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January 2020 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
  • AI Tools for Organizations and Recruiters
  • The Limits of Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources
  • Quick Reference: A Case for Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources
  • Quick Reference: What the Heck Are Chatbots Anyway?
  • Quick Reference: Canadian Firms Are Helping HR Get AI-Savvy
  • AI and the Candidate Experience
  • The Barriers and Justifications for AI
  • Coach's Corner: What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean For Human Resources Professionals and Recruitment?
January 2020
Volume 7, Number 1
Available in ebook and soft cover at Wendy Ellen Inc.

Available for Kindle on Amazon

Thanks for Joining Us!

January 2020! A brand new decade! We wish all of you continued health and success, wherever your path leads you.

This month we thought - without putting us out of business - we would take a look at the rapidly changing world of human resources recruitment. Technology is expanding in leaps and bounds, so much so it's hard keep up. And will all these new tools - "apps" and software and even artificial intelligence - help or hinder?

For example there are recruitment apps that the candidate has to look into the camera and answer questions.  The AI in the app analyzes facial expression, etc. as part of the screening process.  Things like that.  There is also AI 3-D training software.  
Keep reading for more learning!

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technology used to do a task that requires some level of intelligence to accomplish — in other words, a tool trained to do what a human can do. Why is AI different than ordinary software? Three core components — high-speed computation, a huge amount of quality data and advanced algorithms differentiate AI from ordinary software. Core AI technologies provide better accuracy and stability to every day processes using an algorithm that connects quality data with fast computation services. 
According to an RBC Research Paper,  25% of Canadian jobs will be disrupted by technology over the next decade. Yet, the country will also add an estimated 2.4 million jobs that require a new mix of soft skills. Talents like critical thinking, social perceptiveness, active listening and complex problem-solving will be in demand.* 

In the context of Human Resouces, new technology is emerging to make sourcing and screening candidates easier. Even in times of labour shortage, reaching candidates and generating applicants aren’t the biggest problems in recruitment. Today, the challenge is reaching the right, most relevant candidates. AI and machine learning can greatly help. 

As companies adopt AI, cognitive tech, process automation, and robotics, etc., virtually every job will change to become more digital, more data-driven. Embracing technology will not mean removing humans from the equation. Instead, it increases the need for employers to provide greater relevance in the work people are pursuing.

Awareness of the need for a new approach is already occurring. Companies are:

• Creating combined responsibilities for HR
and IT.
• Leveraging machine learning and algorithms to automate work and create employee experiences that rival consumer experiences.
• Using data and analytics to proactively understand how to better attract, onboard, and retain talent.
• Providing continuous feedback to understand worker sentiments, motivations and pain points.

Specifically for HR professionals, it means their roles will become more focused on coaching and management issues, recruiting, and retention. In order to be effective, it will be imperative that HR and corporate leadership take into account critical new competencies—among them change management and digital/cognitive/ AI-driven technologies—when pursuing traditional business goals.

Jill Silman Chapman, Senior Performance Consultant, Shared
Services—Recruiting Services | Insperity  Traditional
Employment Solutions.
AI Tools for Organizations and Recruiters
There are a plethora of AI tools and applications available to assist in candidate recruitment. A small overview includes:
  • Targeted advertising can put job ads in front of a very specific profile of candidates.When recruiters post a job on LinkedIn, for example, the professional networking site now automatically offers them a customized short list of candidates sourced from its database that closely match the job description.
  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have been widely used for years now, and one of their primary benefits is screening resumes. Rather than sifting through every incoming application, recruiters can devote their time to considering just the most relevant candidates, with the help of the ATS. 
  • Evolved, intelligent software such as IBM’s AI recruitment platform called Watson Candidate AssistantThis software can infer specific skills that a candidate must have based on the jobs listed in their resume. So, if the candidate has worked in business intelligence, Watson can ascertain that they have skills in data analytics, forecasting and reporting on trends. This detection can occur even though the skills may not be explicitly listed in their profile, making it a powerful tool for matching candidates with right-fit positions
  • Automated questionnaires and chatbots can conduct the initial survey of candidate qualifications and expectations. Chatbots can further answer candidate questions, respond to applications, and even set up interview times. Chatbots – also known as “conversational agents” – are software applications that mimic written or spoken human speech for the purposes of simulating a conversation or interaction with a real person. For example, TextRecruit is an engagement platform that employs text and live chat to interact with candidates and employees. The platform’s chatbot is customized to a company’s brand and voice, maintaining a company’s culture even through talent pipelines. Beyond recruitment, the platform also carries over into employee life by helping with onboarding, alerts or reminders about things like open enrollment for health insurance.
  • The HR industry is already starting to see video interviewing software that turns body language and voice tone into useful assessment data. This technology will continue to evolve so that eventually AI can alert recruiters when the resume or body language of a smooth-talking candidate who interviews well shows that they are more likely to be a low performer. HireVu is one company offering such software.
The Limits of Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources
Artificial intelligence is great at crunching data, reacting with automated responses, and automating mundane daily tasks of recruitment. However, it is far less effective at evaluating personality and motivation.

A human recruiter can understand a manager’s work style and the culture of the team. Finding the candidate with the right aptitude and attitude to merge seamlessly with the department usually requires the experienced eye of a recruiter who gets it.  Feeling the connection or chemistry cannot be replicated by a computer.

As much as AI within the realm of human resources can achieve results, the out-of-the-box thinking, people management, human interaction and coaching aspects are crucial and will continue to demand a human touch.

Also, while technology can make the recruitment process much more efficient, engaging with coveted top talent, and enticing them to work for your organization over a competitor, requires more than automated responses. Chatbots and form e-mails are great for moving through the early steps of disseminating information back and forth, but eventually candidates need to make a human connection.

People want to interact with another person – someone who represents a living example of the character of an organization. Though 42% of startup businesses in Canada plan to adopt AI into their operations*, they still face a number of challenges when it comes to leveraging this technology to obtain top talent.
*The Effects of Advanced Digital
Technologies on Canadian SBOs, study by StartUp Canada
-Jamie Hoobanoff, Globe and Mail, July 2, 2019
"They were all video-based screening interviews - I didn't even meet my potential employers...Only 10% of potential employers have given me detailed feedback...As jobseekers, we need to know where and how we can improve - whether that's with our CVs, job experience or even personality."
- Peter Lane, 21-year old Cardiff University Graduate
Quick Reference: A Case for Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources
In the near-future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Human Resources (HR) will take care of a wide array of front-end administrative tasks, such as answering benefits questions or resolving basic payroll issues. AI won’t just give us time back to focus on more
strategic activities, but also prep us with information in advance that will help us dive right into consulting, problem-solving and collaborating with our customers.

For instance, in the recruiting space, an AI assistant will make quick work of analyzing resumes, searching for the ones that best match the job data, and presenting the top candidates we need to talk to as soon as possible. The assistant can even look through thousands of resumes for other jobs we have, as well as the profile of existing employees, and surface those that may be a good fit for the open position.

The AI assistant can also suggest the best interview questions to ask based on the data, so the recruiter can have more effective conversations and better evaluate job fit.

The AI assistant will do this all without the inherent bias a human recruiter may have, as its focus is on the data. As a result, it may pick up on things that human biases may prevent the recruiter from seeing.

- Trent Cotton of BBVA in The Next Decade of Work, Visier.com
Quick Reference: What the Heck Are Chatbots Anyway?
Workforce digitization is a big trend to watch for. We are seeing more chatbots and automation enter the working world, where mobile becomes the primary player, which gives HR the unique opportunities to elevate moments in the employee lifecycle and keep employee engagement high. 

Chatbots allow for the enhancement of learning experience by providing appropriate and accurate responses, and sending reminders about employee projects and training operations. Using various techniques chatbots collect employee feedback using sentimental analysis that detects the mood of the employees. All these inputs help in boosting the efficiency and productivity of employees.

Chatbots can focus on long-term development through the employee lens. Technology from Humanyze, for example, gives employees the ability to compare their behavior to team averages so they can see what they need to work on to achieve their career goals. 

Chatbots can also help employees manage their internal states to change the way they experience the work itself.  They can provide employees with a feedback loop for changing behaviors. For example, Humu provides a “nudge engine” that encourages employees to improve their happiness, productivity, and performance.

Quick Reference: Canadian Firms Are Helping HR Get AI-Savvy
Fortay is an Ontario startup founded on the premise that traditional hiring practices are too subjective and don’t put culture first. Fortay argues that identifying candidates whose core workplace values and cognitive fit are aligned with the company’s workplace culture is the key to successful hiring and, in turn, employee job satisfaction and better overall company performance. To identify those who will be the best fit, it works with clients to develop a value and belief assessment questionnaire for candidates.

And in Alberta, Calgary-based NIDUM has developed AI 3-D/Virtual Reality recruiting and training software. They match a company's needs and conduct pre-hire steps with candidates with the intent of saving time, measuring training, improving employee engagement, and creating consistent service levels. 
AI and the Candidate Experience
The BBC in February 2018 published an article about the negative impact AI was having on the candidate experience.

21-year-old Cardiff University graduate, Peter Lane, explained how artificial intelligence was hindering his career prospects and that he was having to take video-based screening interviews, stating: “I didn’t even meet my potential employers.”

He’s not the only one who finds this kind of process tedious and a little less than fair.

Can we really judge someone on their performance talking to a machine?

And is searching for people using certain keywords and phrases the right way to find superstar candidates?

Another issue with over-reliance on artificial intelligence is that candidates aren’t receiving the necessary feedback to learn and improve.

While it’s not always possible to contact every unsuccessful candidate personally, a quality recruiter will take a few extra minutes just to put a few words together if their applicant wasn’t successful following the interview stage.

This is the right thing to do when the candidate has made the effort to show up and give their best.
What are the barriers to adopting AI technologies?

Financial barriers can be blamed for the lack of wider tool implementation to assist in HR administrative tasks.
Talent gap: it can be expensive and hard to find properly educated or skilled people.
Concern over privacy: confidential HR data must be accessed securely and available only to the authorized person.
Ongoing maintenance: as with other innovative technologies, AI requires deep learning and regular review and updates.
Integration capabilities: data availability is limited, due to the HR trend toward SaaS (Software as a Service).
Limited proven applications: many products and services are feasible based on proof of concept only.
The cost of using AI can be justified for the following human resource functions:

• Reducing the amount of time HR professionals spend on administrative tasks

• Reducing the burden of shared service centres and help desks by performing HR transactions and providing answers for routine

• Recruiting and retention

• Measuring return on investments

• Reducing bias in HR decision-making
Source: The new age: artificial intelligence for human resource opportunities and functions,
EY (Ernst & Young)
Coach's Corner: What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean For Human Resources Professionals and Recruitment?

Fortunately, with the aid of technology to reach relevant candidates, and even pre-screen these down to a shortlist of potential hires, human resources professionals can spend more time focusing on those human connections.

Much of the work of recruiting can be rote and repetitive and could easily be automated. This is where artificial intelligence comes in.

Increasing efficiency, reducing time spent on mundane tasks, and improving overall productivity for recruiters are just some of the benefits of integrating AI into HR. However, selecting the right-fit candidate from a group of applicants that are similar on paper, and negotiating a contract with that chosen hire, are as much art as science.

This is where a lifetime of human interactions and experience become essential. That is where they can bring the greatest value: assessing candidates and selling them on the role. The connections that are made by HR professionals is undeniable.

Effective HR recruitment will ALWAYS depend on a combination of personal, professional expertise with modern tools and technology.

Contact Wendy Ellen Inc. for all your HR needs today!
About Wendy Ellen Inc.
Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.
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