Ideal has focused on building an AI-obsessed team. With backgrounds ranging from Industrial Organizational Psychology to Computer Science, the Ideal team has attracted top AI and ML talent from around the world. Follow this blog for the latest in AI for recruiting, recruiting software and recruitment automation.
With recent accusations against Intel and IBM and a new lawsuit alleging companies used Facebook ads to screen out older job seekers, age discrimination in hiring is making headlines.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines age discrimination as “treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of his or her age.” In the U.S., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.
According to Dice’s 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Report, a depressing 76% of respondents believe ageism exists in technology.
Research has shown that age discrimination at the screening phase does exist. One study that tested two job applicants aged 32 and 57 with equal qualifications found the older applicant received less positive responses from employers 41% of the time.
Here are 4 techniques to help avoid age discrimination during recruiting.
1. Use AI to avoid unconscious bias
Biases related to demographic information such as race, gender, and age can be triggered by information on a resume such as the candidate’s name, the schools they’ve attended, and the dates they’ve held previous positions.
AI can be programmed to avoid these types of biases by ignoring this information when screening resumes. The nice thing about AI is that unlike human biases, it’s much easier to audit and remove those biases from algorithms if they’re found.
2. Remove biased language in job descriptions
According to the Dice report, 40% of Gen Xers (aged 39-53) feel discouraged to apply for jobs due to their age.
Research has found that this discouragement might even start from the job description: wording used in job postings may be a barrier for attracting a diversity of candidates.
Phrases such as “new graduates welcome” are clearly age-targeted but less obvious wording such as “looking for a rock star” may also turn off older candidates.
3. Include age-related diversity in your employer branding
A Software Advice survey found that 51% of job applicants are more attracted to job postings that contain images and videos.
Create a media-rich career site with images and videos that demonstrate diversity in the age of your employees and leadership to help avoid age-related bias.
4. Use both older and younger interviewers
A recent study found that age-related cues on a resume (e.g., an “old-sounding” name or an “old-fashioned” hobby such as playing bridge), found that applicants with old-sounding names and old-fashioned hobbies (e.g, playing bridge) were rated as less suitable for the job than applicants with modern-sounding names and modern hobbies (e.g., snowboarding).
Counterintuitively, older managers rated applicants with old-sounding names and old-fashioned hobbies lower than younger managers did. To help prevent age discrimination during resume screening, the researchers suggest companies use a mix of young and old hiring managers to screen resumes.
Get ready to have your mind blown: Of the organizations that captured candidate information for job alerts or a talent network: 48% of them never sent an email to them after confirmation.
This is where we can start. We’ll need communication at these points:
When they first opt-in to career updates
When they first apply
One week after the application
If we want to advance them
When their application is closed
That’s five instances. You could do more, but probably not less.
Leveraging automation tools
All these instances can be automated within an email marketing client or, oftentimes, a recruiting software client. They don’t need to be massively personalized. Set up a system where an email is sent one week after they applied that lets them know “Hey, we’re still evaluating! We’ll get back with you soon!”
The email when they first apply should thank them for applying, tell them updates are coming, and direct them to some resources, a video or a blog, about what it’s like to work at the company. Maybe even a link to Glassdoor reviews (if they’re positive).
The “Your application is closed” email can be short and to the point: “Thank you so much for applying. We had a ton of qualified candidates and unfortunately, it didn’t work out this time. But we will keep your resume on file for future roles!”
Candidates want communication, context, and clarity. “I’m too busy” cannot be your excuse anymore because that harms your candidate experience and employer brand. Instead, leverage technology and automated email workflows – even chatbots – to make sure you’re staying on top of effective candidate communication.
According to LinkedIn’s Recruiting Trends 2018, 67% of recruiters say AI helps them save time, 43% believe it removes human bias, and 31% say it delivers the best candidate matches.
So if you’re in talent acquisition, investing in AI seems like a smart move. But how do you decide which AI tool is right for you?
I break it down in our new 11-point buyer’s checklist on AI for recruiting software.
Section 1: Questions for your team
Your decision making process for buying AI for recruiting software starts with the questions you ask your team (and yourself).
A good starting point is asking yourself: what’s our biggest pain point? And how does that pain point translate to a business problem?
Other items include considering which software tools your cutting-edge peers are using and industry analysts are recommending.
Section 2: Questions for your vendor
When it comes to questions for the vendor, the most important priorities for you are probably ease of use (e.g., easy integration with your current recruiting stack) and whether they have experience with your type of company (e.g., vertical).
This is where evidence of happy customers and successful implementations – case studies – can hold a lot of weight.
That’s when your company buys software but no one inside the company really uses it once it’s bought, so it sits on the shelf. Get it?
Shelf-ware is extremely costly to a company. Basically, buying something for a bunch of money, never adopting it, and likely renewing it at the end of the contract.
No one wants to throw money away. So how do you make sure that the software you invest in actually gets used and doesn’t become shelf-ware?
Here are three important factors to consider when you buy recruitment technology.
#1: Integrations with your current recruiting stack
Make sure whatever you are considering purchasing integrates with your existing workflows.
Unless you are going to completely reinvent your systems, any recruiting software is going to need to integrate with your current ATS.
Researching integrations is crucial because people become comfortable in their workflow and process. You can’t completely upend that so you need to make sure the new tech will be seamless for existing employees.
#2: Evaluation of tech by actual end users
While the decision-maker can ultimately approve the spend, a larger group needs to evaluate the tech. Ideally, this should be comprised of people who will use the recruiting software daily.
As Fast Company advises:
Regardless of their team affiliation or experience, a diverse group of employees from across your organization can often evaluate your current systems and choose new ones more effectively than a room full of IT managers. This way your decisions about technology actually reflect realities of the organization — and the needs of the people who’ll use it.
#3: The user experience with an intuitive interface
The light bulb was introduced in 1879; we didn’t see major productivity gains from it until the 1920s
Computers existed in the 1950s and 1960s; we didn’t see major usage until the 1980s
The Internet theoretically existed in the 1960s; we didn’t see it widespread until the 1990s
People like to think that technology moves fast and disrupts everything, but in reality it’s a pretty slow arc a lot of the time.
The reason is pretty logical: when something new appears, we (a) probably don’t know exactly what to do with it and (b) our friends and like-minded peers probably aren’t using it yet.
This happens at companies too, especially with new tech. The innovation adoption lifecycle theorizes there’s a “chasm” between innovators and early adopters of a new tech. A good user experience with an intuitive interface helps your recruiting team “cross the chasm” and start using the tech in their daily routine.
At its core, hiring is trying to predict the future: how do we predict which candidate will become a good employee? And how can we know who will be retained?
New approaches in talent prediction have emerged with the adoption of AI for recruiting to complement the predictive power of psychometric assessments.
Industry analysts agree that AI technology is a force multiplier for pre-hire assessments.
In our new video, Kathryn Christie, Director of Talent & Strategy at Self Management Group and I explain the intriguing way AI and assessments are being combined to help recruiters find better talent.
Integrating AI and assessments into your recruiting workflow looks like this:
A candidate applies; their resume enters a company’s ATS.
AI analyzes the resumes of existing employees in the role and learns the qualifications of what successful employees look like.
If a chatbot is part of your recruiting workflow, it reaches out to the candidate and asks them pre-screening questions.
If you use an assessment, the candidate receives a link and their data gets collected.
The AI incorporates all this data to grade the candidate an A to D and presents that grade to the recruiter in the ATS.
The recruiter can then make the decision of whether to move the candidate forward to the interview stage.
The data collected by AI and the data collected by the psychometric assessment, combined with employee performance and retention data can all be statistically evaluated to enable recruiters to better predict how well a candidate will perform on the job.
Combining AI and assessments has led to results such as:
20% increase in employee performance
30% increase in retention
100% screen rate
71% reduction in cost per hire
30% fewer in-person interviews for the same number of hires
With the rise of chatbots, conversational recruiting has become the hottest strategy in talent acquisition.
A recent demonstration of Google’s Assistant scheduling a haircut blew people’s minds and hints at the intriguing future of what conversational recruiting could look like.
Conversational recruiting is defined as attracting, qualifying, and engaging candidates with real-time, continuous one-on-one messaging. These conversations are flexible and take place where candidates already are: on mobile, social media, and messaging apps.
Already common in sales and marketing, conversational commerce is the adoption of real-time messaging with people, brands, products, and services.
The technological advancement that enabled conversational commerce to happen was the merging artificial intelligence with everyday consumer interactions. AI allows users to interact with businesses in a cross-channel, personalized, and convenient way.
Similarly, interest in conversational recruiting is being driven by innovations in AI and chatbot technology. Here are three best practices for using conversational recruiting on your team.
Best practice #1: Respond in real time
The major benefit of adopting tech-enabled conversational recruiting is that candidates can get answers about the job and application process in real time.
Using a chatbot, information can be collected in real life and simultaneously from thousands of candidates. This information can be collected in a recruiting software like an ATS or CRM and then relayed to human recruiters to follow up.
Best practice #2: Provide additional information
The #1 request from job seekers is “more communication.”
Today’s candidates understand that the recruiting process can’t be human-to-human at every touchpoint and value the chance to receive information in whatever way they can.
If your conversational recruiting strategy doesn’t provide candidates with more information than your career page or the job posting, then candidates will fail to see its value and it’ll be a waste of your resources.
Best practice #3: Be the right level of “human”
Using a chatbot is the best way to provide conversational recruiting at scale.
But there’s still a lot of debate on how “human” a chatbot should be. Most agree that a chatbot shouldn’t be too robotic and cold because this type of “bot-speak” creates a poor candidate experience.
On the other hand, a chatbot shouldn’t be deceptive either. If a candidate asks if they’re talking to a chatbot, be truthful. An Allegis survey found nearly 2/3rds of candidates are comfortable interacting with a chatbot so using tech for conversational recruiting shouldn’t be a disadvantage.
If you’ve opened a newspaper, scrolled through your newsfeed on social media or turned on the TV lately, you’ve seen stories concerning racism, sexism, ageism and more in the workplace.
Discriminatory behaviors can damage your company’s reputation and possibly land your company in legal trouble. These biased practices are unfortunately found in recruiting.
Here are three rules to remember when recruiting to protect yourself, your company and the candidates you interact with daily.
Rule 1: Ignore candidate demographic data on resumes
Starbucks recently came under examination for a couple different racial incidents. First, a store manager called police over two African American men citing trespassing as the offense. The men, who were peaceably waiting for someone, were arrested and escorted from the premises. After general public outcry regarding the event, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized and announced a closure of all company-owned stores for a seminar on racial bias.
On the heels of this announcement, another incident took place in which a racial slur was used to identify the drink of a Latino customer. Incidents like this take place in stores, offices and public spaces across the world.
While you might not be able to stop racism worldwide, you can stop racism when it comes to your hiring practices. While you may consider yourself unbiased, you might unknowingly make judgements based on various candidate factors.
For example, various studies have shown that names can indicate race and/or socio-economic status. Seeing a particular name might cue you in on the race or economic background of that candidate. To prevent bias based on names, review all the resumes received without personal information attached.
Rule 2: Include more than one qualified minority in your shortlist
The New York Times spotlighted Nike for its dubious HR practices that ignored or slighted reports made by women regarding harassment, gender bias and more. The company recently took some corrective action, but only after a group of women covertly collected information from their fellow women employees and got it in the hands of Nike’s chief executive.
What do these things have to do with your role as a recruiter?
Well, there are several things you can do to help. To address harassment, make all candidates aware of your company’s policy regarding harassment in the workplace and if hired, include this information in the onboarding process and empower employees with knowledge on how to respond when harassment does take place.
Taking it further, implement steps to reduce gender bias in hiring. One effective way to do this based on research is the “two in the pool” effect: having more than one qualified woman (or minority) in the final pool of candidates significantly increased their chances of being hired (whereas having one qualified minority candidate in the final pool made their chances of being hired statistically zero).
Rule 3: Use inclusive language in your hiring
Ageism in the workplace might be subtler and therefore harder to detect, but it’s still illegal. Earlier this year, ProPublica and Mother Jones co-published disturbing findings regarding IBM’s suspected ageism. The findings allege that IBM used multiple strategies to rid its U.S. workforce of older employees, while replacing them with younger counterparts at lower wages or sending the positions overseas.
To avoid age bias in recruiting, use inclusive language in places such as your job posting (e.g., avoid phrases such as “recent graduates”). When working with managers, make them aware of age discrimination laws and train all parties involved in the recruitment process on how to recognize when age bias might come into play and steps to take to stop it from happening.
Rachel Stones writes on HR related topics for BuiltforTeams.com. They offer simple and efficient paid time off tracking: request, approve and report employee leave and vacation days in one easy to use system.
Communication among recruiting teams can be a pretty messy situation. Ask 100 recruiters about their least favourite thing about their job. The answers would probably include:
Poor or a lack of communication in the workplace
Too much task work and top-of-funnel activities
We’ve already talked several times about reducing task work (e.g., automate the top of funnel activities), so let’s discuss communication.
There are two major issues around communication on teams:
The caring aspect: Communication in the workplace drives everything — how can you know what to do if someone isn’t communicating it? — but it’s often viewed as a “soft skill.” As a result, many people ignore communication and focus on tasks or revenue-facing activities.
The strategy aspect: When consultants come in preaching better communication in the workplace, they normally argue for an Intranet or an email blast. You know how many employees check the Intranet aside from viewing their time off? Very few. You have to communicate at the 1-on-1 level, not the “scale” level.
Communication in the workplace: A six-tier approach
There’s a very cool article listing six tools for communicating complex ideas:
I’m a big fan of this six-tier approach, especially stories — storytelling in recruiting is crucial right now — and participation.
The very word “communication” implies a two-way street. You can’t have communication in the workplace if it’s just up-down. So these are the six things you should be focusing on for better communication with your recruiting team.
Communication: The wrong interpretation of the six-tier approach
When a manager is bad, they’re usually bad at communication. Let’s break down the wrong interpretation of the 6 tiers:
Data: We are not at scale with this idea yet.
Logic: Managers often don’t follow logic so much as process.
Equations: This is going to feel to many like a “data person thing.”
Pictures: This will feel to many like “a marketing thing.”
Participation: Participation/feedback are scary. They represent real conversation.
So what we’ve got is six logical ways to have better communication in the workplace — and six ways a typical manager might want to avoid them.
The easiest way would be to promote empathetic, self-aware people. Since many promotions are based on achievement and not empathy per se, we need a new plan. Here are 6 practical tips for improving communication among your recruiting team.
6 tips to improving communication
1. Style: Half of communication in the workplace is about the style in which you deliver it. Former Google and Facebook executive Kim Scott has developed a quadrant system to show managers how best to care. “Radical candor”- where you can care and challenge – is what you’re looking to arrive at.
2. Importance: Poor communication usually leads to bad leadership, and that usually leads to money being left on the table — or money going out the door via turnover. Here’s some stuff on that idea. A traditional manager needs this tie back to personal incentives to see the importance.
3. Consistent and organic: Most major workplace technology — i.e. email, collaboration tools, etc. — really just create a mechanism where managers can hide behind those tools instead of really talking to employees. ]Go talk to people and see where they’re at on projects.
4. Blow up the performance review: If you blow up performance reviews, you’ll develop employees faster. Plus: the standard performance appraisal is barely accurate at predicting employee performance.
5. Let your team solve your problems: Bring your team together, explain what your problem is, and ask for solutions. That’s empowering. It’s also effective communication in the workplace.
6. Effective feedback: Research on feedback had one group get harsh, critical feedback and the second group get comforting, more positive feedback. These groups then performed a second task.
For the second task, there was a 4-to-1 ratio of someone who got harsh feedback requesting a new partner. The underlying idea is that we distance ourselves from people who are consistently critical and harsh on us.
In recruiting, effective feedback is important for improving processes and deepening relationships, and finding the balance between critical and “feel good” feedback is key.
A new narrative rising to the top of everyday conversation includes a very real fear of robots taking over our jobs and maybe even the world. While there’s a lot of speculation going around, we can rest assured that robots taking over all of our jobs isn’t likely to happen.
If anything, robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are more likely to create new jobs while continuing to streamline and find more efficient ways of doing things. Do you remember when HR departments worried that applicant tracking systems (ATS) would eliminate recruiting jobs? That didn’t happen. ATSs only served to make recruiters more productive.
While recruiters may see AI handling more administrative tasks such as screening and qualifying resumes or scraping resume databases on the web for qualified applicants, there’s plenty of recruiting work that can only be done by a human.
Here are five recruiting tasks you shouldn’t leave to the robots.
1. Recruitment marketing
While it’s true that AI can find resumes on databases that match a desired skill set, what they can’t do is market your company to passive candidates. AI-powered marketing automation tools might help you disseminate your company’s recruitment marketing, but a human should be making the decisions about content and personalization.
Furthermore, robots can’t fully interact with people on social media, sell your brand or make real connections. Only a real human recruiter can have the insight to take the step further to research a Twitter profile, find out that their ideal candidate likes craft brewed coffee, and ask them to meet at their favorite cafe for a dark roast and an exploratory career conversation.
2. Creating a talent pipeline
What recruiters have always been known for, they’re still going to be known for; creating a talent pipeline. Yes, recruiting is part of the human resources department, however, the skill set of a recruiter has a lot in common with that of a sales professional.
Salespeople are successful because of the relationships they build, and recruiting is no different. Finding qualified candidates and building relationships with them is what makes recruiting an invaluable function. One that cannot be performed by a robot.
The best recruiters are excellent storytellers. With each candidate, the story begins with your brand. Once a candidate is interested enough to engage in a conversation with your company, the recruiter is the one who will dictate how the story unfolds, creating a unique and positive candidate experience.
From the initial approach and conversation, to the job description, to the final interview, the recruiter tells a story that sells the candidate on all of the reasons they should want to be a part of your organization.
4. Live interviews
There are some layers of the interview process that AI is handling for recruiters. The pre-screen process that asks basic questions to confirm things like availability and minimum requirements has been done within an ATS for years.
Today, that process can be even more streamlined and made even faster by incorporating it with AI technology like chatbots that can ask pre-qualifying questions to high volumes of candidates before a recruiter sees them.
It may seem that doing a pre-screen interview with a chatbot would appear impersonal, but statistics show that people are warming to them because of their speed and efficiency in getting them to a real person more quickly.
Once the initial interview process is completed, the live interview still needs to be conducted by a recruiter who will dig more fully into the candidate’s experience, past success, and fit.
5. Closing the deal
When it comes to “closing the sale” and making an offer, AI cannot replace real, human connection.
People need to feel that they’re making a good decision when they join your company, and that means feeling like your organization will provide them with the support and opportunity they’re looking for as they make a career change. Recruiters are the people who have already identified what those candidates need and can speak to those needs throughout the offer process.
While AI is certainly poised to do some amazing things via innovations in recruiting, it will never replace the personal connections made by recruiters. The candidate experience is what makes or breaks someone’s decision to join your organization and creating that experience should not be left to the robots.
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.