For too many years, recruiting and hiring have followed the same tedious process: source candidates, review resumes, screen candidates on the phone, conduct in-person interviews, and then — hopefully — hire the best person.
Hiring hasn’t seen huge shifts in the process as with other industries. Hiring today remains awfully similar to how things have been done for years with paper resumes and written applications – and that’s despite an overwhelming number of new technologies becoming available.
But change is here…
More people are working remotely, collaborating with multiple companies simultaneously in the gig economy, and starting companies themselves. Fewer people work for one company, under one roof, for decades as they used to.
Expectations for hiring have also changed. Candidates don’t want to submit résumés and cover letters, wait for weeks to hear back, and then go through a series of face-to-face interviews. In the race for talent, hiring teams must be nimble, responsive, and put the candidate experience front and center.
Automated recruiting tools now make it possible for employers and candidates to interact in a way that is much smoother and faster, while still maintaining a human touch.
What is recruiting automation?
Recruiting automation refers to a category of technology, tools, and platforms that allow companies to automate recruiting tasks and workflows. Recruiting automation increases recruiter productivity, improves KPIs such as time-to-fill and cost-per-hire, and leads to better hires.
Recruiting automation is sometimes called automated hiring. This approach to recruiting and hiring candidates saves massive amounts of time for recruiters, cutting out the error-prone process of screening candidates and more effectively assessing on-the-job skills. In some cases, you don’t even need to meet applicants in person to interview and hire them.
Recruiting automation uses the same recruiting process: a hiring team posts an opening, looks for referrals, and attracts a pool of top candidates. Different automated recruiting tools can be used in different stages of the process to:
- Source and engage with candidates
- Screen candidates
- Host skill assessments
- Schedule interviews and record one-way video interviews
- Perform background checks
- Continuously communicate with each candidate throughout the process
Instead of going through the painstaking process of screening individual resumes, emailing a pool of candidates, and manually processing each individual through the hiring process, automated tools offer a faster way to provide a great candidate experience.
How can AI be used in recruiting automation?
“Recruiting is now the biggest AI market in HR, with AI-based sourcing, assessment, screening, interviewing, and candidate experience management now available,” said Josh Bersin in HR Technology 2020: Disruption Ahead.
There’s a common misconception that AI and recruiting automation are the same things. In fact, there are some key differences with implications for how recruiters use and understand each of these tools.
“Automation is basically making a hardware or software that is capable of doing things automatically — without human intervention. Artificial Intelligence, however, is a science and engineering of making intelligent machines,” writes one expert. “AI is all about trying to make machines or software mimic, and eventually supersede human behavior and intelligence.”
When a recruiter uses an automated tool, they set up the platform to follow certain “rules”. For instance, an ATS may send a candidate a reminder 24 hours in advance of their video interview. A job posting automation may take down the listing after a certain number of days or a certain number of applications have been received. These automated tools decrease the amount of manual labor involved with hiring the best candidates.
AI technology, on the other hand, can overcome intrinsic bias found in human behavior. For instance, when recruiters use AI to screen candidates in, rather than out, hiring becomes more democratic and merit-based, rather than about who an applicant knows. Companies who switched to one AI tool saw a 62% increase in female candidates. Nepotism and selective hiring practices get eliminated when an AI tool is correctly utilized.
Why should you automate recruiting?
If used correctly, technology can make the recruitment experience more personal. First, recruiting automation can help both employers and candidates get more insights on each other quicker and understand each other better. Second, technology eliminates time-wasting, making everyone happier. And, automated recruiting tools ultimately lead to better hires.
1. Save time
By using automation to expedite the hiring process, you can remove the grueling process of reviewing resumes, screening candidates by phone, and doing in-person interviews. It will speed up your hiring process the day you implement it.
Rather than the weeks or months that it would normally take to assess and select new employees, recruiting automation trims the hiring process down to just a few days. It’s estimated that companies that deploy recruiting automation reduce time-to-hire by between 7 – 15%. The savings in vacancy costs alone achieved by using recruiting automation is estimated to reach $90,000 per recruiter per year.
Automated hiring makes it easy for businesses to bolster their own growth and build a high-quality team. Recruitment tools automatically assess each candidate, presenting skills-based tasks that gauge each applicant’s ability to truly handle the requirements of the position for which they’re interviewing.
It’s not a massive shift, but it makes sense when you consider the massive pools of applicants many companies are forced to sort through.
2. Reduce unconscious bias
Many industries struggle to attract diverse and talented teams, and automated hiring makes it easier to fill the pipeline with talent. Because of time constraints, so many resumes are automatically discarded and never make it to an interview at all.
Instead of eliminating candidates because they didn’t go to the right college or work at a prestigious company, automated hiring evaluates candidates on the attributes that really matter: their skills.
Research shows that most interviewers allow biases, not facts, to lead their decision around who to process through the hiring funnel. You’re probably unconsciously making one or more of these common errors:
- Similarity or affinity bias
- Overconfidence bias
- Confirmation bias
- Bandwagon effect
- Halo/horns effect
Automating stages of your hiring process forces your organization to consider evaluation criteria that’s truly relevant for success. It makes it possible to ask each interviewee the exact same questions in the exact same way. And it ensures you have the exact same data on each applicant. That makes it easy to see the person who’s truly the most qualified — not just the one with the strongest handshake or who made the best first impression.
3. Improve remote hiring
Increasingly, we’re collaborating with people who don’t live in the same place as we do. Or, perhaps they live in the same location but intend to work remotely. Either way, less time is being spent in the office, and smart companies are taking advantage of an increasingly global, mobile, and on-demand workforce.
If you limit yourself to meeting people in-person, you’ll limit your candidate pool. Remote recruiting is on the rise, and recruitment automation enables companies to find, attract, and hire candidates from all over the world.
Automated job posting gives recruiters a way to quickly reach out to a broader network of candidates on job boards targeted to different locations and in different languages.
Likewise, when you open a role up to location-independence, you can expect to receive hundreds more resumes. Automated screening tools can help your team quickly and efficiently identify the best candidates. Automated interviews tell you whether – and how – each candidate can do the job, regardless of location and without wasting time.
4. Hire at scale
Screening people based on their backgrounds is flawed. The focus tends to be on people who do a good job selling themselves or who come from fortunate backgrounds. Time is then wasted meeting the wrong people, while the hidden gems get unfairly left out of the process.
This problem gets worse at scale. How can you screen 500 applicants? What about 5,000?
“We just wouldn’t be able to interview 2000 people in two weeks. But what we could do is utilize Vervoe to more accurately and in quite an unbiased way, assess everybody’s application during that period.Jeremy Crawford, Head of Talent Acquisition at Medibank
Rather than just assess the first 200 [applicants] and maybe hire 150 of them, Vervoe allowed us to actually assess all 3000 applicants in a two week period and still be able to select the best 150.”
Smart algorithms and AI tools that come as part of recruitment automation can turbo-charge candidate assessments by scoring results quickly and removing human bias from the equation. Automated skill assessments provide a way to screen candidates intelligently at scale. You can set the parameters for progression, and only the best performers at each stage will progress to the next. Candidates can automatically glide through the funnel. Some candidates will even opt-out when they realize they’re not a good fit or don’t have the requisite skills.
5. Predict performance
Unlike traditional hiring, which focuses on where candidates come from and what they’ve done in the past, automated hiring assesses each candidate’s skills today. By automatically interviewing every applicant using tailored interview scripts written by experts, automated hiring helps you choose people who haven’t just done great things in the past, but will be great at their jobs in the future.
Automated interviews or skill assessments offer a way to test a person’s skills and attitude using on-the-job tasks. You can ask candidates to design an onboarding flow, respond to a customer scenario, write a blog post, do an Excel test or coding challenge, write a customer email, or complete a puzzle.
By asking questions that are relevant to the role, you’ll better understand how candidates are equipped to handle things that matter to you most for the job you’re trying to fill. Technology makes it easy to create those tasks, and see how candidates complete them.
Automated hiring provides a consistent, skills-focused approach that focuses on identifying the best candidates from any given role in a specific company, and it does so in a fraction of the time of traditional hiring. It will eliminate headaches, speed up your process, and is far more likely to snag you top candidates.
How to use AI and recruiting automation
Recruiting automation can make your job as a hiring manager much, much easier. Automation allows you to correct problems before they become disasters, and to assess trends in your hiring practices over time. With that comes the ability to:
- Adjust your interview and hiring techniques to improve results.
- Better understand which types of candidates are the best fit.
- Explore retention problems. If employees are routinely quitting but are otherwise qualified, this suggests a problem with company culture.
- Uncover discriminatory practices. If a more objective interview process suddenly means you’re hiring more minorities, your previous interviewers might have been relying on unconscious biases in hiring.
Here’s how to add automation and AI tools at different stages of your hiring process.
AI-based and automated sourcing tools help recruiters find and connect with talent faster. Programmatic job advertising is the practice of purchasing, publishing, and optimizing job ads using recruiting automation software, rather than manually. Tools like SmartJobs by SmartRecruiters can do the lion’s share of optimizing a hiring budget across job boards, niche industry sites, and geo-specific sites through programmatic advertising. Some tools focus on searching for profiles across job boards or internal databases to fill an open position. AI chatbots can interact with a candidate to determine what specific role will be the best fit and show them how to apply through the job site.
Automated and AI screening tools range in approach, from resume parsing to behavioral and skill assessments. Predicting performance based on skill testing tends to be a better way to match candidates with open positions, as a skill test indicates current knowledge and ability, versus the historic nature of resumes.
Vervoe’s AI tool learns as more candidates complete the skill assessment, ranking candidates based on performance rather than eliminating individuals for failing to reach some arbitrary benchmark.
Automated scheduling tools streamline the process of setting up and hosting interviews. “Interview-scheduling software helps eliminate back-and-forth emails and time-intensive phone calls, allows the hiring team to view upcoming interview schedules in real time, and lets them spend more time sourcing and engaging with candidates,” one expert told SHRM.
If you’re still relying on phone screening and 1:1 interviews to make hiring decisions, scheduling tools can lead to reduced time-to-fill, increased recruiter efficiency, and better candidate experience – individuals can self-schedule or re-schedule interviews as needed from any device. The platform can automatically confirm interview appointments and sync with the company’s applicant tracking system. Reminder notifications are sent to candidates and interviewers by email or SMS.
Of course, a simple way to reduce the scheduling problems within your process is to use online tools that allow candidates to participate in their own time. Remembering that the most qualified applicants have dozens of employers competing over them and are already employed full-time, a solution that allows them to participate in your hiring process around their schedules is more likely to secure you the best person for the job.
Automated interviews not only save time and simplify the hiring process, but they also produce better hiring results. Rather than wasting time doing phone screens and in-person interviews, automated hiring software makes it easy to schedule and conduct effective interviews instantly.
Automated interviews make it possible to ask each interviewee the exact same questions in the exact same way. This prevents personal bias from entering the equation during the hiring process. It also ensures you have the exact same data on each applicant. That makes it easy to compare candidates side by side and choose the person who’s truly the most qualified — not just the one with the strongest handshake or who made the best first impression.
5. Candidate Experience
You can automate parts of your hiring process without compromising your candidate experience. In fact, the time saved, and real-time insight delivered will improve the experience significantly. You can customize all your messaging to suit your company’s tone and immerse candidates in your brand.
No one likes the admin it takes to go through the hiring process. Hiring managers have to track down candidates, work with their schedule, deal with no-shows and scheduling snafus, and judge people according to ever-shifting criteria. They also have to be held accountable for the tough decisions interviews force them to make. It’s stressful. Moreover, given how ineffective interviews are, the stress is often pointless.
“We want to be putting ourselves in the position where everyone wants to work for us, not self-selecting out.Daniel Stockdale, National Talent Manager for Omnicom Media Group
You don’t need to screen out or make the assessment harder; the AI will identify the best performers, focus on improving the quality of the candidate experience; simplicity can give you the best results.”
Many candidates also hate interviewing. They have to take time off of work, buy new clothes, fight traffic and inclement weather to get there on time, and make sure they share only the parts of their personality the interviewer will like. It’s an undertaking that feels decidedly phony, not to mention more than a little dehumanizing.
Sprinkle in the additional stress of calling candidates, scheduling interviews, juggling schedules and callbacks, planning for the interview, and all of the lost time this all requires, and it becomes clear that in-person interviews only make life worse.
Automated one-way interviews, however, utilize a platform to send through written questions, or the interviewer asks the question in their own pre-recorded video. Candidates can record their answers and submit them at their convenience, from any device, and within an allotted period of time. It’s more flexible, decreases anxiety that can cause traditional interviews to derail, and gives the best candidates a chance to shine.
6. Background Checks
Recruiting automation can both reduce the need for background checks and make it easier to send background checks as needed. According to research by SHRM, more than 50% of companies perform background checks to improve the quality of their new hires.
When recruiting teams deploy an AI solution or automated skill test, they can bypass the need to independently verify a person’s credibility. A skills assessment gives candidates the chance to show their talent in a real challenge; the results are more valuable to a hiring manager than hearsay or a reference check.
There are also tools that will scan online databases for information about a candidate’s background while keeping the company compliant with state and federal employee protections. Some reference check tools scan consumer credit reports, social media, national security databases, and education records to verify a person’s identity. Recruiters get automated reports that they can follow up on if necessary.
Results from automating recruitment
AI and automation have the potential to make recruiting more efficient, more effective, and more pleasant for both the candidate and the hiring expert.
Vervoe’s automated and AI-scored skill assessments are shown to cut down time-to-hire from 40 days to just four. BlueCross, a leading private aged care provider in Victoria, used Vervoe’s automated recruiting tools to screen 900 applicants in less than six weeks – a process that would have taken more than 40 weeks to accomplish without recruiting automation.
AI solutions free up recruiters to focus on the candidates. By using AI to perform the repetitive tasks involved in screening candidates, recruiters can spend more time developing thoughtful, high-impact job marketing campaigns; they can have deeper conversations with hiring managers to understand and define job descriptions.
And, recruiters have new capacity to engage with top candidates, create a great onboarding process, and improve overall talent retention.
Examples of recruiting automation software
There are many types of recruiting automation tools on the market. Here are just a handful.
Vervoe’s AI-powered skill assessment platform helps recruiters focus on the top candidates for the job as defined by their capabilities, not based on their resume.
Companies choose and customize from a library of assessments to test candidates on technical and non-technical skills like coding and sales, as well as soft skills such as attention to detail and teamwork.
The platform automatically ranks lots of candidates based on how well they perform the on-the-job simulation. Quickly identify and move the right people through the hiring process.
Ascendify is a talent acquisition platform that uses AI and predictive analytics to learn from each hiring cycle, helping recruiters improve their candidate search and screening more intelligently each time. It comes equipped with features such as integrations with career sites, an employee referral tool, applicant tracking, and new hire onboarding.
Recruiterbox focuses on automation related to candidate sourcing and interviewing, with features such as one-click job posting, auto-creation of candidate profiles, candidate email templates, and auto-responders. This ATS also has resume parsing functionality to help screen candidates.
Ideal is a candidate screening tool with a host of AI and automation capabilities. The platform’s AI helps recruiters by automating sourcing, resume screening, initial candidate outreach and even interview scheduling.
Workable’s applicant tracking system uses machine learning with more than 40 different integrations to help recruiters improve their sourcing. Workable includes access to “over 200 free and premium job boards, mobile-friendly application forms, more than 700 job description templates, and over 40 third-party integrations, including background checks and assessments.”
In addition to offering the SmartJobs progammatic advertising tool, SmartRecruiters’ SmartAssistant tool deploys AI to extend your talent discovery, manage high volume hiring, and use data to mitigate hiring bias. SmartRecruiters’ applicant tracking system comes with a host of recruiting automation features to help hiring teams attract, select, and hire the best talent more efficiently and at a lower cost.
Comeet’s platform is built with a specialty focus on automating time-intensive admin. Set up flexible workflows that guide the entire hiring process, advancing candidates through each stage based on the rules you set up. Define each workflow when you create a new position, and then let Comeet’s automation streamline everything.
Ready to start using recruiting automation tools?
Any business leader can attest to the fact that your greatest asset is and always will be your team. Knowing that, it’s vital that you do everything you can to bring the right people into your company, the kind of individuals who can propel it to new heights.
Automated hiring is a smarter way to optimize your recruiting process with hiring software in order to identify and hire the best talent in the market. After all, a company that doesn’t innovate will never be able to succeed. Hiring is one of the most integral ways in which you can make a real difference across the board.