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Innovation in HR & Recruitment

By Raja Ahmad Muzamir Shah, Director, Financial Services and Human Resources, Robert Walters [LON: RWA] And Faye Walshe, Director of Innovation, Robert Walters [LON: RWA]

Raja Ahmad Muzamir Shah, Director, Financial Services and Human Resources, Robert Walters [LON: RWA]

The last few years have seen an explosive amount of growth in the HR and recruitment technology market. In addition to the much larger, well-established tech firms bulking out their HR-related solutions portfolios, we have also witnessed a huge number of new start-ups developing tech within the HR space. These tools offer new solutions using the latest in data & analytics, chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) and even facial recognition.

With this rate of innovation and the plethora of tools available in the market, it can be overwhelming for HR Directors and decision-makers when it comes to considering which tech to adopt to solve their specific challenges.

At Robert Walters, our innovation team tracks hundreds of new technologies each year, testing and trialing them to see if they can increase our productivity and give our consultants more time to do what they do best—build human connections and personal relationships. To help our clients bring innovation into their hiring strategies, we regularly share case studies of the technologies we are trialing so they can learn as fast as we do. We are transparent—we let them know what has not worked, as well as what has. Our approach is simple—we trial and test internally and then roll out and share what works to benefit our clients.

ATS Market Under Attack

We have seen a significant amount of movement within the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) market, driven by the demand from organizations wanting to consolidate their data and keep it in one place, which in turn is driving up competition between suppliers.

Faye Walshe, Director of Innovation, Robert Walters [LON: RWA]

Well known providers-such as Oracle—have to make way for newcomers like Workday and even Microsoft Dynamics—the software giants’ first step into the HR market.

In Malaysia, organizations are waking up to the digital transformation age, and it is increasingly on the agenda for HR departments. Digital tools such as Workday, Oracle PeopleSoft, SAP Success Factors, and HR Avenue, are proving a popular solution in for helping to track people’s data and make informed recruitment decisions, such as reducing attrition or hiring at exactly the right time to secure talent.

Chat bots to improve the application experience

One of our most recent trials involved Singaporean start-up Impress.ai, an AI-powered chatbot.

After researching the booming chatbot market, we decided to partner with Impress.ai to build an end-to-end automated chatbot recruitment experience for thousands of applicants to some of our clients’ roles in India. This particular client in the financial services sector attracts a high volume of applicants to each role advertised, and we wanted to see if automating the experience would increase the speed and accuracy of the application process both for our recruiters and the candidates taking the time to apply.

Our chatbot enabled applicants to benefit from a truly pioneering chatbot recruitment experience— imagine being able to use your phone anywhere to apply for a role at a prestigious financial services organisation, be ranked, technically assessed and also self-schedule your own interview for a time which suits you, all within 6.5 minutes of clicking the ‘apply now’ button?

We were able to achieve this, and the feedback and results exceeded our expectations:

• 93 percent candidates were very positive about their experience

• 6-10x faster application for candidates

• 90 percent accuracy in screening candidates

• An increase in gender disclosure, up to 99 percent

Pivotally for us at Robert Walters, this time saving meant that our recruiters were able to offer an even more personal service to applicants—every single applicant was also reviewed by a human, ensuring that our focus on the quality of service is met.

It was also interesting to see how willing candidates were to share their personal information, such as gender, with the bot. We do not usually see levels of gender disclosure over 40-80 percent, so it was a surprising additional benefit that the bot was able to gain the trust of applicants, as well as deliver a good experience.

"At Robert Walters, our innovation team tracks hundreds of new technologies each year, testing and trialing them to see if they can increase our productivity and give our consultants more time to do what they do best—build human connections and personal relationships"

New Era in Hiring

The ‘threat of technology or innovation’ is a term often heard and widely debated, but for us, it means seeing technology as an enabler, not a threat. Our ‘test and trial’ innovation strategy is designed to ensure our people have access to the best available tools to drive productivity and engagement with our candidates and clients.

What is interesting is that even though AI is changing elements of the way we recruit, we do not believe it will ever replace our consultants’ innate understanding of what our clients and candidates need. Ultimately, we are looking for technology that will allow frictionless interaction between humans. We want to create the same consumer experience for recruitment that people have with leading brands every day.

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