Spring Forward Into Better Cleared Recruiting: AI

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Is artificial intelligence the key to the future of the cleared recruiting process?

For years the resume has been the fundamental element of the hiring process.  Job seekers across the world have distilled their work history into an acceptable one or two page summary. They have worried about paper stock, appropriate fonts and shape-shifting formats, but mostly the resume has remained the same.

On the company side, not that much has changed either. The job postings have transferred from newspaper ads to online websites but descriptions remain a hum-drum list of duties and requirements recycled from the last opening, maybe pumped up a bit with today’s technology.

What about the application process? Any changes there? No, not really. Most recruiters will review applications in an ATS (applicant tracking system) instead of shuffling through the mounds of paper resumes, but it remains that a person will be eyeballing the document to decide if appropriate qualifications are met.

It’s been accepted that a recruiter typically will spend around six seconds glancing at a resume to decide the fate of a candidate.  That’s less than determining whether or not you want cheese on your burger.  Even the most experienced recruiter who during their professional life has probably reviewed masses of resumes can miss a terrific hire. How? Because careers today are not linear.

While recruiters are the guiding energy behind the application process, it is the hiring managers who are the driving force.  Those same folks with lean teams, multiple deadlines and undeniable pressure to make do with less. Those factors fuel the fire for “fully-baked” candidates; top talent who have worked at impressive companies, attended prestigious schools, whose skills are quickly transferrable and whose credentials position them for immediate success.

That expectation comes from ghosts of past careers. Back in the days when a professional track was vertical, top talent stayed on a rigid course of career development within a narrow framework and in a specific field. That specter is not in sync with today’s career path.

Author George Anders speaks of the “jagged resume” and explains that today’s career progression does not look the same as it did in days gone by. Careers now don’t ascend a typical ladder, rather they swivel and turn, maybe suspend and often reinvent. The coveted career path in the past has been replaced by a more unconventional framework with shorter tenure, entrepreneurial exploits, and family time.

Can you envision a future where resumes and job descriptions are unnecessary? Huge amounts of data will be assessed to define profiles for target candidates. Technology will sift through the data to identify what credentials, experiences, qualities, etc. would be beneficial for optimum success in a job.

Naturally the application process would also shift.  Instead of offering a resume, job seekers would participate in a string of assessments that have been created to recognize traits and profiles that fit best to the outline of the position. AI will analyze the results and determine which candidates exemplify a high likelihood for success.

While it may sound a bit too futuristic, please know it’s already here.

Last year Unilever stopped accepting resumes instead turning to AI for a portion of their recent graduate new hire program.  They moved an entire segment of the college hiring away from the standard process to a method centered on AI assessment.  Their results were remarkable:

  • Applications doubled in the first ninety days
  • The company hired their most diverse class to date, with a significant increase in non-white applicants and hires
  • The hiring class was also more socio-economically diverse, with many new hires coming from schools they did not normally visit and recruit
  • Time to fill shriveled from 4 months to 4 weeks

Once the initial AI calculation is complete, humans step in to resume traditional interviews. The prospect of inserting bias still is possible, but the talent pool should include a deeper slate of diverse prospects – hopefully including some of those “jagged resumes” that a customary review could have missed.

Though early results using AI are promising, it’s not yet the demise of the resume. The foreseeable future of recruiting will always rely on humans, but undoubtedly will be complimented by technology that benefits both recruiters and candidates.

And anything that makes the cleared recruiting process more streamlined is a good thing.


This entry was posted on Monday, March 12, 2018 9:47 am

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