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One of the things that we like to think about when we think about AI is it provides a fair, unbiased mechanism for candidates to be assessed.
We think about going down to a local store or an office and filling out an application, a call, and going in for an interview. That picture is just not feasible today.
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we help HR and business leaders embrace joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting, an HR consulting practice. Joining me is my co-host and dear friend JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink and Powered by Purple Ink, a professional network I’m part of.
Our topic today is AI recruiting trends. We want to explore the use of artificial intelligence tools that companies use to find qualified candidates faster and trends that are emerging in this space. Three years ago, we launched an episode of this show entitled “AI in Recruiting,” and we received lots of feedback from listeners that they wanted to hear more. Well, the world has changed dramatically in the last three years, and finding the right talent is harder now than it ever has been. And what we really recognize is that there’s not enough talent acquisition professionals to really carry the load, so we think are using artificial intelligence is something that we should all at least be exploring.
Yes, I’m excited to learn more about this today, too. I was fascinated when we talked about it a few years ago, and I feel like it’s a whole new world again.
Exactly. So our guest today to help us navigate this whole new world is Anthony Reynolds and Lindsey Zuloaga. Anthony Reynolds is the CEO of HireVue, and Lindsey is the Chief Data Scientist at HireVue. Anthony and Lindsey, we’re so glad that you’re here. Our first question for you today is – What are the most common AI tools companies are using in their talent acquisition efforts today?
Thank you, Susan. Thank you for having us. And I’ll start. First of all, I think increasing candidate volume at the top of the funnel and speeding up time to fill are two of the most important things that companies are looking at today, and that goes across industry. When you think about HireVue, we’ve had a very strong history and really invented the market space around video-based interviewing and using AI in the video-based interviewing and assessments. But I think a very strong inflection point was in 2020, during COVID, and this idea that video interviewing has really become a mainstay for any organization in their hiring practices. And we like to think about it in terms of our segmentation of early grads and internships, wage earners, and hourly employees, and then professional employees. And so we see the use across all these different segments, from a video- and assessment-based, all powered by AI.
You talked about speed there. What are some of the ways that you think AI tools enable companies to find qualified candidates faster?
Well, I think it starts with the structured interview process in helping find qualified candidates. It’s a competency-based model. And one of the things that we like to think about when we think about AI is it provides a fair, unbiased mechanism for candidates to be assessed, both through video-based interviewing, on-demand-based interviewing, as well as our assessments. And it really enables that consistency when you set a set of job competencies that can be used consistently across the qualified candidates. And it’s just a much more efficient way to move candidates through a process, especially when you’re an organization that’s processing sometimes tens… tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of candidates as we have in some of our customers, as they look for applicants to fill their early, new grad as well as internship programs.
I love having that structured process. And again, you mentioned about AI taking some of the… I forget what word you said, but judgment or discrimination out of it…
Fair, unbiased. Yeah.
Yeah, unbiased. That was the word you used. And because I think we’re always telling our clients, like, “You gotta move quickly. You gotta move quickly,” and then they’ll… they don’t want to do much and they just want to hire the first warm body and then we’re like, “Well, you gotta take more time than that.”
It’s finding that sweet spot of moving quickly but still going through a structured process, I think.
So what are some of the latest trends in AI hiring tools? What are the things you’re seeing? Obviously, the video interviews, the one-way interviews where people are assessing themselves, but what are some other things you’re seeing?
A lot of it has to do with the way that you engage with candidates, right? And I gave the example of one of the segments, and if you think of early careers, or new grads, or internships, and you think about the demographic of students coming out of college and universities, when you engage them in an opportunity, previously, you would have done that via email and tried to set up and schedule interviews and etc. over email. Well, that… that no longer works, because this demographic of people, frankly, doesn’t use email. Right? So we… one of the big trends we’ve seen is engaging the candidates is through chat and text, and enabling our entire platform so that interaction for the candidate, both when they’re searching for jobs, as well as when they’re trying to schedule interviews, as well as interacting with the company, and even once they’ve started with an organization, from when they accept that job offer to when they start… What are all the things they need to do from an onboarding process? So the biggest trend that I’ve seen as of late is really on how the candidates are able to engage with an organization. And as a vendor to all these organizations, it has been the innovation around us… around for us to be able to chat and text enable our entire platform.
So important. I was seeing a statistic recently that of course, so many employers have moved to email as opposed to ever trying to call or send letters or anything like that from the Dark Ages. But now people are so – especially the younger generations – so inundated with email they rarely, if ever, look at it. Maybe every two to three days, they may scan them, but if you’re going to really want to communicate with somebody it’s got to be by text. Doesn’t mean they’re going to respond to you, but it means they’re probably going to see it.
Yeah, and what we find is in those certain demographics and segments, you know, they don’t even use email. Right? The open rates in correspondence are less than 1%. And we have customers, when we do some A/B testing, an email enabled solution might have open rates with the candidates of 1%. When we turn on a text and chat enablement, we see engagement rates in the 60 to 70%, because that’s the way they want to communicate. And so for us, it’s really understanding the personas of the candidates and how we can engage with them.
I bet the voicemail open rate is even lower.
I know I’m always leaving my kids voicemails…
…and they’re like, “Mom, nobody listens to voicemails anymore.” And I said, “But you can listen to your mother’s!” Like…
Well, now they transcribe those for you, so it should be easier.
That’s right. [Laughs]
There you go, you’re right, Lindsey.
That’s exactly right. So… And what are the benefits of tech solutions, like assessments, for example, versus just reviewing traditional resumes followed by in-person or virtual interviews?
Yeah, I think even going further back from what Anthony said, when a lot of us think of traditional hiring, we think about going down to a local store or an office and filling out an application, getting in a call – a call and going in for an interview. That’s just… that picture is just not feasible today, or for even the last couple of decades, because we have this volume problem of hundreds or thousands of applications for every job. So it means that typically, you know, without new technologies, applicants are just getting kind of randomly ignored or selected or a lot of biases come into play. Biases in hiring are pretty well documented and they’ve been studied quite a lot. And there are a lot of problems also with tools that were introduced to kind of deal with this volume problem initially, things like keyword search in resumes, which a lot of candidates know kind of how to game that, and there’s… there’s a whole area of figuring out how to get around these resume screeners and things like that. So I think, you know, using video interviewing and assessments not only allows for consistency, like Anthony said, but it’s also… it allows us as the people who look at the data to really closely monitor how various groups are performing – demographic groups – and ensure that we uphold the standards and guidelines that have been set out in the assessment space for decades. So it’s a new methodology, but the same standards and laws apply from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and from the Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology. These are people that have been thinking about pre-hire assessments for decades. So, you know, it’s important that the science comes into play, that we test our algorithms and we validate them, look for bias during the development stage, and also, we’re able to do that on an ongoing basis, so that we can intervene and mitigate if bias does creep in, which is something that’s impossible to do when humans are making the judgment.
That makes sense. And really, I guess, to piggyback on that, a lot of the things you talked about, it’s really about how you’re approaching the ethical development of AI. Anything else in that arena that you think’s important for our listeners to understand when you’re thinking about creating a new assessment or a new approach? Anything else, any other factors that you’ve taken into account? I’m sure you get a lot of pressure from businesses, because they want the very best talent and they think that whatever their profile is is so unique. But how do you challenge that? How do you approach it in the most ethical way?
Several years ago, we laid out our principles that kind of guide our decisions and how we think about developing our products. A lot of that is asking how technology affects people and trying to look at it from many different perspectives. You know, it’s easy for us to imagine our customer’s perspective, but their candidates are important to them, as well, so there’s all these people that play a role in… in the hiring process, and thinking about where each of them is coming from and what kind of risks or concerns they might have. We… you know, our development process is, like I said, very much based in IO psychology, science that’s been around for a long time. We need to ask relevant questions that measure competencies that are important for that particular job. So there’s always, you know, kind of a tweaking of specifically what we’re looking for in this case and not just using one algorithm for everyone. Obviously, every job is different. So we’re always performing research, we’re always looking to improve and understand more. And then lastly, I think something that’s really important is to just get the weigh-in from other people. So we collaborate a lot with third parties, legislative bodies, researchers, activists, etc. to just get feedback on our approach and bounce ideas off of people who are experts in the space to make sure we’re… we’re doing things right.
And any ideas or suggestions, best practices that you might share with our listeners about transparency in what they’re looking for or what they’re trying to accomplish?
We have a lot of experience here, because we… we learned a long time ago that kind of keeping things close to the vest to protect our IP just wasn’t good business for us. We’ve been at the forefront of kind of pioneering this space, so if we aren’t super transparent about what we’re doing, people often assume the worst. And we’ve had some experiences with that in the past. So over time, I think we just opened up more and more. And we’ve chosen to engage in several third party audits. We actually just recently released an explainability statement – we worked with a third party on that – to just walk through in… in detail how our API works, so that anyone who’s interested – customers, candidates, the public – can understand what we’re doing. And that’s available on our website. So I think, you know, it’s always been a push towards more and more transparency. And I’m really, really proud of where we’re at with that.
So I haven’t heard that before. Explainability document or policy, did you call it?
Yeah, statement, we call it an explainability statement. We worked with a group in the UK who’s working with AI in many different areas to kind of build this out. And some of it is important, or will be probably important, legally as well, when we have, you know, candidates who want to understand why they got the score that they got and understand how the system works. So we’re seeing that pop up in Europe, but also in many different states in the US have kind of, you know, legislation around… around accountability and transparency and kind of having that ready for when people, you know, question the process that they went through. We want it to be really clear, you know, what were we looking at, like, there’s a really big difference between, you know, saying we’re just feeding raw video into some black box and we have no idea what it’s doing versus here’s what we’re measuring, and we’re looking at your language, and here’s how we train our model, and this is what it’s predicting. Often that… that is… that is hugely valuable to people and kind of the difference between those two scenarios, right?
Absolutely. So being that I’m in Indiana, next door is the state of Illinois, and of course, they got a lot of press over their Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act that went into effect back in 2020. To my knowledge, that was like the first big one. But are there other things happening at the federal level? Or is everything really, as you said, you’ve got some stuff happening in the UK and the various states? What is happening on the landscape?
Yeah, I mean, I think Illinois was one of the first states to bring in regulation. And first off, I’d like to say, you know, HireVue welcomes this government guidance around the use of all hiring technology, as it encourages transparency. As Lindsey mentioned, there are other things going on in New York as well as California. But one of the things we’ve chosen to do at HireVue is really lead from the front, and in doing that we created, as Lindsey mentioned, this AI explainability statement. And essentially what it is, is a 30 page white paper that really details how we create, train our AI models so that people understand and we provide that clarity and visibility. And it’s all in the spirit of openness. It’s all in the spirit of making the process fair, unbiased, and we always think about it in doing it for good, right? And so when you think about HireVue and how we’re transforming and democratizing hiring and how we use AI, it is with those principles in mind. The openness, the fairness, the unbiased, as well as, you know, always thinking about how we do this from a perspective of good. Lindsey, I don’t know if you want to share anything else related to this. But…
Yeah, I think to your question about… We don’t see anything in the near future coming from the federal level. We actually hope there would be something, because it would be a lot easier to keep track of. But so far, it looks like the states are going to be creating their own laws around this, so we kind of have to keep up, and we want to be a part of the conversation. Obviously, as practitioners, we have a unique perspective on what’s kind of feasible and what sometimes… you know, what lawmakers might think would be advantageous to candidates actually could hurt them in the real world of how these things work. So we think it’s important to kind of be a part of the discussion as those laws are formulated.
Well, and obviously, we’ve seen lots of changes in the past couple of years around hiring, but any key trends that you’ve noticed going through this Great Resignation in particular?
Well, one of the biggest things that comes to mind for me is – and I use this saying internally, is “we play at work and we work at home.” These two worlds have commingled themselves, and so… Obviously, this… this mind shift started pre-COVID, but it was really cemented during this time. And I think for me as a CEO, it gives us an opportunity to work with our colleagues and employees and think about them both from a working perspective as well as a personal life perspective and… and think about things more holistic. Clearly, one of the things that employees want is career development, and so making those internal development opportunities available is something that’s top of mind, I think, for any organization. And that’s something also that HireVue can assist in, especially in larger organizations, is putting a mechanism and process in place to facilitate that. But for me, that biggest trend is really the commingling of both the work life as well as the personal life and how do we adapt as that as organizations in continuing to make it a great place to work for our people?
I love your quote, and I’ll add on to that with one I heard somebody else say, that he is “homing from work.”
[Laughs] I like that, too.
That’s great. I love it.
New lingo. [Laughs]
I retired from a large Fortune 100 company, and they started using HireVue before I left there in our hiring efforts, and honestly, I thought it was so slick. Really, really thought it was very, very cool. And then I’ve been doing consulting the last, gosh, now eight years, and as I have worked with smaller businesses, sometimes they want to shy away from using AI because they’ll say, you know, “The employees or the type of employees that we’re trying to attract aren’t going to be comfortable getting in front of a computer. First, they probably don’t own a laptop. They’re gonna have to go get a get a laptop, borrow one, go to the library to do video interviewing.” You know, how do you respond to that? Because I’m sure you’re calling on clients who sometimes say, “We have a segment of our business, that they just aren’t gonna be comfortable with AI in the employment process.”
Yeah, well, first of all, I mean, you know, the way that you can engage with HireVue, be it a laptop, a tablet, or even your mobile phone, makes it very easy. I think when we look across those different segments that I outlined at the beginning, there hasn’t been any resistance from the candidate’s perspective, especially in the early, new grads, in terms of adopting the process around video-based interviewing. I think for an hourly base worker that may be applying for a job, or they already have a nine to five job, that the ability to do this on-demand, whether it be late at night or on the weekend, so they don’t have to schedule an interview during a time… during their shift or take time off to do it is something that’s seen as very favorable. And then from a professional employee perspective, it gives an opportunity for you to put your best foot forward and really be assessed on the competencies and skill sets that are needed for a job. So for us, we haven’t seen, from a candidate perspective, any resistance to adopting this technology. The point I’ll reiterate is how you engage with those candidates has changed in certain segments. You know, the idea that you can only engage in email, whereas a chat and text enabled platform is far more efficient for different segments of market.
I’d add to that. I mean, we’re always striving to make our platform accessible to everyone and easy to use. So when you… you know, when you look at these different segments, and you could just kind of… have to think how we can open up the funnel as much as possible, usually people applied for the job online. And in theory, hopefully, taking a video interview would be even easier than applying for a job online, that it’s, you know, mobile enabled. And we used to, actually… when we started HireVue, we used to ship people webcams to take their interview. So rather than flying across the country to be interviewed, you could record yourself answering questions, and so we’ll send you a webcam and you send it back. And even up until a couple of years ago, we still offered to send people a webcam if they needed one. And of course, no one had taken us up on that for several years, so… so we no longer have it on our website. But… but what we’ve seen with kind of this explosion of cameras on mobile devices and people getting more comfortable has really lent itself well to the technology. But the way that the flow happens and the UI is all really important in making it seamless and easy to use for everyone.
I think the name of the game these days is flexibility, right? We all want flexibility when we do things and to be able to do that on a night or weekend or at our current job or wherever that might be is a real benefit.
So… put you guys on the spot here a little bit. We talked about the Great Resignation. Some people say the Great Reckoning. Do you think we’re headed into the Great Return? Do you see some optimistic signals we might pay attention to?
Well, I’m… I’m very optimistic about the economy in general. Obviously, there’s some concerns from a consumer perspective around inflation, but I think when you look around the world, not just in the US, economic growth and the opening up of the economy continues to outpace any of that inflation that we’re seeing. And whether you’re an airline, a hotel, a cruise line, a retailer, a hospital, there’s so much demand out there for people and filling jobs, of getting the right people in the right jobs at the right time. We’re very bullish on the outlook that we see. In fact, the demand for just video-based interviewing on its own is growing 50% year on year right now.
It’s solving those problems in all those different industries and segments of the economy.
Being the JoyPowered® Workspace, we like to ask all of our guests your thoughts about joy at work. So if you’d be willing to share, what’s one small step people can do while leveraging AI in recruiting that can create a more joyful candidate experience?
So when we think about… in hiring, obviously, helping someone find a job that’s a great fit for them is a joyful experience. But on the other hand, you have a lot of people who will apply for a position and not get the job, because that’s just the way the math works out. We have a customer who likes to say that you should design for the disappointed. So either way, you want to make that experience feel personal, and that they learned something from it, and to not waste their time, right? So kind of, like I mentioned before, I think these older hiring technologies that addressed the volume problem made candidates feel ignored. And there’s this concept of the ATS black hole. Like, you submit your resume to this applicant tracking system and you type in all the fields after you’ve already uploaded your resume, and then you press send and you just never hear anything ever again. So the technology is now evolving to the point where really candidates can be engaged early and often, they can have a lot of transparency into the job and where they’re at in the hiring process so that they feel respected. And even if they don’t get the job, they feel like they had a good experience and that, you know, possibly they got some good feedback on how their assessment went. So it wasn’t, you know, just a complete waste of time for them. So that’s something I think about a lot when I… when I think about joy is this kind of concept of… of trying to bring the most joy as possible even to the people who will end up disappointed in this process.
I love that.
I do too.
I think for me, you know, is… I think about HireVue as a company, and one of the things I always, you know, remind our team, you know, our mission is really around this democratizing of hiring. But… but I always like to remind them that, you know, let’s think about our customer’s customer in what we do. For that person who’s a candidate and our customer’s customer, we create a life-changing event. You know, we help them get that job. And we’ve all been there. We’ve all had that opportunity where we got that one job and we were like, yeah, we got that job, I was able to put my best foot forward, and I feel like I did my best, and I got that job. And so whether you’re a flight attendant on Delta Airlines or you’re the assistant manager at the Hyatt Hotels, you know, I always remind ourselves to think about that person. And that’s our customer’s customer, who is the candidate who got that job, and our ability to create those life-changing events, because those are pretty special. And that’s why, you know, we exist here at HireVue.
That’s a great perspective, too.
It is. I love it. So how can our listeners reach out to either of you, and/or if they are interested in learning more about HireVue, what’s the best way for them to connect?
I think for, you know, me, and I’ll speak on behalf of Lindsey, we’re both pretty active on things like LinkedIn and Twitter. And you can find us both on that and happy to engage. You can also reach out to me directly. It’s areynolds at hirevue.com. And I’m always excited to engage with folks on… on any level of the conversation.
I’m connecting with you on LinkedIn right now.
There you go.
[Laughs] Well, thank you both so much for joining us. It was really educational and fun, and we wish you and HireVue the very best.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much, really enjoyed the opportunity.
Wow. Susan, I… I think I say this every time, but I really learned a lot from that, and how the technology is working and the impact during this crazy recruiting time that we’re in right now.
Yeah, I have to tell you, I think it was wonderful hearing about how they approach the work that they do in such an ethical manner. I know that any AI firm right now is under a lot of scrutiny by the government to make sure that what they’re doing is not actually perpetuating more bias. And the fact that… that at least HireVue has put together a statement of explainability, working so hard to be transparent, I just really applaud their efforts on that front. We want to get better at hiring. I think our intent is is good. And we want to make sure that technology helps us do a better job, a fairer job, doesn’t harm us.
Right. You know, we tried video interviewing several years ago when we were… I wouldn’t say we were on the the bleeding edge of it, but the leading edge of it, maybe, trying that and had really had a lot of success with some positions and had no success with some others. And of course, even just in the past two years – right? – the technology around that, many of the things they talked about are so much better and people are so much more comfortable now doing videos. But you know, I would just also urge our listeners to to think about what… what kind of positions will these work best on?
Yeah, definitely. I think people coming out of school are probably just very adept. But if you, you know, have a workforce that is not using iPhones or they’re not using the computer, and the kind of work that they’re going to do is not technology related, we want to recognize that maybe that might not be the right role to do this. Right?
Yeah. Susan, we have a listener question today that says, “How can I navigate a conversation when you get a promotion, but you’re disappointed by the compensation, and it’s non-negotiable?
Wow. Well, the first thing I’d say is, they’re telling you it’s non-negotiable. I’m not convinced it’s non-negotiable. Some things I would probably think about. First, make sure that you’ve done your research. You know, benchmarking outside of your organization, look at some salary surveys for your industry, and if you don’t have access to that, then go out to the generic ones like salary.com, payscale.com, glassdoor.com. We actually did an episode of The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast back in February of 2017 that was entitled “Successful Salary Negotiation.” I think some of the tried and true tactics are there, specifically, you know, reaffirm their decision to hire you, whoever gives you an offer, take a moment and thank them for it. You could certainly share your delight up until the point you need to become a little bit somber in that conversation and say that there is just one element of this promotion package that you need to consider before deciding to accept or not. Now realize, when your employer gives you a promotion, they aren’t even thinking that you’re… you want to sit down and think of whether you want to accept it or not. They think you’re just gonna say “Yes, absolutely, I’ll do it.”
Yeah. But recognize that you always have a choice. If they come back to you with a very teeny tiny increase, you realize you’re going to be doing more work, have more stress, more worry, you might decide to respectfully decline. So you do have a choice here. Now, let’s say you’ve already accepted the promotion, and you find yourself in the new role. You know, I would try very hard to get some early wins in that role so that’s going to show them they made the right decision in promoting you. But as soon as you have those wins, I think that it’s smart to circle back and say you accepted this job and this promotion at XYZ pay and you feel like it’s going really well. Could we revisit the timing of my next review? Rather than waiting for the annual review cycle, could we get together at the end of the quarter or at six months mark and really talk through. And at that point, then, maybe that research you hadn’t done ahead of time about benchmarking what people in your role outside your organization are earning, that might be the time to sit down and introduce that info.
I think that’s great advice, Susan. Lot of… you know, we all… somebody told me one time, how much do we want to make, and that the answer for most of us is more, right?
We don’t always know how much more or what, but we all just want more. So sometimes we get expectations in our mind of what we think that is, and so definitely do your homework on that. And then I like, too, to say, like, try it out for a bit. I mean, if you don’t negotiate at that point, then try it out and prove to them that you’re worth more, too.
That’s right. Well, good luck to you. Listener who sent us that question, I wish you the best on that.
In the news, Hirect, a chat-based hiring app, found that 60% of the jobs posted to their platform in Q1 2022 required only a high school degree, while 29% required a bachelor’s, and 2% required a master’s degree or beyond. This could be another indication that employers who historically used education requirements as a knockout factor may be lessening that practice and skills based on hiring, that we highlighted in one of our earlier podcasts, is truly getting increasingly popular. For some good insights on this topic, take a listen to our episode that dropped September 27, 2021, entitled, “Finding Quality Talent Using Skills-Based Practices.”
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