Being Responsible In An Age Of Talent AI & Automation
Transcript of 'How Talent Acquisition Automation & AI can Damage Your Employer Brand'
Talent acquisition professionals love getting new tools to play with and over the last decade these have improved dramatically and increased their capacity to be more efficient at delivering on expectations. From the moment Linked In arrived the tech industry has seen recruitment as a massive source of revenue generation. Some of these tools are truly inspiring. I make it part of my job to keep on top of the latest intelligence TA tools, as they are developed, and partner with many of the most talented companies in this field and certainly I am placed to advise my clients on the best Talent Acquisition software to meet their needs. Recruitment doesn’t stand still and neither does the technology that supports it.
But along with all these shiny, easy to use, tools comes responsibility. Responsibility to respect the candidate and protect them from harm. Today a lot of us in Europe are looking at the new data regulations and wondering how these laws are going to affect their candidate databases and preemptive pipeline search funnels. The EUGDPR, though in parts ambiguous, is making it quite clear to all recruiters of talent that their candidate databases will be under scrutiny, as governments start waking up to the fact that they must protect their populations personal data, as far as legally possible, from abuse and cyber-crime. One question, yet to be fully answered, is will it be a matter of legitimate interest for a company to have their competitor’s employee data in their Candidate Management System? It is starting to be firmly stated by legal advisors in this area that legitimate interest will not apply if those 'candidates' are passive and have been, without their knowledge or permission, scraped from Linked In and other sources into the CMS for future pipeline use. Potentially exposing your competitor’s employees to data breaches by storing their data without their permission will result in huge fines for your company from May 2018, up to 4% of annual global turnover, and could potentially risk huge law suits from your competitors for storing their employee data on your CMS, such as company email, without their employee’s permission.
There is also the ethical responsibility of having a human touch. If we leave all our recruitment steps and communications to AI and automation we risk mistakes not of our own making but of a machines but you will still be culpable. I am a supporter of searching for and screening candidates using technology, and CMS’s have long been able to provide this efficient mechanism, which has cut labour and time to hire costs. But when it comes to the more sensitive end of the recruitment flow, interviewing and post interviewing communications, things, sadly, are increasingly going awry. Here is a great example to demonstrate this point:
This was recently Posted on LI, to the world, by a very disappointed candidate, here is what the person said:
“ I applied for a role in early August. I had a telephone interview followed by many more emails and telephone calls, during which a face to face interview was scheduled, rescheduled and another phone call prior to the interview confirming my attendance again as one of the panel members was coming from the UK…A week before the rescheduled interview date I again received a call to do temp work for the role I applied for the same week as the interview, it was too short notice and I had other interviews so after consideration I emailed to say I was unable to do the temp work and I asked if the interview still going ahead. I received no reply so I didn't travel for the interview as it all started to seem very strange. I just got an e-mail stating I did a strong interview and performed really well with positive feedback from the panel however, another individual had been selected but am I available to take a call tomorrow in relation to the positive feedback. But I never attended an interview! "
Fortunately for the company involved this candidate didn’t give them away. Think of the employer brand damage that might have ensued if the candidate had revealed the company name in his very popular post! I would like to say that this poor communication was a one off but, sadly, it is a creeping epidemic across many TA teams in companies and industry’s right now. Attention to detail and administrating the recruitment flow with a human touch is decreasing, while reliance on automation and AI is increasing. People are people, and candidates take things personally and can hold grudges, this is not a 'B2B' industry or even the more anonymous 'B2C' but 'B2T' – business to talent. In a marketplace where talent is thin on the ground the industry recruiters have to increase the respect levels for the candidate journey from start to finish. Becoming increasingly reliant on automation, in candidate communications, is not going to help with this and it will be obvious and will make you seem like you, as a prospective employer, are lazy and do not care.
When I was in executive search, I was representing a large global Plc and was conducting a Director headhunt. There was a tiny pool of potential talent for me to approach and this Plc had an employer brand problem too, as it is known as a ruthless and hard place to work, but who said executive search was easy? It isn’t easy, but it certainly wasn’t helped when the first interview with my first candidate (who was passive and not actively looking) was scheduled to be a video conference call, and no, that wasn’t the problem, the in-house recruiter gave no more details other than the link/time/date to the conference for my candidate. I prepped him for a video face to face with the recruiter. After the call, this candidate, a Director of one of their competitors, called me with his feedback. He said there was no human on the video call, it was just a screen with questions that came up one by one and he had 30 seconds to prepare his answer each time and give it into the camera. Do you know what the first question was? “Why did you choose the College you attended?” Wow!! He was furious and felt that his time was being wasted, he felt under-valued and unappreciated, he withdrew from the process, and I don’t blame him. There is a lot of argument right now on using automated video interview software and maybe it is useful at the graduate end or other high applicant junior roles, but there is a time and a place for it and it certainly is the worst tool to use at the more senior levels.
I could go on with many more examples but I am sure you can see the point. Taking care of candidates cannot stop once their application in the system, handing most administrative communication tasks over to the automated AI talent management system is going to harm your employer brand. Show more respect to the candidate and treat them as an individual worth your time and the pay-off will be huge. If not you will wonder why your closing rate in the process is so low, or why people seem to drop off through the interview cycle, or take another offer.
If you can see that your candidate journey seems to be hindering your success rate we are here to help you be the first employer of choice that you want to be. It doesn’t take a lot of time to turn this around and get those talent hiring numbers up, get in touch with us today and I will do a fast talent Optics diagnostic, which will show where and why you are struggling and provide the strategy and solutions to get the right balance between AI, Automation and talent professionals back on track.