As the guests in our Staffing RecOps Podcast continue to grow in number, I wanted to touch on another really interesting topic from a recent interview with Emily Giltner, Senior Vice President Enterprise Operations at Staffmark Group.
In episode 11, Emily and I discussed automation and AI in recruitment, in particular, the value it can have in not only freeing up recruiters’ time, but also improving the candidate experience. You’ll have to listen to the full podcast to hear all of the details on how the Staffmark Group has benefitted from their own virtual recruiter, but here are some of the key takeaways I gathered from the conversation.
The benefits of Voice AI
I’ve discussed how valuable automation can be for recruiters in earlier blogs, but one specific detail that I haven’t explored more is what types of software and AI recruiters are utilising today and how they benefit agencies. Emily shared her experience integrating Voice AI into the Staffmark Group’s ATS.
For those who perhaps have less experience of this tool, Voice AI – or voice intelligence – using machine learning to allow an AI to speak to an individual to run through pre-determined questions. In recruitment, this can be particularly powerful in the initial pre-screening phase as it frees up a significant amount of time for recruiters.
For Staffmark Group, this virtual recruiter, as they refer to their AI, is in fact an off-the-shelf product that delivers everything they need. Once a candidate applies for a position, they schedule an ‘interview’ with the virtual recruiter to run through questions that are tailored to the job specification and are pre-inputted by the team into the AI.
Although the roll out of this technology is very much in the pilot stage for the business, Emily shared the successes they’ve seen in terms of moving people quickly through to the pre-qualification stage without overly burdening recruiters. And, let’s be honest, many staffing companies are finding that their teams are facing heavy workloads that are overly imbalanced by administrative tasks.
Cutting out some of these repetitive tasks is certainly a positive for the recruitment sector – particularly those with a high proportion of contingent solutions where admin is a huge part of the job – will allow recruiters to focus on the human element of the job. But what impact does it have on the candidate journey?
Automation: improving the candidate experience
The honest answer is, if implemented correctly, it can have a hugely positive impact – and here’s why.
In the first instance, timings are improved. As Emily highlights, though that’s not just in relation to speedy responses, but also when applicants prefer to be communicated with. We know that the usual working hours aren’t always the best times for job seekers to speak to recruiters – after all, some workers will be busy on the job. Recruiters hours are never a 9-5, particularly for those in the contingent recruitment space, but we can’t expect recruiters to work 24 / 7.
Virtual recruiters are working when our human recruiters aren’t. So, if an applicant wants to have the pre-screening call at 10pm to fit in with their schedule; the call will happen then, without eating into anyone’s down time in the staffing company.
There’s also the consistency that these bots can bring to the experience. People are unique and no matter how much training or experience anyone has, there will be nuances in the experience that they convey to individuals. At the early pre-screening stage, it’s important to ensure a consistent experience for all applicants. With a bot managing the process with pre-determined questions, this can be delivered. This also has the potential to boost diverse hiring – though this topic arguably deserves its own dedicated blog, so perhaps we’ll delve deeper into that another time!
What was particularly interesting in the conversation with Emily is the sentiment from the job applicants themselves. One of the recurring concerns around automation and technology in recruitment is the potential to dehumanise the process. It appears that with this virtual recruiter, it is not the case. Emily highlighted that many applicants forgot they were dealing with a Bot by the end of the conversation, often wishing this virtual recruiter a good day when they signed off.
Automation and AI in recruitment can really have a positive impact on the candidate experience and I urge you to listen to the full interview with Emily to hear more about her experience. When it comes to technology, there are always new improvements, that can be implemented. Are you ensuring your staffing business is consistently innovating so that it won’t be left behind?