3 reasons for using AI to screen for soft skills & how 2degrees, CSIRO & Viventis are doing it

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate parts of the hiring process has become table stakes for most recruiters. Resume keyword screening, chatbots, and digital interviews are now essential tools, especially in high-volume scenarios where humans can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications.

But can AI-powered solutions do more than sift thousands of applicants into “yes” or “no” buckets? Can it add more value to the recruitment process by providing benchmarkable data on behavioural attributes like teamwork, resilience and motivation? 

Considering eight out of 10 employers say soft skills are key to their company’s success. The answer is yes. 

Certain AI tools can be used to screen candidates for basic requirements like a working visa and collect valuable insight into all-important soft skills. This is advantageous for three key reasons. 

1. It gives you a wider pool to choose from 

If you only screen candidates based on their resume, you are leaving top Talent on the table. That is because a resume does not tell the whole story and is not very accurate when it comes to identifying behavioural attributes like motivation. 

AI recruitment tools that assess soft skills provide recruiters with more information about their candidate pool. This gives candidates who might otherwise be overlooked a chance to shine.

For example, when 2degrees, a telecommunications company in New Zealand, implemented an AI-powered assessment tool at the beginning of their recruitment process, they immediately broadened the scope of the candidates considered and removed the repetitive manual phone interviews from the team’s workload. This led to a 10 percent increase in candidate conversion and saved over 23 hours of work a week for the team.

Similarly, South-East Asian recruitment company, Viventis, increased their candidate conversion from five percent to 30 percent for the same reason. A wider candidate pool means you get more Talent in the door and are more likely to find those who are the right fit for the job. 

2. You can make more accurate shortlisting decisions 

Making a shortlist can be tricky at the best of times, especially when you have thousands of candidates to choose from. With additional information about soft skills, recruiters can be more confident about the shortlisting decisions they make.

LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 reported 92 percent of Talent professionals say soft skills are just as important as hard skills, if not more so. That is because 89 percent of employers say that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it is because they lacked critical soft skills. 

By screening for soft skills early in the recruitment process, hiring managers have more insightful data to use when shortlisting. The team at CSIRO’s ON program recently made a conscious effort of doing that by using an AI-powered tool to screen more than 300 applicants and they found it easier to spot candidates who were more “adaptive”.

This made their shortlisting process much easier as adaptiveness is a crucial skill in the world of groundbreaking science!

3. It allows for quicker turn around 

Speed to market is important for many recruiters, especially those who need to quickly hire large Contingent Workforces. In these scenarios, recruiters identify the skills that are essential to get the job done and are prepared to compromise on the rest.

For example, a candidate might not have worked in a call centre before but they may have ample experience in customer service and teamwork. By using AI recruitment tools to measure these skills out the gate, recruiters can make quicker and more valuable decisions early in the process. 

AI + human intelligence = recruitment magic 

AI recruitment tools are no substitute for human judgement and intuition. They are best at handling large amounts of data and uncovering connections and meaning within this data that would be time-consuming for a person to do.

When a recruiter has confidence in AI-derived data, it becomes immensely valuable to the recruiting process. With the grunt work out of the way, recruiters can do what they do best. Based on the fair, rigorous data in front of them, they decide who to focus on and move through the interview process. Every applicant gets an opportunity to be heard, time is saved and vacancies are filled faster. Using artificial intelligence plus human judgement provides the most accurate, fairest and fastest outcomes for all.

Cover image: Shutterstock

This article is contributed by Curious Thing.

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