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4 min read

How to Use AI to Hire for Non-Technical Skills

In a great plot twist, instead of robots taking our jobs, they’re actually helping us get hired.

Artificial intelligence is becoming more prevalent in hiring and recruiting. Talent scouts who may have started using AI to test the technical ability of programmers and coders are beginning to expand their use to non-technical roles.

Soft skills are more in-demand than ever, but screening a candidate for things like leadership, communication, and empathy can be time-consuming and difficult. Luckily, using psychometrics and attitude testing, AI is now equipped to assess traits like extroversion, conscientiousness, and teamwork. Likewise, many recruiters are supplementing their traditional interview process with AI tools that can help identify candidates with soft skills quickly and without interviewer bias.

Artificial intelligence is the missing piece recruiters need to efficiently find candidates that are the right fit for any role. Here’s how to use AI to hire for non-technical skills.

Real World Tests Designed for Nontechnical Skills

For too long, recruiters relied on a one-page resume and a two-step interview process to find the best fit for a position. Dynamic skills – those non-technical skills that can be used in a variety of professional settings – have long been left out of the hiring process. Unless a company invests the time or resources to perform a group interview or case study with potential candidates, there’s really no instance where a candidate can demonstrate their ability.

Until now: AI can evaluate personality and cognitive ability using validated psychometric assessments and real-world tests. Many companies have begun to introduce “talent trials” to test every candidate in real-world scenarios. Editing documents, creating presentations, or working in spreadsheets: while these skills might be considered “technical,” they aren’t considered niche. These talent trials use a combination of job simulations, personality quizzes, and skills tests to get a holistic sense of what a candidate can actually do instead of what they look like on paper.

For sales or customer service roles, certain soft skills like extroversion or tough-mindedness can be a great predictor of success. AI can play a role in making sure the candidate’s onboarding process will go smoothly – so there are no surprises after you’ve hired someone.

The Rise of One-way Video Interviewing

One-way video interviews give AI great material for assessing a candidate’s non-technical ability. While the one-way video interview may seem awkward, it can be a good way to evaluate a candidate’s communication skills quickly and effectively.

Clients ask candidates to engage in a mock cold-call, respond to a complaining customer, or pitch a key stakeholder. Through carefully crafted scenarios that replicate what a candidate will face on the job, an algorithm can evaluate a candidate’s response frame by frame. Especially when working in remote teams, the video interview is a good way for AI to assess the candidates non-technical ability efficiently.

Hire Faster, Hire Better

Companies like Deloitte and LinkedIn deploy AI to help them hire more efficiently. By some estimates, recruiters use 80% of their time on administrative tasks. Likewise, companies spend roughly $4,000 per candidate on interviewing, scheduling and assessments. Artificial intelligence can automate some of these tasks to cut down on time and resources spent uncovering the best candidates.

Especially for smaller, agile HR teams, AI can make finding the perfect hire easy – without screening out anyone. Artificial intelligence algorithms are being used to help recruiters forecast their top candidates with each pool, predicting scores that recruiters would have assigned themselves. This allows recruiters to start from the top of the list and focus on the most likely candidates, cutting down on the time it takes to place the right person in the right position.  

Remove Interviewer Bias

AI is still being introduced across the hiring industry, and therefore there’s some debate as to its efficacy in reducing interviewer bias. However, many experts are excited at artificial intelligence’s potential to increase diversity in the workplace.

Some experts see a clear advantage in using AI to reduce an interviewer’s personal bias. AI tools focus on matching, rather than demographics, facial expression, or keywords. Candidates who may be overlooked because of the color of their skin, gender, or educational background are given a fair chance to showcase their talent. Some AI tools have reported their clients see a 20-100% increase in gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of hires.  

Regardless of how you feel about AI, it’s clear this tool is on the rise and has the potential to improve productivity in the hiring sector. It’s time to start thinking about how expanding your team’s use of AI can help you bring on candidates with the right non-technical skills for your company.

Stacie Garland

Stacie Garland

"Stacie is Vervoe's Director of Assessment Solutions. With a passion for the human mind and human behaviour, she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Master’s in Health Psychology. Her professional career started working in a global recruitment agency where she helped people find their next role & worked with businesses to hire the best people, which then evolved to training & developing early-career recruiters in sales and recruitment. Now at Vervoe, she helps customers develop custom assessments and leveraging AI/Machine Learning to rank the best performers for a role, before they get the job. At Vervoe, she built and manages the division of the business responsible for creating assessments working with Enterprise clients from start-ups, international consultancies, Government departments, to one of the largest employers in the world, and many more. Stacie holds a Masters in Psychology from the University of Auckland, and has had a successful career in Recruitment and Training.

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