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

Katrina Collier is on a mission to end the collaboration chaos that ruins recruitment and candidate experience. And she joined us on episode 66 of the Talent & Growth Podcast to discuss how you can be a robot-proof recruiter. 

In this episode we cover how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, The inspiration behind The Robot-Proof Recruiter and tips for becoming an authentic voice in your market. We’ve highlighted these tips for you below. 

What are your tips for becoming an authentic voice in your market? 

I am the same when you meet me as I am online so could use that buzzword ‘authenticity’. You need to be genuine, be yourself but also don’t make it about you. Whether it’s your LinkedIn, newsletter on a blog or podcast- share updates that help and ensure that you are adding value to the industry. Rather than a recruiter creating a post to moan that somebody’s written their CV in a ridiculous font – why not write a post for your top three tips for writing a CV. That way, you are adding value, rather than being perceived as being judgemental and critical which I see going on far too much.  

Another enormous part that is often overlooked is this issue of ghosting clients. If you want to come across as a valuable recruiter, just doing that alone is enough to build a brilliant reputation. You may not be well known on social media, but you’ll be known in your market as a person that’s reliable, authentic and genuinely cares. Be aware that 84% of people who are ghosted by a recruiter feel down or depressed so we need to think carefully about the impact that we make as recruiters. You should always let a candidate know where they are in the process and remember that even giving them no news is giving them news. 

Making sure candidates have a good experience, whatever happens, is such a key thing. I very rarely get negativity when I tell someone they haven’t got the job as I can tell them why or what happened and they are grateful. It’s very important, like you have said about considering the mental health aspect of it which I haven’t heard discussed before.  

There are a couple of campaigns that are currently going on relating to the ‘circle back’ initiative the ‘end ghosting report’  carried out by Tripad. We need to remember that throughout the process how we feel is so different to how our candidates may be feeling. I recently came across a spreadsheet that someone had completed where they had written all of the applications they’d made and also written down every time they didn’t hear back from an application. I found this really eye opening. It’s important to remember that there is a human being behind every single email, call, text and you need to remember to go back to them. I know it’s hard but there is technology that can help with that now.  

Listen to more from this episode, just click here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

Joining us for episode 44 of Talent & Growth was Chad Sowash one half of HR’s most dangerous podcast, Chad & Cheese. 

In the episode we covered what should our tech stack look like for hiring, what sort of recruitment marketing strategies show we be focusing on and the title for this blog, how should our tech stack affect the candidate experience, read on to find out what Chad had to say on the matter. 

Let’s say that we’ve got our tech stack correct. How should this affect the candidate experience? 

First and foremost, it should be about the candidate experience, then the recruiter experience. It’s harder today, at least it is here in the US, to find recruiters than it is to find software developers. This has led to recruiters now being pickier about the different types of positions that they take, because they can. No recruiter wants to be in a position where they have 30,000 tabs open and completing an endless list of menial tasks; they want to be able to be more human.  

Generally, recruiters get into the sector because they like people and want to be able to help people find the next job or that sought after career that really pushes them forward. Recruiters care. But, it’s hard to care when you don’t have enough time to personally deal with the candidate and make connections.  

So, at the very least, it should be incredibly easy for a candidate to give you their information. Question whether you still need clients to create an account. It’s no longer 1999 and people make purchases online every day as a “guest” to avoid inputting information to create an account. Your candidates will be giving you their information anyway through uploading their resume or CV. Make this initial process as painless as possible.  

Next, consider the experience of the recruiter. We begin to talk about scale and have individuals voicing concerns that they will have too many candidates. That is, once again, why you should be imploding your current process and taking a look at new tech stack. If the tech is right, it should be able to ask the right questions (but not too many) to push out the individuals who do not meet the requirements, then prospectively ask them if they want to apply for something where they do meet the requirements.  

But at this point we are still speaking in linear terms – talking about one job, one application process, one recruiter. But that’s the wrong way of looking at things. All of these candidates are being thrown into a black hole; it is our job to focus on their experience and maybe not getting them the job that they initially applied for, but helping them to discover what other opportunities they could be an ideal applicant for. We help them to see the many specks of light that are out there. Looking at it from the recruiter side, we again focus on the recruiter experience. You need to ensure that you are giving them something where they can be more human and do what they really yearn to do- help people. If you’re not allowing them to do this, you could lose them. 

If you’d like to hear more from Chad you can check out the full episode here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.