blue suite - natasha o'brien - getting ready for artificial intelligence in recruitment

A recent study from Asia Business Council ranked Hong Kong seventh across eight Asian markets on the market’s preparedness and resilience towards artificial intelligence (AI).

The markets that ranked higher such as Mainland China, India and Singapore have built holistic ecosystems to help startups thrive in a collaborative environment. Furthermore, these markets have put in place business and tax policies that are favourable to these startups to foster economic growth.

Even though Hong Kong is lagging behind our neighbouring cities, we have the advantage of learning from the best. This can quickly propel us forward in the adoption and implementation of AI technology. In fact, we are already starting to see an increasing number of banks and e-commerce companies using AI-bots to drive productivity and efficiency in Hong Kong.


AI in recruitment.

As companies take on a digital-first strategy, HR leaders are under pressure to search for new innovations that can offer a promise of efficiency, return on investment, more insightful trend analysis and better user experiences.

With various business objectives and the large myriad of tech tools, it is no wonder why some HR leaders are hesitant with AI adoption. Besides the hefty investments, HR professionals need to have an adequate digital knowledge and technical acumen to choose the ideal recruiting tools, identify the right opportunities that could benefit from a tech solution, champion the implementation and ensure sustainability. 


Benefits of artificial intelligence in hiring process. 

Through data collection, analytics and machine learning capabilities, AI in HR can free up recruiters’ time that they would otherwise spend on routine, repetitive and time-consuming activities.

When harnessed effectively,  AI technology can significantly reduce our administrative burden and free up our time to focus on other aspects of the job, such as delivering more personal and higher value services to our clients. In the long-run, AI will also be critical in collecting and processing large volumes of data, which can help employers identify insightful employment trends such as skills gaps and talent mobility.

Depending on your business needs, AI recruitment tools can help you in a number of ways: 

  • Automatically updates your database as soon as you receive a new CV 
  • Identify keywords in CVs to quickly shortlist potential candidates 
  • Improve search quality through semantic search that helps understand the intent and context of the search 
  • Pre-interview screening of candidates 
  • Collect data to identify employment trends
  • Schedule meetings between recruiters and eligible candidates 
  • Have a conversation with clients and candidates by providing them with relevant content about employment trends or career advice 

The integration of AI into the recruitment industry has significantly helped companies standardise the job matching process. It increases the quality of hiring and data collection in identifying key trends and help HR professionals adjust their employer brand strategies. Most importantly, AI helps recruiters redirect their time to higher impact activities such as determining the candidate-client culture fit and deepening their relationships with candidates and clients.


What’s Randstad doing with AI?

When it comes to HR technology, we believe that we are not only just an early adopter but also an innovator. Our Randstad Innovation Fund (RIF) is a corporate venture fund that fuels innovation and supports our ambition to be a leader in HR technology. We invest and partner with companies from early-stage to expansion-stage, focusing on online platforms, big data analytics, machine learning as well as sourcing, screening and selection tools.

Our partnerships with HR technology companies and startups have in recent years given us a leading competitive advantage in the recruitment industry. As one of these startups’ first investors, we are constantly learning from each other and improving our offerings so that our clients and customers can benefit from our investments. These companies could also access and leverage our resources to improve their tools or build new solutions that can help them grow their businesses exponentially. 

Two of the AI tools that we’ve invested via RIF are AllyO and Wade&Wendy. 

AllyO automates and the end-to-end workflow and is specifically valuable to companies that deal with a high volume of candidates. Through natural language processing and machine learning, this AI recruiter helps improve conversion rates, enhances candidate experience and reduces administrative tasks.

Wade&Wendy provides a fully automated AI chatbot to interact with candidates and clients. Wade is responsible for introducing job seekers to opportunities that can shape their careers. Wendy assists our clients in identifying candidates. Wade&Wendy is also highly valued for its ability to provide constant feedback throughout the entire recruitment process. 


Some potential pitfalls of AI.

As with any investments, there will always be a risk that AI might not work out.

Data remains to be one of the most critical element of a high-functioning AI tool in recruitment and the maintenance and storage of these data are both expensive and cumbersome. Besides the tool itself, companies also need to hire project management specialists and data scientists to manage, enrich and update the data, as well as maintain a high level of data integrity. This is necessary to ensure a successful rollout and provide a  positive user experience.

In addition, some people may resist talking to a chatbot as they feel that they are not being valued. In some instances, it could have a negative impact on customer experience. This is especially true in the Asian culture where people still very much prefer to speak to a recruiter. The human touch has often been quoted as something they strongly value in the recruitment process.

There are several other potential pitfalls that companies should always consider from the selection to the maintenance of any AI tool: 

  • Inability to identify, prevent or manage conflict 
  • Privacy infringement or other similar legal issues related to data collection of its residents in each country 
  • Vulnerability to external hacks
  • A negative customer experience, due to the inability of the AI tool to accurately respond to queries or requests outside of what it has learnt

Future of recruitment with AI.

There is no doubt that AI has the power to disrupt HR through effective data management and analytics. According to the Future of Jobs report published recently by the World Economic Forum, it is predicted that more than half of all current workplace tasks will be performed by machines in 2025, as opposed to the 29 today. Furthermore, recruitment technology could create 133 million new roles, in place of the 75 million that will be lost to technology between now and 2022.

As much as we rely on new technology to drive our business agenda, AI should encourage us to innovate the way we work. This way candidates can find their perfect job and employers can hire the right people much more quickly than before. The recruiter’s role will also be expected to change from a transactional process to a more consultative one, as we shift our focus to deepen our relationships with both clients and candidates through providing more data-driven insights on industry and talent trends.


randstad blue suite.

The Randstad Blue Suite is a collection of personal insights from the Randstad leadership team.

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