As recruiting departments face growing pressure to do more with less, more are turning to emerging technologies like AI and machine learning (ML) to save time and increase hire quality.
One area where these technologies have the potential to be game-changing is talent rediscovery. This is where recruiters delve into their Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to see whether previous applicants might be suitable for newly available roles helping them fill the role significantly faster while gaining more value from the time and money they’ve already spent on sourcing and screening resumes.
Why talent rediscovery matters
The ability to resurface prior high-potential candidates is an exciting prospect for recruiters who are often flooded with applications within minutes of posting a job ad. According to Gartner’s latest Recruiting Efficiency Survey, the task of screening these resumes is made more difficult due to an average 72% of new applications being considered low-to-average quality. Additionally for high volume roles, Ideal found that an average 65% of resumes received end up completely ignored.
In principle, modern ATS systems should be able to free recruiters from revisiting previously screened CVs. Traditional ATS software, however, doesn’t always offer a simple approach to search through large numbers of existing resumes quickly and accurately. This means that recruiters often end up sitting on a goldmine of potential candidates who have been completely overlooked.
But the tide is now turning, thanks to the emergence of a new generation of AI-powered HR tools that can automatically find applicants in an ATS who are suitable for open positions.
Simon Townsend, Optimisation Manager for talent and human capital management company Navital Group, says his firm has saved many hours by sourcing candidates with the help of such technology and believes candidate rediscovery should form the basis of any recruitment strategy.
“Anyone who’s shown interest in your brand, whether they were shortlisted or not, is someone you want to be talking to in future. Basically, they represent the quickest and easiest path to finding people who already want to work with you.”
Benefits of AI-assisted talent rediscovery
A standard ATS uses basic semantic searches to screen and match resumes in a recruiter’s database against current job openings. This can result in unsuitable resumes being chosen simply because the applicant filled them with the right keywords; or suitable ones being missed because the search criteria were too specific. Another big limitation is that these systems can’t learn and improve their matching ability over time.
Talent rediscovery software, however, integrates with the existing ATS, adding a layer of intelligent sourcing to its capabilities.
Hiring faster and better
A popular rediscovery tool is Hiretual, which Townsend has found to be a great productivity booster by improving both the speed and quality of rediscovery.
“It sits on top of your resume database and updates candidate profiles by going to the web to gather the latest information on them from public sources such as LinkedIn and Facebook, using a machine learning approach. It will then match this updated information with the new role, and say: ‘here are my top 20 candidates, should I reach out to them?’”
Improving candidate engagement and experience
“AI can also play a role in making the candidate experience more engaging”, says Townsend.
Popular rediscovery tool, SmashFly, integrates with candidate relationship management (CRM) software and improves rediscovery through the use of automated email and text campaigns which contain personalised job recommendations and content telling the company’s story.
Townsend says the best person for the job may already be working for your company. “Keep in mind that internal talent can be rediscovered using the same candidate matching technologies, potentially saving you even more time spent on sourcing activities.”
An example is Clinch, which helps to drive internal mobility by automatically keeping employees up-to-date with new opportunities and relevant blog posts.
Whether they are internal or external, talent rediscovery can be a hugely effective way to engage with those passive candidates who are open to new career opportunities, whilst not actively job hunting.
Talent rediscovery challenges: removing human biases
One of the biggest challenges of talent rediscovery is the human factor, says Townsend.
AI algorithms used in talent rediscovery tools are trained using historical data from previous recruiting decisions, so they risk perpetuating the human biases, including unconscious biases, that may be embedded in a company’s recruitment processes.
Having the software bypass potentially sensitive data from candidate profiles, such as age, gender or address, can help to prevent the replication of these biases.
“For example, the automated writing assistant, Textio, can help with non-gendered language. Another tool I find really useful is Crystal Knows, which can tell you a person’s personality based on their online profile, allowing you to optimise your messages to them for better results.”
“There are rediscovery tools out there right now that can save companies hours in their recruitment activities. It’s just a matter of how much you want to improve the way you do things and putting the systems and processes in place that will help you get there.”