoffs even once. For the non-sporting folks, that means the team won just 43.5% of their games under Gretzky’s guidance – not very good at all.
And baseball’s Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer regularly cited as one of the greatest players to swing a bat and snag a ball, infamously managed teams to a dismal 273-364 career win-loss record over four seasons in the late 1960s-early 1970s. That’s a 42.9% win record – even worse than Gretzky.
There you have it: two great examples of how employee promotion and employee development have gone wrong. Actually, great players-turned-bad coaches is a common trope in sports. What’s going on here? They, after all, know the game well. The defining difference is that playing and coaching (ergo, managing) are two very, very different things.
So, were these players struck by the ‘curse of being good’, as Nikos suggests? You could say that. In all the years of playing the game, being so focused on the immediate tasks at hand – and carrying those out exemplarily well – Gretzky and Williams weren’t adequately prepared during their playing careers to tackle the finer points of coaching and managing. They, perhaps, didn’t have an opportunity to step back and see the bigger picture of running an actual team. In fact, one player said about the Splendid Splinter as a manager: “He was so hard on the guys … He’d say, ‘Why couldn’t they hit the way I hit?'”
You can’t expect someone who’s good at a job to know how to teach others to do that job well, too, as exemplified in Williams. “[Their success] creates the temptation to give them too much too quickly, and essentially incapacitate them,” Nikos says. “They might not be ready for that.”
But that kind of employee promotion is an invitation to failure, in the same way that Williams simply expected his players to perform under his management rather than actually manage them.
You get someone and you push them up the ranks in the place where really the job has changed substantially, and they’re not ready for it. And then you see them fail.
Execution, not principle
Companies see a need for leadership, and a need to promote. Moving people up isn’t a bad thing, Nikos says, adding; “it’s just bad execution and bad promotions.”
So why are companies failing in this? As Nikos explains, the problem is that employee promotion to management is considered as a “reward” for hard work and exemplary performance, as opposed to it being the next natural incarnation in one’s career evolution.
“There is more of a desire to get someone to get more responsibility than their natural ability to go up,” Nikos explains. “Often, you have good performers and the natural tendency is, ‘OK. Get the best person we have here to fill that new role that we have, or that bigger role that we have.’ And it’s well-intentioned. You say, ‘I’m going to get the best person and give them more responsibility. Let’s give them more, and more, and more.’“
He continues: “But if you do it too much, maybe at some point you’re going to burn them out. You’ve got to do it progressively.”
It’s not just a trip-up at the decision-making side, Nikos says. The employee may also be pushing too hard to move up the proverbial ladder before being ready to do so.
“Most people have learned to say, ‘Give me more responsibility.’” Nikos chuckles. “Would you really? Couldn’t you just have this existing responsibility and do it better, or could we do it progressively? Why should I just give you another three things to do?”
He summarizes that it’s “the eagerness of people to get to that status quicker, and the need of companies to give more to the people who seem to be doing well. If you’re a manager, you have so many problems to solve. If you have someone who’s a really good guy [to promote], then fantastic.”
“But you have to make sure that [employee development] is going to get done in the best possible way.”
Management isn’t a different skill, Nikos clarifies. “It’s an evolution of the same skill.”
The answer is not to say good individual contributors should not become managers. No, they should. It’s definitely part of becoming better at your job to be able to do it better with others.
It’s part of the natural progress of one’s career arc, he adds.
He gestures to the skyscrapers outside his office at the Workable headquarters in downtown Boston, and notes that they are technical and architectural marvels, and it would be impossible for one single person to build that whole skyscraper by themselves.
Instead, if that one single person was an artisan, a master of architecture and design, you’d want them to oversee the process of the skyscraper being built because who better than them to identify and implement crucial steps at every stage of the project? Such a collaborative effort requires teamwork, and for teamwork to happen, there needs to be a manager – ideally, that artisan – to pull all that together. And so, it makes sense that that manager should be ready when you put them there.
Since preparing them for that transition is your job as an employer, what can you do to avoid the managerial pitfalls commonly associated with the Peter Principle? How can you avoid having the Gretzkys and Williamses in your organization fall flat on their face when you assign them to teams?
Know that when an employee becomes a manager, they don’t simply add that management skill to their existing toolbox. Rather, the employee evolves to management. It’s a maturation – or a fermentation, in terms of the cream analogy – of that employee’s skill set. It’s an advancement in that employee’s career.
Consider your reasons to promote an employee. Are you doing it because you want to reward that employee’s incredible performance year over year, or because that employee’s been hounding you for greater responsibility? If yes, take a step back and keep the business front of mind when you make your decisions in employee promotion. You may also consider refining your employee promotion policy and procedure to reflect this.
When you promote an employee to a managerial position, make sure they’re actually ready. Are they working well with others? Are they able to delegate responsibility? Most importantly, are they able to see the bigger picture and vision and implement sound processes to make that vision a reality? If your answer to all three is yes, then that employee is ready to move up. If the answer to any of these is no, then you need to prepare them for promotion via training and coaching.
Just because an employee is now a manager does not mean they are no longer in the trenches with the others. Make sure they have an opportunity to be a player-coach, rather than just one or the other. This helps hugely in employee morale, both for the newly promoted employee and for colleagues in the same department.
Your star employees, after all, are the cream of the organization’s crust. Treat them and develop them as such, and they will rise accordingly. It’s not every day you get to say your employees can be better than Gretzky and Williams, but now, here’s your chance.
Let’s say you’re an HR professional and your company doesn’t have a strategic hiring plan in place – you just work with emails. When a hiring manager wants to recruit a new team member, they’ll send you via email the details of the new role: the profile of their ideal candidate, the salary (or salary range) and their desired start date. You’ll forward this email to the CEO or the finance team, get their approval, and you’re ready to publish the job ad.
This process works just fine if you’re not scaling fast. Now imagine doing the same thing for five or 10 requisitions per week. It’s not that easy, is it?
OK, so you realized that sharing this information only through email doesn’t work and you decide to create a spreadsheet. You tried to avoid it for some time now, but, on second thought, how hard could it be to keep a spreadsheet of new requisitions? You’ll create a hiring plan template, add a row for every new role and fill out the following data:
Date of a new job requisition
Date you officially opened that new role
Date you closed the hire
Salary of the new employee
Sounds simple, right? And it is, until a hiring manager wants to hire five people for the same role, or until you have to re-open a job because the candidate who had accepted the offer changes their mind at the last minute, or until you mistype a number and that messes up your entire spreadsheet. Or, worse, until your boss requests a report to see how much you actually spent on hiring at X department during a specific time period compared to your forecasts.
Getting this information from your spreadsheet is far from simple. It might not even be feasible as it depends heavily on what kind of data you decided to keep in the first place. For example, perhaps you maintain a list of all jobs, but have you categorized them by department? Or, what happens with jobs you filled internally? Do you keep a separate spreadsheet for those?
Why you should organize your hiring plan in one system
In high-volume hiring, you need a more organized approach so that you prioritize requisitions properly, budget them accurately and forecast future hiring needs. More specifically, when you build a strategic hiring plan in one centralized system, you can:
Track your hiring budget. This is probably the number-one benefit of having a strategic hiring plan. The finance team cares about how much the company is spending on recruiting over time. So, when you have all the necessary information in one place where you can give access to your colleagues from finance and your CEO, you will all make sure you’re on the same page and in real time, as opposed to trying to coordinate through back-and-forth emails or to extract data from complicated spreadsheets.
Compare forecasts with actual results. You can’t really tell how effective your hiring process is unless you’ve set goals. These goals are usually around money and time spent in different hiring stages. But you can’t see numbers in isolation – you need to know, for example, if you over-budgeted your hiring costs for a specific department and which roles created this discrepancy.
Identify and fix bottlenecks. While you probably track the steps once you’ve started interviewing candidates (e.g. how long it takes to move candidates from first to second interview), you may be neglecting other bottlenecks. For example, when measuring your time to fill, do you take into account the time between the moment a hiring manager requests to open a new role and the moment the job ad for that role is published?
Keep your hiring process consistent. Any inconsistency at the beginning of the hiring process translates into an overall inconsistent recruitment strategy. For example, if you don’t have a specific process in place for req approvals, you might end up offering different salaries to people who are doing the same job at your company.
Automate parts of the process. And focus on what’s most important: finding that great talent that will help your company grow. When you waste time filling out spreadsheets and extracting data manually, you take precious time off of other more important (and more interesting) tasks, such as actively sourcing candidates, writing new, creative job ads and researching new assessment methods.
Plan for the future. Organizing your hiring is not only about what you’re doing now; it’s also – and perhaps more importantly – about planning for your company’s future. Being able to accurately forecast how much you’ll be spending on hiring in the next year is a huge game-changer as you schedule your overall business budget and growth.
Coordinate all stakeholders. Hiring is not a one-player game. You need at least a recruiter and/or an HR person, a decision maker and a senior manager to oversee the process. And you need to ensure that all of them are on the same page and that information isn’t isolated in personal computers, private files or clogged inboxes. A centralized system will help you give the right people access to right information at the right time.
How does Workable’s Hiring Plan tick those boxes?
Hiring Plan is an add-on to your Workable account that helps you manage your job requisitions and approvals. Every time a colleague needs to hire an employee, they can open a new requisition, fill out details about the role (such as salary and reason for hiring) and submit for approval. Then, all actions associated with this requisition will be tracked and all relevant information will be updated automatically. Let’s see how the Workable Hiring Plan works in more detail:
Open a new requisition fast and hassle-free
For every new requisition, you’ll need to fill some basic information, such as job title, location and department, that will help track, report on and manage your hiring plan accurately. If it makes sense for your company to track more details (for example, reason for hiring a new employee), you can include any extra fields you want in your requisition form.
The most important part of a requisition is probably the approval and Workable’s Hiring Plan is built in a way that automates this process. You can create one default workflow for approvals – or customize workflows for different locations and departments – that includes which team members need to approve a new role before it gets published. Then, every time you want to create a new requisition, the appropriate workflow will be automatically picked (e.g. the workflow that’s associated with the department or location of the job) and the right people will get notified.
Here’s what a custom approval workflow looks like:
Find all you need in one page: the Hiring plan dashboard
Instead of having to search in different spreadsheets or read through your emails to find previous and current job requisitions, the Hiring Plan dashboard will give you a quick snapshot:
You can group requisitions by department, location or status and click on each one to act upon it. For example, you can see more details about the requisition and the job, make changes (e.g. adjust the salary in case the req was rejected) or clone it to open a requisition for the same role.
This view gives necessary information to all stakeholders:
Hiring managers can see whether their job requisitions have been approved or rejected, edit to reflect any changes for example in the salary, working hours, etc. and instantly clone a requisition when they want to hire multiple candidates for the same role.
Recruiters can see which roles have been approved so that they can start looking for candidates.
Finance team members or Department Heads can see budgeted requisitions, compare them with final offers and forecast hiring costs.
Send automate notifications to the right people
Miscommunication often delays the hiring process and the final decision – think of a hiring manager who forgets to update the rest of the team that the candidate has accepted the job offer but will start a week later than what was originally agreed, or a senior manager who rejects a job requisition because the salary is too high but doesn’t inform the HR to make adjustments.
Automation can solve many of these problems and speed up the hiring process. In Workable’s Hiring Plan, team members will be automatically notified when they need to act upon a requisition. For example, they’ll get a notification when it’s their turn to review a requisition. Likewise, automate updates of real-time changes will make sure that everyone is in the loop – without you having to send additional emails or reminders.
Note that notifications can be sent through desktop and mobile, too.
Use data and reports to make strategic decisions
Looking at recruiting data and KPIs, you can draw useful results about your hiring process and your future hiring plans. But numbers alone won’t help, particularly when your teams scale fast. To understand what’s working and what could be improved, to compare results to forecasts and to plan your strategic hiring plan for the future, you need data organized in detailed and clear reports.
Here are some examples of information you’ll get through Workable’s Hiring Plan reports:
Budget forecasts for specific periods/departments, e.g. the sum of planned salaries for a department’s requisitions
Planned budget (salaries) compared with actual spent (offered salaries)
Average time to fill a requisition – time between the day you open a requisition and the day the job is filled
Average start time – time between the day you open a requisition and the hired candidate’s first day at work
Difference between planned start date and actual start date – how early or late candidates at a specific department start work compared to what you had originally planned
Using this kind of information, you’ll better understand the flow and identify the bottlenecks of your hiring process, you’ll spot discrepancies in your hiring budget, and optimize your future requisitions. To dive into more details, you can filter reports to view results by location and/or department.
For more information on the Workable Hiring Plan, browse our support section here. You can also contact our team or book a demo to get a first-hand view of how our Hiring Plan add-on works.
Excited about a world where AI in recruiting will immensely improve your hiring process? We live in a fascinating time because this scenario is right around the corner – and you, the HR professional, may be able to bring it even closer.
Engineers who build AIs need data to train the machines, and they also need more information to determine what works or not. And this is where organizations can contribute because they have access to data and they’re in a position to actually test technology in the field.
This topic was part of my conversation with Matt Alder, the reputable British HR thought leader and host of the Recruiting Future podcast. During an hour-long phone conversation, we discussed possible actions on how businesses can play their part in shaping a world using powerful recruiting AI tools.
The data we use to train our machines is essential to a successful AI-driven recruitment strategy. If the data is inaccurate, incomplete, skewed or one-dimensional, the machine’s “intelligence” will suffer.
So, we need to choose our data carefully. This is tougher than it sounds because sometimes we don’t even realize we’re looking at biased or incomplete data samples. Because we’re only human, we have inherent difficulties to identify our own shortcomings and the wrong data causes machines to replicate our biases, opinions or behaviors. The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” applies readily here.
One example is the apparent apathy, evasion, or occasional positive response of virtual assistants Siri and Alexa when faced with verbal sexual abuse from users. They were programmed to respond in certain ways to various forms of harassment that human creators might have thought were “OK” (they’re not). This is something companies that make these AIs are trying to tackle, as Quartz reported.
In the recruiting world, automated tools don’t make final hiring decisions, so how much does bias matter? There’s an interesting caveat here. Matt discussed this in a recent Recruiting Future podcast when he interviewed Miranda Bogen from Upturn, a non-profit think tank promoting equity and justice in the design and use of digital technology.
Upturn recently published a report on the bias of hiring algorithms. Based on that report, Miranda explained that, while AI in recruiting doesn’t decide who gets hired, it can decide who won’t get hired – and that may often be people with certain characteristics. An example of this is Google’s algorithm which showed ads for higher-paying jobs to men only because it thought men were the most likely to click on these jobs. This way, it effectively precluded women from learning about these job opportunities. Upturn’s report also mentions that this bias persists even if you obscure attributes like gender and race when training machines. That’s partly because the datasets we have available are inherently correlated with systemic biases.
So there’s a legitimate philosophical question: could we really create technology that doesn’t replicate our limitations and biases? Well, we have done so in other branches of tech: for example, our naked eye can’t see details far away in space, but our telescopes can. Intelligent machines could work the same way – complementing and enhancing our abilities.
How we can do that is less clear. Matt reflects on this:
“I think this is perhaps the biggest dilemma over the next few years; how do we actually make technology be better than humans?”
When humans are the designers, therein lies the challenge.
We need to go smarter
As Matt emphasizes, the first step in building machines for purely objective rather than subjective recruiting processes is to consciously understand our own biases. That not only involves the ‘what’, but also the ‘how.’ “If we’re going to make HR technology that doesn’t share human bias,” says Matt, “then we need to understand more about where that kind of bias comes in.”
Recruiting professionals are probably in the best position to identify these issues in the hiring process. Monitor your hiring metrics for patterns. Gender and race bias, for example, can be identified by measuring the percentages of female or non-white applicants who apply and are moved through the hiring process. Also, regularly communicate with your hiring teams about what criteria they use to make decisions, and be on the lookout for criteria that aren’t strictly job-related.
Once you have started collecting this type of data and insights, make a systematic effort to mitigate biases wherever they appear. For example, you could try out more objective hiring tools, like structured interviews, and train your interviewers to overcome their unconscious (and occasionally conscious) prejudices.
Also, it’d be useful to participate in the discussion with fellow recruiters in forums or in person to exchange information about existing biases and possible strategies to deal with them. Our collective knowledge and awareness of biases can help companies that make AI in recruiting tools design their products more effectively.
We also need variety
When it comes to AI in recruiting, one of the problems is that the data we’ve used hasn’t been very creative, as Matt points out:
“I think the problem is we still work off CVs which are hopeless in actually telling you what someone’s performance is going to be,” Matt says, “which is why we’re seeing more of other data points coming in, whether it’s facial recognition or tone of voice or various assessments. A CV isn’t going to give even the cleverest form of artificial intelligence enough information to make proper decisions.”
This relates to cases like the Amazon AI recruiting tool which reportedly rejected female candidates because it was mainly trained with resumes of men – in other words, Amazon’s attempt at AI-driven recruitment failed because of an overreliance on past datasets. If we train models using multiple data points, we might avoid those biases and inconsistencies that come with a single dataset.
So if your company makes AI in HR or you’re in close collaboration with an AI vendor, consider using various hiring methods (including assessments, video interviews, etc.) that can help you enrich the types of data used for training AI tools.
Also, you can contribute in making sure we model what’s meaningful for our purpose. “It’s modeling around what high performers look like,” says Matt. “If we’re modeling their facial expressions, is that going to give us the right match? So we’re modeling their behaviors, their attitudes, their values, but what aspect are we looking for? What aspects are actually repeatable in terms of finding someone who matches what we want?”
Trial and Error
Experimenting is how we learn. And that’s perhaps the most important aspect in which a company can contribute to the overall methods of training machines: with real-life data. Try out AI tools and measure results systematically. That way, we’ll soon have more evidence on whether something works or not.
To start experimenting with AI in recruiting, consider these four steps:
1. Understand your current process
In addition to identifying biases in your hiring process, dissect your existing hiring strategies. “I think a lot of it is about understanding current process,” Matt says. “How does it work? Where are the problems with it? What’s the experience like? In a large business, it could be really complicated. There could be [many] stakeholders and moving parts and people might not fully understand exactly what’s going on.”
Audit your recruiting process, and find the stakeholders and their roles. Use recruiting metrics to identify issues and bottlenecks. Then you might have an indication as to which aspects might benefit from a level of automation or AI tools.
“Gaining that understanding and that self-awareness of what’s going on within the organization is a good place to start,” says Matt.
2. Feel the pulse
Another aspect is to understand the environment. Matt clarifies: “Understanding what the technology can or can’t do, looking at companies that are trying [AI in recruiting] and looking at their results is equally important.
“And then it’s about matching the two together. How can this technology realistically solve our niche problems? And if it can, how do we implement it in a way that actually works?”
3. See what AI in recruiting is available
Since you’ve delved into your hiring process and follow what other companies are doing, look for available tools. “Understanding what’s available and what’s out there is important,” says Matt.
“Look into the market and see what can now be done. Someone could have created something that’s the answer to all your problems and you just don’t know it exists,” he says. “And that’s […] confusing and difficult because there’s so much noise out there. But actually having a good view of what’s available is critical.”
Of course, when vendors mention that their AI tools are completely unbiased, be sure to take their claims with a grain of salt. As Miranda Bogen said in the Recruiting Future podcast: “As predictive tools have access to more and more data, there’s more risk this data is closely associated or even a proxy for protected categories [which tools shouldn’t take into account in order to be bias-free].”
If you’re already using automated tools, work with vendors to test and validate them regularly.
4. Remember the candidate
Candidates’ reactions to AI in recruiting are just as important as the effectiveness of tools themselves. “Do the people I’m trying to hire actually like being interfaced with automatically in this way?” asks Matt. “Because if they don’t, and my competitor is taking a more human approach, then I might miss out on some great talent.”
As Matt mentions, there may be cases where implementing automation will be welcomed by candidates; for example, communication about the status of their application will improve. “The biggest complaint candidates have is the black hole that comes through recruitment, where they just don’t know what’s going on, what stage they’re in the process, what the next steps are, what people think of them. And I think technology can fill that gap.”
Sometimes though, candidates may be confused as to the role of technology in the hiring process.
“There’s maybe some fear and misunderstanding about how technology is used to screen out and select people,” says Matt. “And certainly some of the publicity that has come out recently around bias isn’t good. I tend to find that people overestimate how much AI in recruiting is actually responsible for whether they are chosen or not.”
People are wary that they’re being screened out for a job by a faceless machine, and a human isn’t having the chance to consider them.
And that can be especially true with tools like face-recognition software. “It’s very easy to get carried away and think ‘the expressions on my face is how people are going to decide whether I’m going to be a high performer in this job or not.’”
This brings us back to the importance of multiple touchpoints of data in AI in recruiting to lessen dependence on one single area, Matt reminds us. “[Face-recognition software] is just one data point amongst many other things.” Hiring can rarely be reduced to a single decision anyway, as Upturn’s report stresses.
Things are already happening
“There are some businesses where people are effectively being hired with an automated process,” says Matt, “and they might not go actually talk to someone until their first day. It’s a really interesting time. I think that we don’t really know what the answers are going to be in all of this, and a lot of it is experimentation and feedback.”
Matt mentions some companies are trying out automation for volume hiring and graduate hiring. For example, replacing multiple interviews with one video interview at the start reduces the number of candidates you’ll have to meet in person, and candidates wouldn’t have to go through as many hiring stages as before. It’s an effort to improve the efficiency and overall candidate experience.
“Now again, it’s still early days,” Matt reminds us. “Will they revisit that in three or four years time and say ‘the people we hired weren’t as good as the people we used to hire when humans did it’? But still, it certainly makes sense in terms of recruitment and selection process improvement.”
And actually having some real-life examples and data will bring a revolution in how AI in recruiting is made and applied, and this benefits organizations in many ways. Matt reminisces on another time when new technology was tested:
“I remember back in the late ’90s, early 2000s, when recruiting on the internet became a thing. There was a huge amount of mistakes, and horrible things happened, but that didn’t mean that online recruitment wasn’t going to be big. It just wasn’t perfect straight away.”
Matt adds, “Several companies experimented and stuck with it, and contributed to the debate, and gave feedback, and helped shape what the vendors were offering. They’re the companies that benefited the most in the long term.”
So, don’t be afraid to open up to new technology. If you’re an early adopter, you’ll also be the first to benefit when AI technology becomes a smoothly operating aspect of the mainstream recruitment process. Matt reminds us that automation is already widely used and you can find many tools to apply to your recruitment efforts. Experiment with them.
“Be very critical, very analytical about what the results actually are and whether they’re what you want or not.”
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