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How Generative AI Has Already Changed Hiring for Talent and Employers

For years, quality candidates were locked out of jobs for a host of reasons ranging from deficiencies in the hiring software that culled the first round of selections from CVs through to the first round of recruiter interviews.
Candice Wu

Many applicants were also unwilling to play the game of keyword packing their CVs in order to make it through an obviously broken system. The next round of software solutions will use AI, and solve this disconnect in the hiring process.

While software solutions like Jobscan and SkillSyncer fed hiring managers precisely what they wanted to hear, most of us on the inside of the recruitment process were well aware that the recruitment industry needed to find a better way forward. Until now, both companies and talent were operating at a disadvantage as a result.

For many qualified candidates, getting to that first interview at their dream job often proved to be elusive and puzzling. Others knew the benefits of keyword packing and simply opted out on principle.

Qualified talent falling by the wayside is not a small problem, especially in high skill and technical positions where qualified applicants were already scarce. One survey suggested 75% of applicants didn’t even make it past ATS (Applicant Tracking System), meaning no set of non-computerized eyeballs ever scanned your perfectly human and much labored over resume let alone reviewed your years of expertise. This practice is known as resume parsing, an early application of rudimentary AI.

To put it plainly, the system wasn’t subjectively imperfect. It was objectively broken.

However in the intervening years, machine learning and artificial intelligence  have not only grown more prevalent, but their modes of use in hiring have become more sophisticated. There is hope after all.

AI is Everywhere – and it Has Been – You Just May Not Have Known About It

A large portion of fortune 500 companies have already implemented AI recruiting tools in some capacity. With the American public becoming increasingly attuned to the use of AI in their daily lives, most Americans have remained unaware of even rudimentary AI practices as a blocker in the essential early stages of the hiring process.

In fact, according to a Pew Research Center poll published in April 2023, only thirty-nine percent (39%)  of the American workforce has heard of AI’s implementation when applying for a job. It’s a staggering number given the knowledge that – yes, although rudimentary software like ATS has been leaving three quarters of the workforce in the proverbial waste bin – most Americans are still operating under the preconception that their resumes will at some point be reviewed (however briefly) by a sentient individual.

So in order to avail these false notions, it’s important that we get caught up to the present day. First and foremost, let’s take a look at the ways in in which AI is used throughout the hiring process:

  • Targeted Ads: Algorithms and machine learning can help companies determine where they should advertise certain job postings and to whom. On the talent side, it might serve you ads tailored to your online profile or search history. (Think: recommended jobs on LinkedIn or Indeed.)
  • Recruitment: Companies, often with the help of third-party vendors, can use AI to source candidates before they even catch wind of a job opening — by indexing social media, for example. If you’ve ever posted your resume on a major job board, you may have opened up your information for other softwares to use and get in touch with you and can also be leveraged by recruiters to write personalized outreach messages quickly.
  • Ad Copy: Generative AI can help companies craft job postings with minimal effort. LinkedIn recently made this available to organizations that use its platform.
  • After you apply: AI can assist in screening resumes or scanning cover letters for keywords to whittle down a hiring manager’s pile (again, this is known as resume parsing). Some softwares may go a step further and use predictive analytics to determine said candidate’s potential in a role or team against certain criteria (Candidate Ranking) or even to predictively assess their productivity against current top performing employees.
  • Interview Scheduling: AI can construct models that can be used to schedule interviews with candidates, which helps recruiters save time and ensure that interviews are scheduled efficiently.
  • Candidate Communication: Automated messages can be distributed to candidates, such as confirmation emails and interview reminders. While this tends to feel impersonal, it can actually help recruiters improve communication with candidates and keep them updated on the hiring process.
  • During the interview: Some companies might use AI to conduct voice or facial analysis or even prompt games to gauge a candidates’ soft skills, personality traits and interpersonal skills.
  • In the candidate experience: Generative AI is also increasingly being used to improve communication between candidates and employers throughout the hiring process. Candidates might be able to ask questions about a role or company via chatbot, receive automated email, or be privy to SMS notifications based on the hiring stage they’re currently in.

Infiltrating nearly every aspect of digital hiring practices, Generative AI has already arrived and its assessment of not only the language modeling on your resume but also your soft skills – one’s ability to process information, think critically, and problem solve on the fly – will be the next iterative stage of growth in this field.

“The future is already here, just not evenly distributed.”

In fiction writer William Gibson’s novel, The Difference Engine, written in conjunction with author Bruce Sterling, Gibson imagines an alternate Victorian Britain in which profound technological and social change occurs due to the real life inventor Charles Babbage building a mechanical computer that forever alters the course of human history and its relationship to the industrial era.

While Gibson posits a world in which the modern day computer is ushered in at the height of the industrial revolution thereby causing great social change, one has to wonder how Gibson would perceive the recent advancements in Generative AI and its potential to level the economic playing field, creating greater parity and equity in the world’s hiring practices.

Research shows that among the thirty-nine percent of job candidates who are aware of AI’s use during the interview process, only forty-seven percent (47%) of that group believes that AI can do a better job of treating applicants more fairly than a human being during the initial phases of hiring. Compare that with only fifteen percent (15%) of applicants believing humans can assess talent by a common standard. That doesn’t engender much faith in the status quo.

Clearly, there is an openness to changing the gatekeeping practices that exist in applying for a job; all cynicism aside, companies do in fact want the best possible talent for every opening.

Is AI the Solution to Counter Biases in Hiring Practices?

There has been an erosion of trust and much debate about whether AI offers the potential to limit biases.

There are countless studies that show more diverse teams drive better business outcomes. Conversely, the language models that drive AI ride atop the content available to them online, there are concerns that AI is being trained to mimic our unconscious biases.

Pew Research Center unsurprisingly demonstrates that nearly eight in ten American adults say racial and ethnic bias is a problem in hiring.

However, when pressed if AI should function as the ultimate arbiter of a specific job hire, the overwhelming majority of individuals prefer a human to have final say over who will be joining the rest of us on a team–with seventy percent opposing AI being the ultimate decider to only seven percent favoring. This is very much our point of view at Worky. The human touch that typically comes late in the hiring process is still very important. In fact, we believe that this same person should stay engaged throughout the onboarding process, and sometimes longer.

What does this all mean?

AI is undoubtedly here to stay. However, what remains in question is the efficacy and practicalities in which it will function as an invaluable resource of the hiring process moving forward.

As Fast Company reported earlier this year, there are a multitude of applications for Generative AI to assess an employees’ soft skills throughout the hiring process:

  • Scoring Digital Interviews: Through the use of language modeling, advances in AI have enabled platforms like Zoom to include “algorithmic scoring” in which candidates are compared to top-performing employees, and their verbal and non-verbal communication can be examined.
  • Gamifying Assessments: Although one of the best indicators of a candidate’s success, psychological assessments were traditionally adopted only by a small proportion of workers due to their length, complexity, and poor candidate experience. AI has confronted these issues by dramatically shortening assessment time. New variants have also included game-like features which significantly increase adoption rates and make hiring more inclusive. 
  • Investigating Company Data: AI has enabled employers to examine existing organizational data on employees, managers, and teams. For example, AI can mine email context and content data, map the social networks (informal social dynamics) of teams and organizations, and examine the connection between what employees do; this includes a detailed account of how they work, and compute valuable organizational outcomes. AI can improve organizations’ ability to understand what “good” looks like, making internal promotions and external hiring more data-driven. 
  • Mining the Footprint: Controversial and still uncommon is the application of AI to scrape external sources of information about candidates such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube. Although most people find this unsettling, if not somewhat Orwellian, algorithms can only mine publicly available data just like they do for marketers and advertisers.

At a minimum, advances in AI will help correct for the failures of the last decade around CV assessment. As our language models improve, and the underlying neural networks that make up our AI hiring solutions are trained on more comprehensive data – including follow on data about a candidate’s job performance – AI will improve hiring outcomes over time, especially at firms like Worky where we stay involved after onboarding to ensure fit and course correct as needed.

In short, one of the other key data components that will make AI far better in the years ahead is closing the loop and teaching the AI when a candidate worked out and when they did not. This will make AI’s predictive capabilities much stronger in the not too distant future.

Implementation Will Lead To Democratization

Let’s revisit William Gibson’s vision in his masterwork, The Difference Engine, if only for a moment. Although the author may have been envisioning a world in which a transformative, computerized technology disrupts the fabric of 19th Century society with profound ripple effects on the future, we should remember that he was writing from the perspective of the early 1990s.

In other words, he was crafting his work of fiction from an enlightened point of view. He had hindsight in his favor. When we’re caught in periods of inflection, it’s essential to understand Gibson’s underlying principle, “The future is already here, just not evenly distributed.”

Generative AI may not be distributed evenly among all industries yet either, but that is only because we are at the precipice of its influence as a tool for democratized change in the job hiring process and beyond.

While most individuals still associate the proliferation of software positions in AI to the tech industry and Silicon Valley, the development of these cutting edge AI technologies has ironically spawned its own far-reaching hiring frenzy, fueling fortune 500 companies to bolster their departments with their own in-house AI specialists.

This AI job hiring spree is one that pervades industries from international consulting firms such as BCG and Bain to healthcare conglomerates like Kaiser Permanente. AI has spawned its own flourishing and high paying job market in order for companies to keep pace with competition, and almost all these major economic players implement AI technologies throughout the hiring process.

With traditional industries leading the way, the application of AI will not only become more commonplace among everyday requirements on the job, but it will also help democratize the hiring practices across a wide reaching landscape of industry sectors.

The days of your CV being emailed to job recruiters and discarded into the digital abyss are rapidly evolving. Artificial Intelligence has already begun to usher in a new paradigm for discerning talent. Innovative companies will need to use a hybrid of methods and tactics to land top level applicants.

Worky offers human solutions in guiding your company through the tools of a rapidly evolving job hiring landscape – from early stages through the onboarding process. We can also help move the guidelines of each job description, adjusting for changes in strategy and in order to pull in the best available talent while ensuring that we cover all of the needed skill sets and experience levels.

The future is already here. It’s our job to get you up to speed.

Software Engineering