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For years, recruitment has been a mostly manual process. But the days of contacting candidates one by one, screening CVs for buzzwords and ticking off matching skillset and experience, could be coming to an end, accelerated by COVID-19.

Recruitment, along with every other industry, has shifted over the last few years, particularly since the pandemic. There’s now an emphasis on smart tech, with predictive programming helping recruiters better identify top-tier talent, without so much as lifting a finger. This smart software is creating a new normal and suggests an exciting future. The introduction of intelligent technology has opened up new opportunities for better recruitment, not just for hiring companies but for the candidates, too.

But how exactly how is it shaping the future of recruitment post-pandemic, and are there any drawbacks?

How intelligent tech is shaping the future of recruitment post-pandemic

It’s no surprise that the pandemic has set growth back for many industries. But for some industries, it’s been a chance to diversify and embrace a new digital focus. Sectors hiring extensively include shipping and delivery, grocery stores, online learning and remote communication organisations. And it seems most of us (57%) thought hiring levels would resume in early 2021, according to  ManpowerGroup back in June 2020.

We’re in early 2021 now, and although the outlook for a normal future is brighter than it was last year, many industries are still stuck on pause. With a prolonged period of working from home, everyone has embraced digital working, including hiring agencies. It turns out recruiting doesn’t need to be an in-person task. You can understand social cues and other elements such as candidate personality through a video call.

Virtual recruitment shows no signs of slowing down with and 82% of hiring managers saying they will continue to interview using video once the pandemic is over. Why not? It’s more convenient for everyone. Companies are also open to considering a new way of working with 74% of companies saying they expect some of their employees to continue working remotely after the pandemic, and 59% of US workers who are working from home due to the pandemic wish to carry on working remotely.

Now that there’s a focus on remote hiring, onboarding and working, companies need to consider new ways of working smarter when recruiting. Enter AI, predictive analytics and natural language programming (NLP).

78% of candidates say the overall candidate experience they receive indicates how a company values its people. So if there’s a better, more streamlined and managed way to build a recruitment process that is predictable, consistent for all candidates, and it can be done virtually, you’re onto a winner, right?

An unrivalled candidate experience can be achieved in 2021 with the combined help of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and predictive analytics, here’s how.

Artificial intelligence in recruitment

AI is a technology that helps computers think more like a human, and over time, it has seeped into virtually every industry, and it’s been well-received. Companies can save time and money by streamlining archaic and manually intensive tasks (including searching for candidates), and consumers can access automated customer support 24/7.

But where AI really comes into its own is the hiring process. As humans, we make snap judgements on others, which, when recruiting, could mean you miss out on high-quality candidates because of your own bias. Computers can analyse candidate data objectively, highlighting the skills the team is currently missing, and what kind of candidate would be a perfect fit for the role.

Computers don’t have human emotions, we all know that, but with NLP, they can start to decipher human emotion through patterns. NLP can shorten the lead times for candidates by scanning applicant interview videos and extracting keywords within the video, helping rank applications automatically by best suited to least qualified. With remote recruitment set to continue, artificial intelligence software like this, can help narrow thousands of candidate applications quickly and remotely into a small pile of top-quality candidates.

Thousands of people have lost their jobs due to COVID, and because of this, companies who usually receive a handful of job applications are now having to sift through thousands. This is where intelligent software can lend a hand.

Take Vodafone for example, it was reported that each year they receive more than 100,000 graduate applications for 1,000 jobs. The implementation of an AI application removed human bias from the hiring process. The programme then extracts 25,000 data points from video interviews. The AI software examines visual and verbal cues and compares word choice, facial movements, body language and tone, helping indentify the very best candidates. Pretty impressive. Imagine how helpful this process would be in your new virtual recruitment strategy?

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Predictive analytics in recruitment

Predictive analytics helps you find patterns or trends in your data — it’s basically a forecasting software. But how can that help the recruitment industry post-COVID? Software can be used to analyse the last six months to predict similar candidate behaviours and trends, but only for the short-term. For long-term hiring strategies, you’ll need to wait for the dust to settle and life to return to some normality before you can predict in advance.

So, how can predictive analytics help you in the meantime?

It was reported in January 2021, that the UK unemployment rate rose to 5%, (a trend mirrored by most countries), this means the volume of people looking for work is at its highest point since the 2008 recession. Predictive analytics software can help you quickly locate the best hires for your positions, resulting in faster, more precise decisions-making while delivering a superior candidate experience.

Are there any drawbacks to AI and predictive analysis?

As with any relatively new technology, there are some drawbacks. For example, predictive analytics only works if you have access to a substantial data source. So if you’re hoping to focus on data-driven decision making, you’d need to locate a source big enough to enable you to do that.

Predictive analytics also doesn’t adapt to changing consumer trends or habits; predictive models will require updating to ensure their predictions stay relevant to your business goals and the outside environment. For example, when the pandemic hit in March 2020, models wouldn’t consider this.

AI will always lack the emotion and understanding that only humans can display. Human emotion plays a large role in recruitment, or at least it should. To understand the nuances of someone’s personality is something a machine will never be able to accurately predict and understand.

The more widely AI is adopted in recruitment, the finer tuned it will become. It’s already taken over our consumer lives — predicting our buying behaviour and delivering automated customer service solutions, so it’s just a matter of time until it takes over our working lives, too.