AI has been changing the way we work for several months now. On Episode 135 of Talent & Growth I was joined by Matt Alder, the Author of Digital Talent and Host of The Recruiting Future Podcast, to talk about how he sees AI impacting the future of the recruitment industry. Read on to find out what he had to say about the way we can implement AI to improve talent acquisition!

What impact with AI have on recruitment in the day-to-day? 

It’s accelerating the trend towards automation within recruiting. Lots of organisations are looking at how they do recruitment. Something that we need to think about is the potential of these tools to take automation deeper into the recruitment process than we ever thought was possible. We need to think about the future of our industry and ask questions that we’ve not asked before. I’m encouraging people to try and get out of short term thinking while experimenting with these tools and consider what the long term impacts could be for their organisation, their team and their career. 

How can recruiters use AI to improve the candidate experience?

Something that’s always cited as a massive issue in the candidate experience is the quality of communication. When organisations use automation in their communication it actually improves the candidate experience. We live digital lives, and we’re often very happy talking to a machine if it’s giving us the information that we need, moving things along and keeping us informed. 

With airlines for example, a decade ago you had to go and check in manually with a bit of paper. It was very onerous because you had to queue up multiple times at the airport. Now you just check in online and you can have all kinds of conversations about your flight with an app whenever you want. That’s a much better experience than having to deal with humans. 

Recruiters need to think about how technology can improve their communication and the customer experience. Let humans do the bit that humans do really well, which is building relationships, interviewing or persuading people. Humans don’t need to keep scheduling calls or providing information – that can be automated and personalised effectively.

How can AI be used to create more diverse and inclusive hiring practices? 

Humans are inherently biassed. Could AI therefore create processes that have less bias in them? The flip side of that is the question, ‘Who is checking that these technologies are unbiased, and they’re not learning bias from us?’ There’s legislation emerging in various states in America that look at transparency in terms of how AI makes decisions about hiring. There is potential to remove bias and help make things more diverse, but I don’t think it’s that simple yet. 

What are the ethical concerns around new developments in AI?

We’ve talked about governments and other institutions not moving quickly enough to deal with the implications of AI, but there’s a huge discussion around ethics and regulation coming down the pipeline that we haven’t really touched on yet. New York State is introducing a regulation that requires any AI or other technology that’s involved in selecting people for jobs to be fully transparent. There are already court cases racking up about copyright infringement and plagiarism coming from these AI models as well. Until we get down the line and see what happens legally, it’s difficult to say what’s going to be a major concern. It always takes a while for our institutions to catch up with technology, and there’s an argument that they never really do. However, we will quickly reach the point where these huge conversations about ethics, transparency and legality start happening. 

To learn more about the impact of AI on recruitment and the wider people industry, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here

Company culture has become a prominent topic in the past couple of years. On Episode 129 of the Talent & Growth podcast I sat down with the Head of People and Culture at SciLeads, Rob Rees, to talk about how they have created a healthy culture in their remote-first business. I was really interested to find out how they keep their culture positive and inclusive  while making everyone feel recognised. Read on to learn Rob’s secrets!

SciLeads have developed a strong culture in a remote environment. What were the keys to success with that?

One thing that stands out for me is that we know who we are. We also know what our collective view on the world is. We believe that work should fit around your life, so you can do your best work when it suits you. It’s really about changing and breaking the social barriers or constraints that we put on ourselves. There is a sense of community in our company, and there is a sense that we are all in this together, regardless of your position. Because the organisation is incredibly flat, we’re open to new suggestions, experimenting and new ways of doing things. 

Our community is built on relationships. For me it’s really important to know the person behind the camera. For example, five of us are running the Belfast marathon. A couple of weeks ago, one of our newly promoted team managers was speaking at a panel and we went along to give him moral support, and then that turned into a social event. With things like that you get to know what the other person is doing and how they operate. 

Self identity is also really important to our culture. We don’t take it personally if someone says it’s not for them because they want to go to the office – that’s totally fine. Somebody asked me the other day if I like working for a remote organisation, but SciLeads does not feel like a remote organisation, it feels very much like we’re all doing our bit on a collective goal. We’re in it together, we know each other, and we trust each other. 

How do you ensure that communication remains effective and efficient in a remote culture?

We don’t use email. All of my email is all external, with accountants, candidates or recruitment agencies. I don’t get a single email from anybody internally, because we communicate in an asynchronous manner. That increases the volume of information that you get, because there’s lots of different Slack channels. When you first come into SciLeads you’re used to having your Gmail organised with labels, now you have to do that with Slack. You get to have an opinion on lots of different things, which is very uplifting, because you’re not just stuck in your lane. The majority of our team use our virtual office too. If you’ve got a question you can jump into a quick room and somebody can share their screen. 

Those are really simple ways that really helped us communicate, but also you’ve got to over communicate. If you’re communicating asynchronously, you’ve got to be really clear. You’ve got to make sure they understand this. Not everything requires a Zoom call. Sometimes you need to have a Zoom call where you are talking in real time to that person, but not everything does. You can decide what can be asynchronous, and what needs to be a call. We’re then very intentional with who attends those calls. That communication style gives you the freedom to be truly flexible in the way that you approach work. 

How can we make sure that people feel recognition in a virtual environment?

A big part of it is understanding that not everybody likes to receive recognition in the same way. Some people love hearing ‘Well done, that was a great job’ at the beginning of a meeting. Some people don’t. Our sales team is ultra competitive, so they have a good old lead table where our head of sales will put up how many contacts that they’ve booked this week and highlight the top spot. Our operations team on the other hand would just prefer a note on slack to say ‘Thank you, that was really helpful’. It’s about understanding what works for everybody, and how to get the best out of everybody. 

People want a level playing field, so we are as transparent as possible. We’ve put a lot of work into making sure that our structure is fair. We tailor that recognition to the individual, and that works really well in a remote organisation because we have those different means of giving it out. 

To learn more about building a strong company culture, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here

Generative AI has been changing the way we work for several months. To help us keep up with the rapid rate of change, I invited Robin Choy, the CEO of HireSweet, back on the Talent & Growth podcast to talk about the advances in Chat CPT’s technology and how we can apply it to recruitment. Read on to find out how to keep up with the latest innovations in AI.  

What’s happened in generative AI in the last couple of months? 

Most of the products are still at the beta stage. What has changed over the past eight weeks is that everybody’s starting launching their own Chat GPT type models. There are a lot of new services, models and products emerging – it’s not just Chat GPT or Open AI anymore. The most major improvement I’ve seen are the plugins that allow for Chat GPT to communicate with websites. Expedia, for instance, has given it access to travel data. There has also been a big improvement in image generation, which is fascinating to watch. 

How can recruiters make the most of those improvements?

For recruiters, I don’t expect there will be a big difference in the use of Chat GPT. Most of the time, you don’t really see a big difference between GPT 4 and GPT 3. It has the same biases, and 4 is slightly slower but it gives you better results most of the time. Its results feel more like human products and it manages larger texts. That I can give it a podcast transcript and it’ll create a summary, which is something that GPT 3 couldn’t do. Something big for recruiters is going to be the plugins that are being developed. You can expect to have ATS plugins or Indeed and LinkedIn plugins fairly soon.

Where is Chat GPT taking us in the next 12 months?

Most software vendors will start integrating chargeability to their software. So in the next 12 months, you can expect to have much more AI powered functionalities in all the software you use in your ATS. If your ATS doesn’t let you generate job descriptions using Chat GPT, within a year, it’s probably time to leave your ATS because they missed that train. 

Unfortunately, I also believe there will be much more noise. There’ll be more articles, LinkedIn posts and outreach messages that are all saying the same thing. A lot of people are reporting that they’ve had a surge in applicants recently because people are use Chat GPT to fill in their application forms. We’ll have to find ways to cut through the noise.

I believe one of the results is that personal branding and company branding will be more important than ever. At least show that you’re a real person. Build trust. Do that individually with the candidates – meet them in person too, because in six months, you’ll reach out to a person and if they know you, they won’t know if you’re an AI or not. Personal brands will signal who candidates can trust. 

To learn more about using generative AI in recruitment, tune in to Episode 123 of the Talent & Growth podcast here

Are you looking to streamline your talent acquisition process with technology? Look no further than the insights of Reece Batchelor, Talent Acquisition Manager at With over three years of experience at the company and a background in agency and consultancy recruitment, Rhys has a wealth of knowledge to share. I sat down with him on Episode 120 of Talent & Growth to discuss how we can improve talent acquisition with technology. 

What software do you use to test candidates during the interview process?

We’ve implemented a great platform called Codility and introduced it as early as possible in our hiring process. Our commitment to candidates remains strong as they progress through our process. In between interviews we provide 20 coding tasks, which take no longer than 45 minutes to complete. Candidates must finish the task before their call with the hiring manager so that we can provide feedback on both their code and interview performance. This process saves time by identifying fit early on. We’re not using Codility as a task-based exercise with no feedback or commitment from our end, we’re using it to ensure the right fit for everyone involved as early as possible.

What metrics are you measuring during your talent acquisition process? 

The metrics we measure depend on who needs them and why. We report some things to our clients and track different things for ourselves. To determine what to report to each business, we consider what they need and care about. For example, last year, I was tracking time to fill and time to hire, but then our head of talent told me that she only cares about hiring the right person, regardless of how long it takes. As a result we focus on tracking the quality of hire, which is difficult to measure until the candidate has been with us for six to twelve months. We track this by using a scorecard-based criteria during the interview process.

In addition, we measure interview efficiency by tracking time to source, average time spent in each stage of the process, offer acceptance rate, and candidate experience. These metrics help us understand our sourcing efficiency, how well we are calibrated with the hiring manager and how quickly we are moving candidates through the process. We also assess recruiters by the standards we believe our talent acquisition partners should meet. We track metrics such as 100 Outbound per week, 50 new prospects into the process per week, 20 recruiter screens per week, 60% pass rate at stakeholder screen, 90% offer acceptance rate, and 65% underrepresented hires.

We do not track hires per month, we measure performance. That helps us identify areas for improvement. If we are not making the hires we need, we work backward through the process to identify where things went wrong and what we need to improve. By focusing on these metrics we are able to ensure that we are hiring the right people as efficiently as possible.

Is your messaging sequence automated? 

We use an automated tool called Jim for our messaging, but that doesn’t mean our messages lack personalization. When we add people to a project, we use a templated email with tokens that allow us to add extra information based on what we find on their LinkedIn profile. For instance, if we see that someone has spoken on a podcast or received a recommendation, we add that information to the tokens. By doing this, we ensure that our sequences are efficient while still being personalised.

Is there anything else software-wise that you use and you find really useful?

Ashbee is an excellent tool for managing data and generating metrics. We use it to build various data dashboards that give us the metrics we need because its lifetime data is accessible, exportable, and shareable with hiring managers. 

For sourcing, we are big fans of Hired. It’s a platform where we find amazing candidates, and their customer success team is brilliant. We also use Try to automate some parts of our recruitment process, especially in HR and onboarding. Our own platform allows us to build up those automation features.

Although we love technology, we believe it should not take away the human aspect of the recruitment process. We value building relationships, which technology cannot replace. While some tools like Calendly can be useful, we prefer to keep the human touch by asking for availability during a call rather than sending a calendar link later. For us, technology is great if it makes things more efficient and automates manual processes that we don’t need to do ourselves, but it should not replace the human touch.

To learn more about using technology in your TA function, tune in to the Talent & Growth Podcast here

Racism is a prevalent issue in today’s society. On Episode 119 of Talent & Growth we spoke to Hannah Litt about how we can create equity in the workplace, covering topics like diversity and inclusion initiatives, white supremacy and business’s responsibilities to their employees and customers. Hannah is the Head of Equity, Diversity, Anti-Racism and Resourcing at MindWeaver, and her work is centred around creating a just and equitable environment, both in the workplace and wider society. 

What are the foundations of an environment of psychological safety?

It will be different for every single person. When someone joins my team, my objective is to make them feel safe. It won’t be 100% safe, and that’s not on the company, that’s on people’s past experiences and trauma, but we can aim to get people as close to 100% as we can. That is my ongoing objective. That means showing up for them, whether they needed something, whether they were unwell, or whether their family needed something. Whatever the reason was, it’s important that I’m showing up for my team in whichever way I can. Some people say, ‘I just treat all of my team the same’, but I’ve never treated my team in the same way, because my team are not the same people, their needs are different. I treat my team dependent on what they need. I’m not perfect, I will make mistakes. But I promise that I’ll show up the best I can when you need me, and hopefully that equates to safety.

You’ve spoken publicly about the importance of overcoming white supremacy in the workplace. What do you think are the most effective steps companies can take to create more equitable workplaces in that way?

White supremacy isn’t just in the workplaces, it’s everywhere. I think the most important thing is that people realise that this is a white problem. This is a problem that has been created by white people, and that will make people wince when they hear it because they think “It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it.” This is actually a white people problem to solve and dismantle because we, as the global majority, don’t hold the power. That is the first thing that white people need to recognise; that they hold the power. Then they need to remove the fragility that comes with that realisation. A lot of conversations that I’ve been having recently with white people have been, “If I do this, then what’s in it for me?” My response has been “This is about saving humanity and doing the right thing. This is about actually showing up for other people.”

I am well aware that I am South Asian, and I have been raised in a system of white supremacy too. I’m not absolved of being racist either. Anti-blackness is a thing in my community, so I have to do the work as well. It’s really important that people of the global majority are not absolved of this work either, because anti-blackness is a thing I have to work on every day as well. We need to look at who holds power as a whole, and who’s most likely to be writing the policies, signing off the pay, etc. A lot of that work comes from within, by removing your own fragility and doing the work.

How can we contribute to dismantling white supremacy, and what are some tangible steps we can take to make a difference? 

I always say Google is free. Google is there. There are so many creators of the global majority that are putting out free content every single day. So you have me, Elizabeth Lieber, Sharon Hurley, Shareen Daniels, A.B. Adamson… There are so many great people out there who are putting out great content for free, using their emotional labour. There are some great books as well by people like Saira Rao and Regina Jackson. They do have cash apps and stuff that you can pay them through if you want to contribute in return for that labour. 

You just need to read and digest and take the emotion away from it. At the end of the day, the black majority are living in discomfort. A white woman once told me that she likes to turn her phone away when she sees an injustice, because she can’t bear to see it. What I had to say to her was, “That’s your privilege. You get to turn your phone around and not look at it. When I go to the supermarket, I can’t turn the colour of my skin off. I still get the microaggressions when I go into the office and I don’t get to turn it off. The fact that you get to turn it off is your privilege, and that is where you’re upholding white supremacy.” That’s what people need to know. Everybody needs to confront those uncomfortable emotions to work through it together and make it better. 

What has been your experience with the intersection of mental health and racial justice in the workplace, and how do these two issues intersect? 

I didn’t realise that my mental health was impacted by racial justice until I started to unpack my own stuff about 18 months ago. It’s ongoing, but the impact that racial trauma has had on my mental health is huge. I had locked away what happened systemically through schooling. The fact that I was just written off as difficult when I actually have ADHD definitely has a racial element. Working in the organisation that I work in now, seeing the impact of the trauma that people have faced at the hands of managers and organisations, that people don’t even realise, has been really confronting. 

I still have moments now where I think of situations that I was in, where I go, “Hold on a minute, that wasn’t right.” It still comes back to me now that they were microaggressions which had been so normalised that it happened on a daily basis and nobody called it out. I actually went through an old WhatsApp chat yesterday with an old manager of mine, and I was like, “Whoah, that was not okay.” Even though we may have left organisations, we’re still working through the damage that racial microaggressions inflicted on us. There were things that we were just dealing with on a daily basis. That impacts your mental health a lot.

What role do white women have in dismantling racism in the workplace? 

This is a really important conversation. I’m not saying that white men don’t have a role to play, and I’ve had some really interesting conversations and experiences with white men. But, because everybody is focusing on gender equity, and the progress we’ve made there, white women fail to recognise the privilege that they have. They uphold white supremacy, and the harm that has been caused to the global majority by white women is massive. They need to acknowledge the role that they play in upholding white supremacy, because it often isn’t recognised. 

I had a conversation yesterday where a white woman referred to me as a commodity, which is not okay. It’s really important for them to recognise that, yes, we need to talk about women’s equity, but actually, they don’t support black women, trans women, etc. in those conversations. That’s something we really need to unpack.

It goes back to the tokenism side of things. It’s really important that the white women that are in the room are dismantling those patriarchal structures and paving the way for women of the global majority. What we do see is a lot of white women who are making quite a bit of progress in the gender equity space, but they are rolling the ladders up behind them. It’s really important to understand the role that white women played within white supremacy, slavery, colonisation, etc.

How can companies foster a workplace culture that values and supports diversity, equity and inclusion?

I feel it’s still a tick-box exercise. Ask yourself why you’re doing it. A lot of people are still doing it for the investors, because they feel they need to, etc. Diversity doesn’t mean inclusion. It’s about action. How are we still here? How are people still feeling like they don’t belong? How is there still systemic racism? We need to get to the point where people are actually looking at the systems and the processes, because bringing in more people isn’t going to make a difference. It’s got to be a huge shift in their policies and wider culture. 

To learn more about creating equity in the workplace, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here

Chat GPT has rapidly become one of the most useful tools in recruiters’ belts. On the Talent & Growth podcast I regularly talk to our guests about how they’re adopting it in their own work, and how we as an industry can use AI to improve our workflow. On Episode 117, I spoke to Chad Sowash, the co-host of the Chad & Cheese Podcast, about what vendors can learn from it, and how its accessibility is changing the face of RecTech. 

What impact do you think that Chat GPT could have for TA and RecTech?

You’ve got little companies that are tapping into AI now. There’s already tech in the talent acquisition space that is far better than Chat GPT, because it doesn’t focus on the broad picture, it’s more specifically geared towards the problems that we have in our industry. Chat GPT’s openness and transparency just makes it seem like it’s far ahead of anything else that’s out there, because we’re not seeing, touching or tasting those other pieces of tech on a daily basis, because they’re kept behind a wall.

There are two lessons that companies need to learn from this. The first in the first lesson is perfection. AI isn’t perfect – it’s like a puppy, and each variation trains on a different set of data. AI in itself is becoming a commodity, and its datasets are the secret sauce. If you input different data, it would give you different answers. That’s what we need to do in our industry; stop trying to be perfect on every single demo. 

Number two, vendors need to move in the direction of transparency quickly, so that the promise of your product can actually be seen, which proves it’s not vapourware. There’s also a lot of business and regulatory pressure to prove these algorithms aren’t biassed, so transparency provides two big advantages to businesses. As we’ve seen with Chat GPT, everyone wants it. That’s great for sales, marketing and revenue generation. Transparency also puts your tech team in hyper diligence mode, which ensures the AI outcomes are not highly biassed in process because the most biassed thing on this earth is a human being. All that’s happening is that the human being who’s actually coding the AI is transferring their bias to the algorithm. The big difference here is that AI can scale faster than a single human can, so it’ll scale the bias too. That’s why we need to keep that bias out. 

What vendors stand out to you as producing a really good piece of kit that TA and recruiters should be working with?

At the top of the funnel, you’re looking at programmatic players. Then you have the outsourcing and outreach players who are out there for engagement. They draw in individuals who meet the requirements of specific positions and match them with companies by using conversational AI. It doesn’t have to happen in one form or process on a website – it could actually happen through WhatsApp, SMS or something like that. There are so many different platforms that are out there today that are leveraging amazing algorithms. But again, it’s incredibly important that every single organisation does their due diligence to understand how those algorithms are audited, and if they should audit them themselves. It’s up to individuals to establish where AI can help in their own processes at each stage of the funnel. 

To learn more about using AI in recruitment, tune into the Talent & Growth Podcast here

On Episode 116 of the Talent & Growth Podcast I was joined by the legend himself, Lou Adler, to talk about how people can pick the right moves for their career. Lou regularly speaks about hiring and recruiting issues, with a focus on performance based hiring. This system is something he teaches through his company, Performance-based Hiring Learning Systems, where Lou is the CEO. On the podcast we tapped into his expertise and found the best ways to source top-tier talent. 

How did your Performance-Based Hiring system come about? 

I always thought about systems when I became a recruiter, because I realised recruiting was broken. People wrote bad job descriptions, they couldn’t interview, they couldn’t find candidates. So when you think about recruiting as a business process, it has a sequence of steps, and the process starts with how you define the job, but the process doesn’t end until a year after the candidate accepts an offer. If you think about all of those steps, in between, you can create a process. 

One is how you define the job. I do not use skills and experiences to define the job. I ask the hiring manager, what does this person need to do to be successful? Then you have to interview candidates. How do you know if a candidate is going to fit? Early on, I gave a one year guarantee, even before I became a retained recruiter. When you give a one year guarantee, you’ve really got to do your due diligence. So I learned to become a good interviewer. 

My next challenge was that I never had enough money in the budget. If you’re going after the top 20% of candidates, they expect top dollars. I gave them above average dollars, but not top. What I gave them was a better career move. You have to negotiate all those pieces, then ensure the candidate is successful on the job by getting involved with onboarding and post-hire management. 

That’s the system. It didn’t evolve on day 1, it took 10 to 20 years to get there. It’s important, because people are still hiring with the start date in mind instead of the anniversary date. In my mind, they’ve cheapened work. If you’re just hiring as quickly as possible, you’re creating a group of people who quit every year because the job’s not right. The faster they quit, the better people get at selling job postings. That to me is not a good solution. 

When you think about the whole system, you don’t need to optimise one step, you need to fine-tune all of them. Being a great interviewer won’t help if the best candidates don’t apply in the first place. You have to look at the whole process. You’ve got to optimise all the steps. I don’t think the people who design these systems think through ‘How do you define the job, how do you attract the best people and how do you make sure they’re successful?’, but answering those questions is the secret to successful recruitment. 

How can you use candidates’ career decisions to enhance your recruitment model? 

Let’s pretend you’re the candidate for this answer. When I talk to a candidate, I always say, ‘Paul, would you be able to chat about something that represents a career move?’ Most candidates say, ‘Yeah, of course’. I then say, ‘Paul, I’d like to conduct an interview with you.’ I want to make the general statement, like ‘I’m only gonna present three or four candidates to my client, the hiring manager, and one of those people get hired. We can agree to go forward with this job together, because I think you’re right for the right job, and it’s a career move for you.’ 

I sell them on the idea by asking ‘Would you really want this job if it weren’t for the money?’ before I give them an actual offer. Candidates always say yes, then I say ‘Why?’ Most candidates don’t really have the answer, so I say, ‘We’re going to give you the 30% solution, which is a non-monetary increase. It has to be competitive or I understand it’s off the table. We really have to give you the best career move, which consists of a lot of pieces:

Number one, you have to want to do that work, if you don’t want to do the work, forget it. Number two, you have to buy into the hiring manager and the team you work with. That’s critical to being successful. You also have to see it as an opportunity to grow over time. Number three, you need work-life balance, so our job over the next two to three weeks is to give you enough information to make that decision. I’m going to push you if I think this is the best career move for you, and it fits your needs at that point in time.’

That’s how the chat has evolved; to have people look at not just the start date, but to get everybody focused on getting a better job. Candidates are leaving for more money or to avoid pain. Companies and candidates alike are focusing too much on the short term, where really career growth is long term. If the company can’t keep you on a good career path, you should leave. But, as a candidate, you’ve got to be discerning enough that you can understand those things before you accept an offer. Don’t get seduced by the start date package. It’s the wrong decision. 

Companies and candidates need to buy into that idea of thinking long term and balancing priorities. I’ve been using those kinds of ideas and concepts every time I talk to a candidate because I’ve never had enough money in a budget to place a person. I always made the job into the best career move instead. I look for candidates who would see the job that way too. 

To learn more about long-term hiring strategies from Lou Adler, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here

The relationship between TA professionals and hiring managers is an essential part of the recruitment ecosystem. On Episode 114 of Talent & Growth I spoke to Katrina Collier, author of The Robot-Proof Recruiter, about how we can improve those relationships. 

What’s annoying you about talent acquisition in 2023? 

For 2023, I really want to focus on intake. Both sides should be preparing for that critical meeting where you discuss that role in depth, but it doesn’t happen. Every time it doesn’t happen, the hiring manager loses a whole load of time and money, and the recruiter also wastes a whole load of time, plus the candidate experience and employer brand goes out the window. That can all be fixed by having a proper intake. 

What I’m seeing at the moment is when someone resigns, the hiring manager pulls their old job description out of the drawer and hands it over to the recruiter, who then goes out and tries to find this thing from the past. We should be asking ‘What does the team look like? Who has what skills? What do we really need here? What do we need going forward?’, but that isn’t happening. TA isn’t empowered to push back. Are they even allowed to have these challenging conversations? That needs to change. 

How would you approach this disconnect between TA and hiring managers? 

I would really like to see the TA leaders empowering their recruiters. I recently saw a TA leader who wouldn’t let their recruiters talk about salaries with the hiring manager. If they want someone with 10 years experience but are only offering a 50k salary, that’s only gonna get them an entry level person. These recruiters know that, but they’re not allowed to have the conversation. I want to see all that kind of BS just gone. The team should feel like they are equal partners. 

The whole point is for TA to be value-adding partners with the hiring managers. They don’t want to be seen as a service. They want to be partners and challenge them. I want to see more of that too. But, if recruiters don’t feel empowered, it’s never going to happen. It has to start at the top, with the C suite understanding that it’s a crucial role. 

I also want to run more of my design thinking workshops with hiring managers. These workshops get them to understand how they are losing time, money, and face. Not hiring  someone is actually losing them their bonus, or making them look stupid, or costing them their job. The trouble is, they don’t seem to see that. We need to reconnect TA and hiring managers by showing them the value of working together. 

What are the critical questions that TA should be asking hiring managers to ensure we qualify the roles in an effective way?

What is the cost to the bottom line every single day the job is open? 

What does the success of this person add to the team? How will you know they’ve succeeded in doing it? How will you know, at the end of 12 months, that you’ve hired the right person? 

What’s the problem they’re coming in to solve? What skills are required to fix that? 

All of these questions should be looking forward rather than backwards.

How do we push back on roles that aren’t fit for purpose while still protecting our position?

Talent acquisition does more than just recruit. To do that, they need to know that their leader has got their back. That starts with a conversation with their boss, explaining that ‘This hiring manager is treating me really poorly. I’m not going to waste any more time on it, because all it’s doing is delivering a bad candidate experience, which is impacting our employer brand, which means we aren’t better recruiters. So, I want your permission to just push back on this person. Are you going to have my back?’ That’s where TA has the ability to be more strategic. Sometimes people need to change companies because their leaders don’t have their back, which undermines their position.

Being aware of the people in your company is also essential. Know who’s a flight risk and who’s not and who could be cross trained. If we were going to lay off over here, why aren’t we moving them over there? Shouldn’t there be some cross training? Get out and talk to more people, have an open conversation to gain awareness of how the company is working. That will help because knowledge is power, and it will feed into your strategies. 

To learn more about talent acquisition in 2023, tune into Talent & Growth here

Generative AI has been a hot topic for a while now. On Episode 113 of the Talent & Growth podcast I spoke to HireSweet CEO Robin Choy about how we can use AI in recruitment and talent acquisition. We delved into how you can use programs like ChatGPT to streamline your processes and be better at your job. 

How can generative AI be used in TA and HR? 

TA has become a very text-driven job. We send a lot of debriefs, job ads and outreach messages every day. Everywhere a recruiter spends time writing text, AI can help. Outreach messages are one of the biggest ones for us, because people struggle with writing good outreach messages. There are best practices which generative AI can use to write a first draft. I say first draft, because you shouldn’t rely only on what’s generated, you should always revamp it and personalise it. 

Job descriptions and job ads are another great use case. We’ve heard people using it to generate assessment questions for screening candidates. You put in a prompt like ‘I want to assess this skill. Can you list me a top 10 List of 10 questions that I can use?’, and that seems to be effective. If you need to show a candidate to a hiring manager, you’ll often write a quick blurb that can standardise the presentation. Generative AI can be fed raw data, then it’ll write standardised blurbs, which saves you time and helps to eliminate discrimination or unconscious bias because it levels the playing field for candidates down to key skills and experience. 

How could generative AI make recruiters more efficient?

For a lot of the text we create, getting the information takes 20% of the time, while writing it up will take the other 80%. With generative AI, you have to fill it with the right information, because one of the rules is ‘garbage in, garbage out’. What AI does is allow recruiters to focus on getting that information and take 80% of the work off their plate. 

If you write a job description for example, you need to put the compensation offered and skills required into the AI. As long as you’re feeding it accurate information, it’ll give you a good output and free you up to understand what the candidate will be doing during the first six months of the role instead of writing a job description. Learning how to gather information and write good prompts can save you 80% of the work.

You can also use Chat GPT to figure out what’s missing in a job description. Ask it ‘What type of information could I include to make it better? What’s missing in that candidate blurb? How can we make that candidate description more interesting for the client? What’s missing?’ It’ll guide you and help you find that information as well, which improves your output and conversions. 

How can we get the most out of this tech as recruiters? 

Always check its output because it’s often wrong. My advice is to be paranoid about it. I’d also recommend that you try to use it daily, because the more you use it, the better you’ll get at working with it. Try tools that fit your workflow as well. Tools like for instance makes it very easy to write content articles. If you use a tool that rates job descriptions or job ads, it will be programmed with the best practices for that output. That tool will be able to measure conversions and do all these other things because it’s specialised. These tools add a layer on top of generative AI which can save you a lot of time. It’s become very important to be up to date on these technologies if you want to keep up. 

How can recruiters use generative AI for outreach and messaging?

You can use AI to generate or review an outreach message that you’ve written. With reviewing, there are a few questions that you can ask. I’ll say, ‘Here’s an outreach message, what are the most fluffy, useless parts?’ and it replies with the parts of the message that are redundant to similar engineering positions. Basically it gives you better wording. It’s very easy to pinpoint and emphasise which parts don’t add value. 

Another helpful function is using AI to improve the message and make sure it’s not biassed against minorities. For instance, you’ll say, ‘Here’s an outreach message, can you pinpoint which parts are likely to be biassed against a minority?’ and it will look for gender specific language and things like that which you should rephrase. Not everything will be right, because AI has a tendency to lie because it’s not actually backed with data, but it can be useful for making you think more deeply about certain phrases. 

If you give a lot of context, you can get it to write a refusal email for a candidate. Give it directions like ‘Make it empathetic, explain what worked and what didn’t so that the candidate understands’. It can help you with candidate nurturing as well by keeping people up to date on their process. A lot of people don’t need to hire as much as they did a year ago, so we’re all thinking about how we can nurture our talent pool with outreach messages, email newsletters etc. to keep people engaged. It’s always a bit painful to get started writing a message, so go and ask AI ‘What should I say? How can I add value to the candidates?’ and it will come back with things you might not have thought of before. 

Can people outside of TA use generative AI for recruitment?

If I’m a hiring manager and I need to add someone to my team, you can use AI as a recruiter by asking it for 5 to 10 questions to help you refine the role. Chat GPT will ask questions about the role so you don’t even have to input data, and then write a pretty accurate job description. Then you can feed it prompts like ‘Rewrite the job description to make it 30% shorter while keeping most of the information’ etc. 

You can also say ‘I need to hire for this role. Here’s my notes, can you write a job description about it?’ The more context you give the better, so add context to make it very specific, which is more likely to drive a tonne of applicants. Just be straight to the point in a style that flows. 

To hear more about using generative AI in recruitment, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here

Generative AI has been taking the world by storm. Bots like ChatGPT have been revolutionising the way we work, from writing content to creating strategies. On Episode 101 of Talent & Growth we spoke to Tim Sackett, the President at HRU Technical Resources, about how we can use automations to improve the recruitment industry. 

What are the major changes you have seen in the market in the last 12 months, and what should we be preparing for as we move into the new year?

Dynamic, hourly recruiting software has gotten to the forefront with conversational AI. We’ve started to see companies splitting their tech stack and talent acquisition. If you think about traditional applicant tracking systems (ATS), they were designed for people sitting in front of a computer, going through a process to apply to a job through a career site. If you’re an hourly worker, with low to no skills, more than likely, you’re looking at that job on a mobile device. You don’t want to go through all those steps like filling out an application or uploading a resume that you don’t have on your phone. 

I’ve seen a gigantic conversion increase on sites that are using conversational AI. A typical conversion rate is around 10% on a career site, whereas a chatbot can convert 50 to 70% of candidates who are starting the process. Applicant tracking systems aren’t even paid attention to. A lot of companies are waking up and going, “Wait a minute, we hire 1000 people a year. 900 of those are hourly, 100 of them are salaried. Why did we buy technology for the 10% of our hiring, instead of the 90%?” These platforms are on fire because they’re focusing on the early hiring piece. 

I have to ask myself, is the future of recruiting that we don’t need recruiting? For the most part, 90% of your hiring is posting a job, waiting for somebody to apply, and then processing that person through. Within two or three years, I won’t need humans to do any of that. The remaining 10% of hiring is finding and reaching out to people, building the relationship and getting to know your client’s specific requirements. That will be the real recruiting that’s done. 

What changes are you seeing right now in how companies are using AI?

If you think about the future of recruiting, it’s here already. I believe that eventually, most of the conversations or tactical work we do as recruiters will be completely done by AI. Most of our work can be automated. AI can post jobs on your career site, match it to candidates within your talent pool, reach out to them to see if they’re interested and get updated information, put them through a screening assessment, and schedule an interview. That’s the first time a recruiter will have a conversation with the candidate at all, and that’s the future that programs like ChatGPT are offering us. 

There’s a lot of examples of companies that are taking certain parts of their hiring online and automating it. Let’s start with low-skilled / no-skilled hiring. These are the jobs that pay up to $20 an hour, where the screening process is like, “Do you know what this job is? Can you legally work on this job? Have you been convicted of a crime? Are you going to show up on Monday? Okay, the job is yours.” At that point, conversational AI can approach people on your site and say, “Hi, what can I help you with?” They’re built with natural language processing, and it’s still not perfect, but it’s much more robust than it used to be. Its responses sound somewhat human, and they’re able to react to people’s input a lot better. They can talk you through a large part, if not all, of the application process. 

Some companies actually use that same conversational AI  to avoid candidates ghosting them. When somebody accepts an interview, let’s say it’s four or five days out, the bots can start texting that candidate to say “Hey, just talked to the hiring manager. They’re super excited about seeing you on Friday. Do you have any questions?” It’s just a relationship build, which is all automated, but the candidate doesn’t know it. The bots can include a call to action, like “Hey, I forgot to write down the time that I told you to come on Friday. Can you respond with that time?” That checks that they’re still interested. Automation can have a really big impact when you start layering in that level of interactive response.

What impact do you think generative AI has? 

For most of human history, we’ve been labourers. We actually had to physically do work. In the mid to late 90s, there was an advent of the creator economy. We went from labourers to creators. There are still labourers out there, but we can all foresee a future where robotics and AI and automation will take labour off the table. There’s going to be a point where labour just isn’t part of the economic workforce. We have this creative economy, but with the advent of ChatGTP and generative AI the future of employees is changing, because AI will become the creator and humans will transition into narrating. 

To put this in the context of an HR person, let’s say they need to make a little change to how an employee inputs their time to the payroll system. It’s just a tiny field change. The HR person calls the software company, who say that’s a customization, it’s gonna cost $25,000 and take six months. The HR person’s role as a narrator would mean working with the AI and saying “I need to change this field within this pay system so that employees can do this. Can you let me see what that would look like?”, and all of a sudden, it would happen. AI can tell you “By the way, by changing this field, you’re actually affecting a couple of other fields too”. As a HR expert, you’re narrating what you want to change, and AI can make it happen in real time. 

As a recruiter, instead of going out to LinkedIn or Indeed and searching for resumes, you can tell AI “I need a software engineer. I would like them from these three or four companies”, and then the AI can do hours of our work in a matter of seconds. We’re looking at a reduced need for a workforce because people won’t be required for so many tasks. We’re at a tipping point of rich countries not being able to replace their own people because they have a declining population. I think we’re looking at a global shift, not just a trend in the recruitment sector. 

To hear more about how AI is impacting the future of the industry, tune into the Talent & Growth Podcast here