Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Recruitment – An Overview

We are making strides toward a more digital business landscape, with mobile, social media, cloud computing and “big data” transforming the way we work. Since humans have a tendency to resist change, there’s been a lot of scaremongering when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in recruitment. Should we fear machines, or should we instead be embracing this technology? Let’s take a look at what AI means for recruiters, and how it can be leveraged to gain an effective advantage.

What Is Artificial Intelligence In Recruitment?

AI helps to enhance the recruitment process through the automation of certain tasks, particularly those that are laborious or repetitive. For instance, machine learning software – which has the ability to ‘teach’ itself – can be used to auto-screen candidates and rank applications. Mya claims to save recruiters 75% of their time through automating sourcing, screening and scheduling interviews, leaving recruiters the time to focus on qualified candidates and converting hires.

Ultimately, AI can be integrated within any process that involves distinct inputs and outputs, from initial sourcing through to post-offer acceptance engagement/FAQ such as Chatbots.

The Benefits

AI has the potential to accelerate hiring, reduce arduous tasks and boost recruiter productivity. Let’s look at some of the benefits in more detail:

Time Saving
Manual CV screening, particularly volume orientated recruitment, is undoubtedly one of the most time-consuming recruitment tasks. Automation streamlines processes and reduces time-to-hire. By handing over repetitive duties to a machine, recruiters free up valuable time to focus on the needs of their candidates and clients. Of course, reducing time-to-hire will equate to cost savings for your business.

Improve Responsiveness
Workology advised that over half of UK candidates don’t receive any communication from a company after applying for a job. AI can be used to facilitate candidate engagement and improve responsiveness; whether it is reviewing candidate applications/CV’s and ranking them automatically, or using Chatbots (conversational interfaces powered by AI) to communicate with candidates via text message or messaging platforms to confirm or clarify their CV or application.

Attract Top Talent
By improving responsiveness, you are improving the candidate experience, meaning you’re more likely to attract and retain top talent.

At the same time, AI can improve your quality of hire by utilising data to standardise the pairing of candidates’ skills, experience and knowledge with the job requirements. If AI can act as the first line of defence in sifting and matching CVs, your recruiters can focus their time on ensuring selected candidates are the right cultural fit, In theory, you should be able to provide a more reliable service to your clients by better suited candidates; both in soft and hard skills.

The Challenges

Technology is disruptive and always takes time to mature, so we can expect AI to pose a number of challenges that recruiters will need to overcome, such as:

  • AI requires a lot of accurate data to be as effective as its human counterpart, particularly if machine learning is used within the CV/application screening process.
  • Recruiters may be reluctant to utilise the technology, especially if they feel as if they are doing an adequate job of hiring candidates themselves.
  • Machine learning can learn human error, for instance, if bias exists within your recruitment process AI may analyse it as a typical behaviour pattern.
  • There may be concerns that the technology is in its early stages and isn’t yet fully developed, or isn’t particularly user-friendly.

The Impact

There’s no doubt that AI is going to shake-up the industry. Recruiters will need to be more technologically literate but, as a result, will be able to conduct more informed and efficient hiring processes. They will find themselves with more time to spend with candidates, ensuring they select candidates that possess the necessary skills, experience and cultural fit for the roles their are applying for.

AI doesn’t take away from the recruiter – it supports and enhances their role. Artificial intelligence isn’t stealing jobs, it is tool for improving efficiency to better serve your clients’ hiring strategy.

Is your business in the best position to react to new technology? If you thinking about updating your recruitment software, download our 3 step guide.

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How To Write A Job Advert For Millennials

Millennials are the first generation to be brought up in a media-saturated world. These digital natives are better informed than their predecessors, have different needs and a much higher expectation of the companies they choose to work for. Millennials prioritise purpose over profits, valuing socially conscious organisations that foster innovative thinking and invest in their development.

The first point of contact in reaching digital-savvy millennials is the job advert – the bread and butter of recruitment consultants. The formula, or structure, for a successful job ad has changed dramatically; what would have attracted a job seeker five years ago is unlikely to grab the attention of a millennial today.

So, if you want to attract this digital-savvy demographic – which will make up three-quarters of the global workforce by 2025, says Deloitte – here are some recommendations on how to structure and write your job ads for attracting millennials:

Honest and Human

Similar to reading phrases like ‘strong communication skills’ or ‘good problem solver’ in a CV, your job ad is unlikely to excite millennials if it’s packed with buzzwords and empty phrases. Don’t be robotic: rather than copy and pasting a list of duties, describe the skills and personality traits of the ideal candidate.

Paint an honest bigger picture by highlighting meaningful work your company (or clients company) has carried out, as well as any aspects of the job that may appeal to the job seeker’s career goals.

Focus on Learning

Millennials are career-driven and keen to expand their knowledge. As a result, they want to be sure that the company they work for will provide them with the tools and training they need to develop and flourish in their roles.

Your job ad should explain how your company or client is committed to their professional growth from the outset. Create a clear path of progression, so that they know that working for your company could lead to a career full of exciting opportunities.

Discuss Company Culture

Company culture is a big deal for millennials. Research shows that companies with exceptional culture enjoy improved employee satisfaction and lower turnover. In fact, a study cited by SD Worx, found that companies with an outstanding culture outperform other businesses by 202%, So, your job ad needs to demonstrate what makes your company unique – what sets you apart from the rest?

From free breakfast to dress-down days and fitness facilities, list company perks that will appeal to millennials job seekers. Make sure you also showcase the social good of your company – for instance; write about the charitable causes you support. Ultimately, your ad needs to boast about your company and inspire millennials into thinking: “I want to be part of that.”

Make Your Adverts Mobile-First

Smartphones are the device of choice among millennial job seekers, so it’s essential that your company website and jobs pages are optimised for mobile devices. If millennials can’t easily access the ad, they won’t hesitate to move on to the next company. In fact, since the widespread adoption of smartphones, the average mobile user’s attention span is now less than a goldfish.

Want to know how to make your job ads stand out on social media, read our blog.

Sharing your job advert on social media is really important too, given that millennials spend just over six hours a week on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Nielsen reports. As well as letting users know about vacancies, social media allows you to engage directly with prospective candidates, which could better your chances of appealing to them.

Support Text With Visuals

Text-heavy job adverts won’t grab the attention of millennials, so think of ways to incorporate visual elements within your ads. High-quality images, videos and infographics can help you to form deeper connections with millennials – and what’s more, BuzzSumo says that Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement.

In addition, offering millennials the option of submitting video CVs can be a great alternative for your more creative clients.

Do you use video marketing in your agency? Take a read of our blog for some simple tips.

For millennials, first impressions are everything. By creating job adverts which resonate with their values, are visually appealing and shared across the right channels, recruiters stand the very best chance of attracting highly-skilled, talented candidates.

 

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What Is Boolean Search In Recruitment?

Boolean search in recruitment is not a modern concept. In fact, as a recruiter, it is probably something you use everyday without even realising it. The laws of Boolean search were invented by English Mathematician George Boole in The Mathematical Analysis of Logic (1847) and have become a fundamental building block for all digital devices. It is an astonishing thought but, without his laws, Google would never have existed in the way we know it today. That is why Google paid its own special tribute in 2015 to mark Boole’s 200th birthday, demonstrating how his laws work:

Google Boolean Animation

But before losing yourself in the never ending animation, let’s explain what Boolean search is in recruitment and how it is used effectively.

What Is Boolean Search In Recruitment?

Boolean search in recruitment is the act of leveraging large databases, such as your recruitment CRM, LinkedIn, Indeed, or for Google to perform specific searches in order to find relevant candidates quickly. Using Boole’s laws, recruiters can refine their search results in a number of ways which can be particularly effective for finding a range of active and passive candidates for your open vacancies.

Once you have exhausted your standard CV and profile searches, conducting more specific Boolean searches can be a dynamic alternative that may unearth hidden talent that isn’t easily accessible through common search function.

Boolean literate recruiters can perform incredibly complicated search strings to meet your every job requirement. Below is a real life example of a search string constructed to search for a Senior Financial Analyst:

Analy* NEAR Financ* AND (Retail* OR e-commerce OR ecommerce) AND budget* AND Plan* AND forecast* AND risk* AND Excel AND (PowerPoint OR “Power Point” OR Tableau OR SAP) AND (Access OR SQL OR “BO” OR “Business Objects”)

Although this looks complicated, by breaking it down into its individual operators, it only utilises the 6 basic operators in a Boolean search. So what are they?

The 6 Basic Boolean Search Operators For Recruiters

1. AND

The AND operator is used when you want to include two (or multiple) criteria in your Boolean search. The AND operator is generally used to narrow your search results. By inputting a search for Recruitment AND Manager, you are requesting results with both Recruitment and Manager in it.

2. OR

With the OR operator, you are requesting the search you want to see multiple entries in the results, and used to expand your Boolean search results.  So a search for Recruitment OR Manager will return any results containing Recruitment and any results containing Manager. It can be useful when different words to say the same thing, for example, Recruitment AND (Manager OR Consultant OR Agent OR Advisor)

3. NOT

As you can probably estimate, the NOT operator is used to exclude specific requirements. You can also use the minus symbol followed by your unwanted term (without leaving a space between both). An example is:
(Recruitment AND Manager) NOT Consultant
(Recruitment AND Manager) -Consultant

4. Brackets ()

Brackets are used in a very similar way to the rules of the BODMAS acronym that you might still remember from your high school maths lesson. The important rule being that the calculation inside the brackets always comes first. In Boolean search, it is similar in that, the section inside the brackets always takes priority over the other elements.

For example; when you enter Recruitment AND Manager OR Consultant, are you asking the search to prioritise Recruitment AND Manager or Manager OR Consultant? By using brackets, you can easily explain to the search engine how you want the search string to be read. So the search becomes: Recruitment AND (Manager OR Consultant). This search string will return any results with Recruitment Manager and any results with Recruitment Consultant.

5. Quotations “”

Quotations are used to search for an exact phrase. By adding quotations around two or more words, you are telling the search to treat it as one keyword. Therefore a search including “Recruitment Manager” would only return results with that exact phrase in the body of the text. Quotations are only used if you are 100% certain of the exact phrase you’re looking for.

6. Asterisk *

The asterisk function is usually used to widen your search. For example if you wanted to do a search for anything related to Admin, use admin* and the search will return results like; administrator, administration, administer, administered. By inputting the stem of the word with an asterisk afterwards, you’re telling the search to include all words related to that stem.

How To Apply The 6 Basic Boolean Search Operators 

Why not now try and create your own Boolean searches within your recruitment CRM, LinkedIn, job boards like Indeed and Monster or in Google. By practicing and becoming Boolean literate and combining the basic rules of Boolean search, you can perform searches that would otherwise seem impossible, saving you time in searching through thousands of CVs and providing you with more targeted and relevant results.

Now that you know the basics of Boolean search, learn 5 intermediate Boolean search operators to build even better search strings.

 

Are you thinking of investing in new recruitment software for your recruitment agency? Download our free step-by-step buying guide today.

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Google For Jobs & 4 SEO Tips For Recruitment Agencies

Google’s mission statement is, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” And I think we can all agree, it has done a pretty good job so far. It currently handles at least two trillion searches per year and despite Microsoft recently offering to pay people to use Bing, Google is by far the most popular search engine.

And now Google are launching its new jobs search engine, Google for Jobs.

What Is Google For Jobs?

  • Google for Jobs, announced at Google’s I/O developer conference in Mountain View, CA, will use machine learning to collect and organize millions of job postings from across the internet to better connect employers and job seekers.
  • CEO Sundar Pichai explained that “while job seekers may be looking for openings right next door – there’s a big disconnect.” Google for Jobs aims to resolve this.
  • Candidates will be able to refine their search by job title, category or type, full or part-time, location and date posted.
  • Google for Jobs will use machine learning and AI to group related job listings so a search for “sales assistant” will return results including retail associate, thus, making it a more efficient candidate experience.
  • There will be a “one click to apply” option so candidates will be able to apply directly on the platform.
  • Rather than competing, Google for Jobs will initially partner with LinkedIn, Facebook, Careerbuilder, Monster, Glassdoor, and other services.
  • The search result will appear at the top of the page as a rich snippet, as shown in the example below:

Google for Jobs Test Sample

At the moment there is a lot of speculation surrounding how much the new search feature will impact the recruitment industry but two things are clear:

  1. The search volume i.e. the need is there – 30% of all Google searches are job related (that’s a huge 300bn a year)
  2. Google has the resources to make this a resounding success

So, while traditional job boards are anxiously waiting to see what the full impact of Google for Jobs will be, recruitment agencies can safely assume that if search engine optimisation (SEO) wasn’t already a priority for their own websites/job boards, it is now.

Whether Google for Jobs reaches its full potential or not, having an optimised website and, in particular, job pages is imperative. Here’s 4 SEO tips to make sure you’re making it easy for Google and, therefore, your candidates to find your website and posted job ads:

The Top 4 Recruitment Agency Website SEO Tips

1. Speed

The speed of your website is crucial to your overall ranking on Google and this will affect everything from blog pages to job listings. If you want to get a clear picture of how your website is performing on desktop and mobile, use Google’s free to use online tool, PageSpeed Insights. By inserting your website URL (e.g. http://www.recruitmentcompany.co.uk), PageSpeed Insights performs a basic analysis of how fast your website is, and returns a neat score out of 100 and gives you recommendations to resolve these issues.

If your website scores below 80/100, you should give these recommendations to your web developer to improve your website as soon as possible. By doing so, you will almost certainly see an increase in organic traffic and you’ll be prepared for when Google for Jobs impacts the market.

NB: Organic traffic is visitors who come to your website via a search engine. So this won’t include paid advertising, social media, direct or any other method.

2. Content

Content for search engines

Google has become adept at recognising what topic a piece of content is about and just like Google for Jobs is proposing, it uses machine learning to group together related searches to better answer a search query. However, it still relies heavily on keywords so make sure your content, including your job post listings, includes appropriate keywords in the URL, title, heading and body of the content to clearly indicate to Google what this content is addressing.

To rank more highly, think about the exact phrase or “longtail keyword” that your candidates will use when searching for jobs or job advice. Although the search volume will be lower for exact phrases, the intent will also be higher, giving it a higher chance of converting into an application.

Content for users

Having said this, your content also needs to be user friendly so packing it full of keywords is not the answer. To have a successful job advert that people apply to, it needs to be engaging as well as hitting keywords. If you do manage to create job adverts that earn backlinks from credible sources, this will send another indicator to Google that your job listings are valuable and this should affect your ranking.

NB: Backlinks are when another website directly links to your website. The more credible the website, the more seriously Google will consider the backlink.

3. Optimise For Mobile

We all recognise the importance of mobile for recruitment and no doubt we’ve seen the statistics to back it up. What you may not realise is that Google will actively penalise websites for not being optimised for mobile. By having a look at the score and recommendations on Google Pagespeed Insights for mobile, you can see the major pitfalls of how Google views your website’s mobile experience.

This may be another job for your web developer but, with the growing millennial workforce, a mobile first strategy is something to take advantage of sooner rather than later.

4. Job Advert Schema

We cannot be certain how Google for Jobs will rank job listings but, as with its normal search function, it is likely to reward content that is structured and detailed for search engines. Schema is the code that allows Google to easily categorise the context of information primarily surrounding people, locations, events etc. For example, you can tell Google that Central Manchester relates to the job you’re advertising for – not just a location in the North of England.

 

Google for Jobs could revolutionise the way in which candidates search, view and apply for jobs so it’s time to make sure your website is optimised and indicating to Google, at every opportunity, that you have a trusted and valuable website. By adapting to new technology quickly, your recruitment agency can gain the competitive advantage.

With new technology on the rise, it might be time to invest in new recruitment software. But, before you make that decision, download our 3 step guide.

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6 Signs You Need New Recruitment Software

We’ve all had that same feeling coming out of a Quarterly Review Meeting when placements are seeming to stagnate and the same old reasons arise such as:

“It’s such a candidate driven market at the moment”
“Maybe it’s Brexit worries”
“It’s just that time of year”

But is that really the answer? Granted, recruitment does happen in cycles and these reasons might be part of the problem but, sooner or later, you may begin to question whether the technology you have is up to the challenge of a competitive market. But how to tell?

Here’s 6 signs for identifying whether you need new recruitment software.

1. Your consultants complain about how much time they waste on admin tasks

As a recruiter, time is precious. So it’s no surprise that they want to spend the majority of it as efficiently as possible, whether it’s meeting prospective clients or preparing candidates for an upcoming interview. For this to happen, you need an easy-to-use recruitment software that can streamline administrative processes and support consultants’ daily activities. Ask your recruiters how much time in a week they devote to recruitment and administration respectively and record the average.

2. You keep getting caught out on compliance

The consequences of not effectively ensure all your temporary workers compliance is completed can be catastrophic. For example, temporary recruitment for nurses requires an extensive amount of documents and candidates must be 100% compliant before they begin any employment, for obvious reasons. Once your recruitment software is configured correctly, it will provide you with a better tool to ensure your temporary candidates get compliant and remain compliant, taking the responsibility away from manual tracking and reducing the risk of mistakes or candidates working and not being fully compliant.

3. Recruitment consultants are using Excel to recruit

Excel is a fantastic resource in its own right for myriad reasons but, by recording data outside of your recruitment CRM, your recruitment consultants can, in effect, render the searching, reporting and analysis functions of your software ineffective. The most common reasons why this happens are:

  • Consultants haven’t had adequate training to use the software
  • Consultants don’t recognise the importance of storing all of your data in one system
  • Your recruitment software isn’t configured correctly

Two of these reasons are relatively simple to fix. However, if your software isn’t configured correctly, recruiters will always find a way to speed up their daily processes in an effort to hit their targets, even if that means bypassing the software. If this is happening with more than one recruitment consultant, its time to review your software’s configuration / functionality.

4. The majority of your placements are “reactive recruitment”

By relying on recruitment software solely as a database, you cannot effectively track and nurture passive candidates – making your primary source of recruitment activity reactive. This usually equates to a desperate rush on job boards and LinkedIn to see how quickly new candidates can be found, registered and presented to the client. With effective recruitment software, you should be able to search your existing talent pools and use your recruitment CRM as the first port of call for any new vacancy. These candidates are already registered and trust your agency to be proactive with discussing roles with them. This not only has the advantage of being quicker but also allows you to provide a slicker candidate experience.

5. Your CRM is a dusty library rather than a bustling resource

As well as aiding your consultants with speed-of-hire, your recruitment CRM should contribute as a valuable resource for tracking, monitoring and nurturing client relationships. If your recruitment consultants only use the software as a digital filing cabinet for storing information, either your team isn’t maximising its functionality or it is time to review whether your current solution is right for you.

6.You don’t have a clear picture of how your team is performing

If your data isn’t clean or your recruitment software isn’t being used correctly, the searching and reporting tools will also be fruitless. If you can’t see how your team is performing, it is impossible to identify trends within your agency and trends within your sector. If you cannot benefit from your recruitment software, you either need to change your processes or recognise whether your current solution is the right fit for your business model.

Thinking about investing in new recruitment software? Download our complete guide and feel prepared to make the right decision.

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