Find and develop the right employees with AI in recruiting

By | 4 minute read | June 19, 2019

To help overcome the skills gap that threatens to undermine their organizations’ digital transformation efforts, HR professionals are turning to artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. These technologies make it possible to attract, identify and continuously train employees for the constantly evolving roles and responsibilities that are required in a successful data-centric business.

Recruiting outside talent is equally important to increasing an organization’s technological, collaborative and management skill sets. AI in recruiting is revolutionizing employee development, enabling HR to find the right talent efficiently and cost-effectively. AI can also help identify which candidates would be most able to expand their areas of knowledge and expertise.

That’s critical, because today’s performance and knowledge requirements are changing faster than ever, making it hard to predict what kind of skills will be needed even in the next few years. Take blockchain: Five years ago, virtually nobody thought blockchain skills were something organizations would need. Now, entire industries are desperate for blockchain developers, designers and project managers.

Intelligent Sifting

Most companies are trying to address rapidly changing skill requirements and struggle to find the candidates they need. The other significant recruiting challenge for HR professionals is searching through vast amounts of data — sometimes hundreds of thousands of resumes — to find the handful of candidates who can contribute to the organization’s current and future success.

This means being able to identify people with relevant existing and potential skills — even if those skills are not defined the way we are used to defining them, even if the candidates aren’t applying to jobs that we might expect them to apply for, and even if they’re coming from places we don’t expect to find them. Pulling that off would be nearly impossible using a manual recruitment process or even one that employs simple automation.

For example, some potential recruits or new hires may not know what type of job would be a good fit for them in the near or long-term future — this is often the case among recent graduates with plenty of talent but little professional working experience. AI can process information about these hires from multiple sources and match them to positions they may never have considered but in which they could excel. Organizations use AI to infer skills and match candidates to jobs, which opens up the candidate pool significantly. Companies such as Buzzfeed and EY have successfully integrated AI into their candidate attraction process.

The sophistication of AI functionality can be leveraged to improve the employee/skills search process dramatically. Artificial intelligence can quickly sift through a large number of resumes and data to match candidates to predefined success criteria. They can then stack and rank candidates based on the organization’s weighted criteria and needs. In addition, AI can detect unconscious bias in a hiring process and help HR departments at companies like H&R Block eliminate it.

Relationship Building

Identifying candidates with the right skills, as experienced HR professionals know, is only the first step in the recruitment process. The hiring process itself — interviews, meeting employees, testing, negotiating terms, etc. — is crucial not only to the goal of hiring the right employees, but also to establishing the quality of the organization’s initial relationship with the new employee.

Then there’s the onboarding process, in which HR and other key stakeholders (such as unit leaders) communicate to new hires the policies, performance expectations, cultural values and potential current and future opportunities of the organization. Here again, AI in recruiting can help deliver exceptional experiences to employment candidates and stakeholders.

Uncovering Gems From Within

Recruiting internally often reaps the greatest rewards of all, particularly if you apply AI to far richer data sets than those of external candidates. Since the present shelf life of skills has shortened, organizations must continue to infuse their workforces with new skills while acting to prevent talented employees from leaving. AI can match internal candidates to future jobs based on existing skill sets and areas of interest and then create optional career and training road maps for employees. Companies like Citizens Bank are using AI to help their employees find their next job within the company and navigate a new career path.

By nurturing AI-driven personal development opportunities, HR can create value for the individual and the organization through far more effective matching of skills to jobs, greater productivity and lower turnover and replacement costs. Most HR leaders understand this: In the most recent IBM Global C-Suite Study, 71 percent of more than 2,100 responding chief human resource officers valued “personalized learning plans for employees” more than other capabilities aimed at closing the skills gap.

Finally, giving information control to employees and helping them plot career and learning paths allows organizations to eliminate talent silos and disrupt the cultural barriers that discourage organizational mobility. That in itself is transformative.

Learn more about how IBM Services can help you reinvent your HR practices.