HomeFuture of WorkDigital HRHow to utilise AI recruiting and human intelligence to build a more diverse workforce

How to utilise AI recruiting and human intelligence to build a more diverse workforce

  • 6 Min Read

Machine learning and data-driven recruitment platforms have the power to shake up the traditional hiring process, but HR leaders must recognise factors such as unconscious bias and poor communication can hinder efforts to attract a diverse talent pool

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven software platforms are rapidly reshaping the way businesses operate.

When applied correctly, these technologies have the power to speed and automate the most mundane tasks and free up human workers to devote more time to higher-value activities. The recruitment sector is one of them.

HR leaders are constantly looking for ways to optimise their efficiency through technology to streamline workflows and automate the repetitive parts of the hiring process.

Bob Michael, director of marketing at Leoforce, believes technology plays a vital role to ensure that recruiters gain every efficiency they can. “They’re constantly looking for ways to streamline the process in order to spend time building the candidate relationships that ultimately lead to better hires and a stronger organisation,” he says.

Attracting a diverse workforce with AI

A diverse and inclusive workforce has significant benefits and tangible returns. According to a recent report by McKinsey, more diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform competitors, and 15 percent more likely to notice higher financial returns.

Two out of three people looking for a job see diversity as a core influencer on whether they apply for a role, with this trend more noticeable among millennial employees, who typically prioritise culture and inclusion.

Leoforce’s Michael believes organisations should expect their AI-assisted recruitment platforms to source candidates from a variety of different backgrounds and ethnicities.

“We have  tried to be much more thoughtful in designing our own Arya AI tool – instead of ruling out candidates for what may be irrelevant reasons, we look at the more subtle patterns in their career journey and take a more inclusive approach. We actually measure a candidate’s likelihood of success particular in a job. You see good candidates other AI systems might miss.”

Diversity is more than race, ethnicity and gender. Well-designed tools can help organisations identify qualified candidates with non-traditional career paths and a demonstrated ability to acquire new skills.

“Every recruiter should have the tools and training to increase diversity, and should understand how their platform includes – and excludes – candidates. It should not have to cost more to have a more diverse pipeline.”

Removing unconscious bias to level out the playing field

Unconscious bias is inherent in being human, but can lead to recruiters unknowingly favouring or rejecting candidates based on assumed ethnicity or backgrounds. It’s part of the reason organisations struggle to achieve more diversity.

“The most important step is to ensure that recruiters and hiring managers are aware that unconscious bias is real and take steps to miminise the damage,” says Michael.

In addition, while AI-driven platforms can help prevent bias, it is also vital  businesses rely on data-driven decisions to ensure  their AI platforms do not “learn” and carry the same bias as human intelligence.

“Candidate masking” is a great way to combat this issue. “Every one of us makes unconscious assumptions, however an applicant’s identifying information can simply be masked during the sourcing process, allowing only relevant data to be evaluated,” adds Michael.

“You have to train recruiters and hiring managers to be aware of their own biases and make sure they do not get in the way of a great hire. It takes hard work, training, and introspection.”

Personalisation to optimise talent

As we now live in an ‘on-demand’ world, candidates look for a level of personalisation within the recruitment process to influence their decision-making.

AI-driven recruitment platforms can provide an abundance of opportunities when it comes to building this engagement, such as virtual tools and personalised videos from team members, who should look like the diverse workforce you wish to be. This also frees up the recruiter’s time to cultivate top talent and focus on building important relationships with candidates.

“Get a technology that streamlines all the busy work involved in candidate engagement. Understand what only human professionals can do in the recruiting process, and then automate everything else,” says Michael.

Measuring long-term business value

Shifting the focus away from short-term recruiting metrics – or key performance indicators (KPIs) – to measuring long-term business value, is vital for businesses looking to build longer-term value in their workforce. The real business value of diversity, equity, and inclusion needs to be part of that calculation.

Michael believes every HR leader and recruiter should be asking the same questions: “How are hires doing one year later? How long does it take for a new hire to become productive? Are diverse new hires staying and advancing?”

He continues: “It is very possible to crush your recruiting KPIs every month and still not know how the recruiting team is adding value to the business.”

Beyond AI

It is no secret the global pandemic and the move to remote working has left employees searching for greater fulfilment, causing many to  re-evaluate their careers while recruiters re-evaluate their strategies.

“This revolution has affected all kinds of workers, and the power has shifted from organisations to employees. Workers have options – and it’s up to the hiring company to compete with these,” says Michael.

Recruiters can seldom influence salary and benefits, but there are other factors recruiters can control. Build your employer brand by being responsive to every candidate, successful or not. Value the candidate’s time by designing a reasonable evaluation process customised for the type of job. Communicate how your organisation supports an employee’s personal and professional growth. If you aren’t as diverse as you want to be, say that. Ensure your conversations, your careers site, and every candidate communication reflects who you really are, and where you want to go as a premier employer.

“The most important interview question is no longer the recruiter’s, ‘why do you want to work here?’ It is the worker’s question, “why would I want to work for you?” says Michael.

“Cast a wider diversity net, and treat every candidate with respect, communicate well, and be transparent. Ensure even those who don’t get a job walk away thinking they might like to still work for you,” he adds.

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