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Hey Alexa: can you schedule my next appointment, order my favorite pizza and then find me a new job?

Wait, what??

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in Talent Acquisition, that functionality is almost here. In truth, the technology we use every day “knows” us extremely well. Our lives, more or less, reside in our phones or our laptops: the apps we download, the sites we shop at, the social networks we update constantly, the words we type into Google.

Companies like Facebook, Google, Target, Amazon, etc. know – and can predict – more about us than our own families (does that say more about technology, or our family lives?). Target knew a teenage girl was pregnant before her own father – and this was in 2012!

It may feel scary, but we continue to invest in these things, giving them more and more data. But, it’s also opened a whole new set of personalized experiences that we now demand from brands and businesses and, yes, employers.

We’re on a mad dash to improve the candidate experience of finding the right job … and the recruiter experience of finding the right hire. I shared some hypothetical examples of how AI could potentially impact talent acquisition at SmashFly Transform Virtual 2017. Let’s take a look. 


Scenario 1: “I need a new job, fast.”

There’s a candidate in Houston named Ed. He’s 26 years old, an Army veteran and working as a waiter. After another long shift dealing with an unbearable manager, cheap tippers and a large party who wanted to split the bill 7 ways (if you’ve ever waited tables, you know), Ed’s had enough. After his shift, he pulls out his phone and says, “OK Google, find me a new job.”

Google’s AI-powered algorithms goes to work, seeking job opportunities for Ed based on certain factors, like:

  • Where he lives
  • Brands he’s connected to and engaged with on social media
  • Industries and job roles based on his experience
  • His Google search history

Within seconds, Google delivers the top five job matches, with information about each company, its nearby locations, as well as company reviews and rankings.

Starbucks shows as the top match because there’s a store within 2 miles, and Ed has a strong brand connection with the company — he has the Starbucks app on his phone and chugs way more than his fair share of Frappuccinos each week. Plus, Ed’s background matches an open barista position. Google knows all of this thanks to big data.

So Ed asks Google to apply for him, and it sends his career profile to Starbucks. Starbucks’ own AI system reviews his application and determines Ed is a good fit for an interview and automatically sends him a calendar invite for an interview. Ed agrees to the interview, and the system sends the information to the local store manager.

Before he’s ready for the interview, Ed visits Starbucks’ career site to learn more about the company. The site, powered with AI, recognizes who Ed is and where he is in his candidate journey, so it includes relevant, personalized information such as a “day in the life” video of a barista, interview prep tips, as well as the company’s commitment to veterans.

Before he’s even spoken to a person, Ed has a simple, fast and personalized candidate experience, thanks to AI.


Scenario 2: “I need to find, nurture and hire a top-flight nurse.”

Marcy is looking for nurses to hire in Atlanta. Instead of searching for thousands of candidates manually — which would take forever — she tasks her company’s recruiting platform, powered with AI, to do the work. She enters specific search criteria such as target schools, geography and experience and the system identifies a candidate named Lani who recently graduated from Duke University in North Carolina. Marcy calls Lani to make a personal connection, gives her some company and brand information and says she’ll stay in touch.

Marcy then goes back to her system to build a more detailed profile of her candidate. The system discovers Lani loves healthy food and uses “#glutenfree” on her social media posts. She also volunteers for children’s organizations. So Marcy sets up a candidate nurture campaign for Lani through her AI system to connect with her through relevant content.

In the coming weeks, Lani starts connecting with the brand on social media and engages with Marcy’s targeted content. When Lani visits the career site, there’s information about nursing careers, as well as content on the children’s charities the company supports and why Atlanta is a great place to live (since Lani would have to relocate). There are also employee testimonies, including one of an employee who also graduated from Duke. All of this is personalized to create a more relevant experience for Lani and help her find the information she’s looking for faster.

Marcy feels she’s gaining traction with Lani based on her visits to the career site and social media interactions, all of which is tracked in her technology. She gives Lani a call and invites her to dinner with the Director of Nursing to a gluten-free restaurant in Atlanta (she knows Lani can’t say no to a great #GlutenFree meal). The dinner goes great, and she’s offered the job on the spot (which she happily accepts).


The Human + Tech Equation

The very near future is one where AI reduces manual tasks for both recruiters and candidates, while giving them a better, more relevant experience overall. But in these examples, notice that neither the system nor the human worked alone: both were necessary in the quest to match the right company, the right job and the right person. 

So how can talent acquisition leaders prepare for that future now?

  • Build your recruitment marketing: Recruitment marketing is the baseline of personalized experiences. You can start by mapping your target candidate personas to the messages they want to receive.
  • Improve the candidate experience: Go through your process, see what’s missing and look for tools and technology providers that will complement your ideal experience.
  • Kill the black hole of communication: Respond. Make sure you’re useful to candidates, communicating with them all the way through apply and hire.
  • Experiment with AI: If you’re in a large organization, check with your other internal departments to see which may be using AI already. Understand how they use the technology to bolster their strategies, and see if you can piggyback off them.

Use technology to capture and organize data. Use data to create better experiences and decisions. Use better experiences to make stronger connections between people: your recruiters and your hires.

Artificial Intelligence is going to radically change how we operate. Instead of fearing it, let’s prepare for it and transform talent acquisition for the better.

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