In today’s rapidly evolving technological world, there is one constant: change. That goes for expectations, too, as consumers and workers acclimate to new ways of interacting with businesses and employers. With AI increasingly playing a role in the way talent is found and hired, employers are adjusting their expectations around talent acquisition.

There are many ways in which intelligent tools are changing HR, but nowhere is it more transformative than in recruitment, where AI is creating many opportunities for agile companies. Today’s innovation can intelligently source the most qualified candidates, engage them through various social channels, alert workers to career opportunities, schedule and perform interviews, review responses, recommend top applicants and help onboard new hires. The list of hiring tasks that AI can perform seems limitless, and in the future more are likely to be added.

While only a minority of companies are currently using these tools, adoption appears to be ramping up as talent leaders expect more from these investments. Already, 51% of recruiters prefer using AI-powered automation to source and conduct initial screening of candidates, according to Randstad Sourceright’s 2018 Talent Trends research. It’s an early indicator that companies are increasingly leveraging technology to perform tasks that humans do today. Talent leaders will likely turn to AI to take on more responsibility as capabilities improve and costs come down.

accelerating access to talent

One of the most beneficial impacts of AI’s role in talent acquisition is the ability to connect employers and workers more quickly, resulting in shorter time to hire and less downtime. A traditional recruitment approach typically involves a sourcer to find qualified candidates and a recruiter to review CVs, perform screening and gauge interest. This can be incredibly time-consuming and slow.

Innovative solutions such as Wade & Wendy, a chatbot platform powered by AI, automatically sources numerous candidate databases to identify qualified workers and then uses data enrichment tools to create personalized communication. Its algorithm examines hundreds of data points about an individual and customizes messages to ensure the highest response rate. In the time it takes a human recruiter to source, screen and contact a handful of prospective applicants, technology can process and communicate with hundreds of them.

Once engaged, the system invites candidates to chat with the recruiter bot, called Wendy. It will ask about the individual’s qualifications, their interest in a vacant role and whether they would like to apply. This can occur anytime, which means applicants can interact with the virtual recruiter around the clock at their convenience.

Most notable about this type of innovation is how machine learning evolves the platform over time. The system identifies what types of messaging are most effective and will change its approach based on historical data. It can also adapt to offer up other jobs if a desirable candidate isn’t interested in the initial role.

As this kind of technology proliferates, its impact on expectations will be immeasurable. First of all, employers will increasingly expect to find qualified candidates nearly instantaneously. Sourcing, once the art of talent acquisition ninjas, is expected to become transactional – like finding products on Amazon. Plug in a few key terms and specify parameters such as location and salary range, and the AI will quickly present an abundant list of names. Without the need to toil away at sourcing talent, recruiters can expect to spend the majority of their time on engaging with and “selling” an opening to prospective hires.

Beyond improving speed of engagement, AI is also providing a more consistent and interactive candidate experience. How is this possible with less human interaction? As consumers, workers have come to expect much of the world around them to operate in an on-demand basis. Think Netflix, Spotify, Uber and a host of digital commerce businesses. It’s natural that they harbor the same expectations when it comes to seeking employment. They want seamless application through a mobile device using their LinkedIn profiles. They expect to find answers to their questions regardless of time of day. Most of all, they want transparency of process every step of the way. That’s what they get as consumers and what they will expect as job applicants.

Technology such as Modern Hire (formerly Montage) offers just this kind of seamless convenience to job seekers. The platform enables employers to create customized hiring workflows best suited for the type of roles they seek to fill. For instance, candidates may be alerted and invited to apply via texts. A chat bot can then conduct pre-screening and assessment as needed. As the applicant advances, they may be invited to conduct a pre-recorded video interview, the results of which can be transcribed and provided to hiring managers. The chatbot can also automate scheduling for face-to-face interviews. These features have tremendous benefits.

By using AI to pre-screen and assess applicants, a first-round slate can be compiled very quickly. With the system then transcribing recorded video interview responses to present to hiring managers, the process eliminates unconscious bias at this stage. Furthermore, by automatically scheduling interviews based on the manager’s calendar, the technology saves tremendous time for recruiters and managers alike.

Montage has been deployed in a number of organizations with consistent success. Recently, a Randstad manufacturing client that experienced a spike in hiring was able to deploy the technology to quickly fill its roles without adding recruiters to its talent acquisition team. By using Montage’s chatbot functionality, it contacted over 100 potential candidates via text, and nearly all responded within 48 hours. This type of response rate in such a short period of time is almost unprecedented under traditional recruitment models.

Success stories like this one is compelling reason why employers’ and job seekers’ expectations will continue to evolve in the near future. The growing power of AI will continue to enhance speed, responsiveness, transparency and, ultimately, the talent experience.

To hear more about how these technologies work in action, view this video.