If you work in talent acquisition, you’re probably knee deep in AI tools that make your job easier and even reduce bias in the interview process. But before you panic about the idea of robots taking over your job, take a breath and take in some wisdom from Craig Fisher, head of Global Marketing at Allegis Global Marketing. Fisher says that while technology can certainly complement what you’re doing at work, the candidate experience — for women job seekers in particular — is largely dependent on human interactions that provide empathy, that robots can’t replicate or replace.
In a webinar hosted by Fairygodboss Co-Founder and President Romy Newman, Fisher shed light on how recruiters and hiring managers can work alongside AI tools in their marketing and branding efforts to create the best possible candidate experience for women.
Here are some of his top tips:
Utilize Facebook groups to gather information on how to create a better candidate experience. There’s an HR Open Source group that you can join to see best practices from top executives in the talent acquisition sphere.
Embrace tools and chatbots like Olivia, by Recruiting.ai, which is an AI recruiting assistant that can help you gather initial information about candidates and get the referral process going. Similarly, HiringSolve has a tool called Rai that can help recruiters very quickly find candidates who match the jobs they’re looking to fill.
Avrio can look at a company’s database and stack rank candidates by having conversations with them and determining if they’ll be a good fit for a job or culture. It improves not only the recruitment process, but also the experience for the candidate, who can get a better understanding of whether they’ll be a good fit for a particular role.
Ideal is a tool that will search a company’s database and compare candidates with jobs, removing bias from the process. This is particularly crucial for women, who are more likely than men to be negatively impacted by unconscious bias, and who are less likely than men to apply for a job if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria. Tools like Ideal and Olivia are great at eliminating bias from the interview process because, as Fisher puts it, “there’s not much indication at all whether Olivia believes she’s talking to a man or a women.”
Still, don’t use these tools to replace what you’re doing. Fisher says that while Olivia can be effective — and while the majority of job seekers he’s spoken to say they’re comfortable interacting with chatbots in the initial stages of their interview process — he’s also noticed that one of the first questions candidates always ask Olivia is, “Can I talk to a recruiter?”
“They want to speak to someone about a job,” Fisher explains. “We had to input a way for people to be able to click through to contact a recruiter immediately. People still need to be in the process.”
What else can humans do to improve the candidate experience, particularly for women? Stop asking candidates about their salary history. In fact, it’s now illegal for hiring managers to ask this question in several cities in states.
Fisher also suggests that recruiters focus on being human and make sure that when they’re networking or recruiting, they talk about themselves beyond merely dictating their job title or function. Whether you mention your kids or one of your favorite hobbies, people are more likely to remember you — and what you do — if they can get a sense of what you’re like in your life beyond work. “Computers don’t have kids, they don’t have hobbies — they don’t have things that make people remember who they are,” Fisher says.
He adds that employers need to do some deep thinking to understand their audience. “What do [job candidates] hear and see as they go through their day? Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. What’s the first thing they see in the morning? Their phone, their messages, Facebook. You can start to understand what their interests and needs are. Do they need to be close to family? Do they still live at home? You can understand their pains, and you can market to their gains in the way you write job descriptions.”
And don’t forget about the importance of employer branding. “If you want to make the experience better for women, you have to make sure certain things are called out when you’re branding or advertising jobs, and in the way you ask your employees to talk about their jobs,” he says.
Identify what’s unique about your company — whether it’s a particular benefit, like bereavement leave for a pet, or an informal tradition, like a team softball league — and make sure any employees in customer-facing or candidate-facing roles are highlighting what stands out about your culture. If you can get employees to serve as informal brand ambassadors and post on their social media accounts using a company hashtag, you can then reshare those posts on your companies’ social channels. Get visual and bring your employees’ personalities to light.
The bottom line, Fisher says, is that women’s job search experience will be most positive and effective if you can humanize the process and bring to life your company’s culture.