From Candidate Experience to AI: The recruiting process is changing

AI + Recruiting

Having an interview with artificial intelligence instead of a human being. This scenario may appear inconceivable to you at the moment. But it could soon be reality, because the first test runs with AI in the application process are already taking place in Germany – and the trend is rising. At this stage we cannot say with certainty what recruiting will look like in the future. But one thing seems clear, it will change fundamentally in the coming years. This is why it is worth taking a look at which trends can already be identified and which trends are more than likely to come…

Why is recruiting changing at all?

You send in an application. You are invited to an interview. You negotiate a salary. You sign an employment contract. Until recently, this was the standard application process in most German companies. A system that has worked for years. So why change it? Various developments are to blame. On the one hand, digitization or the (further) development of artificial intelligence simply brings new opportunities. On the other hand, the shortage of skilled workers means that the previous strategies have ceased to work in many industries. Companies are therefore forced to swim with the tide in order to find the “best match”, i.e., the best possible candidate, for a position.

Digital technologies play an increasingly important role

Thanks to digitization, companies are being offered new possibilities and opportunities which they must take advantage of to ensure that they are not overtaken by the competition. This begins with the search for suitable candidates via social media and ends with artificial intelligence, also known as AI. Therefore, the fact is that if you want to apply for a job in a company in the future, you won’t get far with your paper documents. Digital submission of the application, whether by email or online form on the potential employer’s career site, has become a matter of course. However, you still need more than an online application. This is where recruiting is already revealing the following trends in the context of advancing digitization:

  • Applicant blogs can now be found more and more frequently on the Internet, i.e., blogs by job seekers who position themselves as experts and share their knowledge on the Internet. The aim is to be found by potential employers. The blog is often linked to a (proactive) application, i.e., reference is made to the blog in order to sharpen one’s own profile and convince the recruiter to invite you to an interview.
  • Google for Jobs also plays an increasingly important role in Germany. The search engine giant launched its own job platform and soon became the market leader when it comes to visibility.
  • Social recruiting – also called acitve sourcing – in the sense of using social or professional networks to fill jobs is also becoming increasingly important for German companies. Indeed, in many cases, applicants’ profiles are not only checked — in addition, social networks are used to track down potential candidates and establish contact with them. Headhunters, too, now often and gladly engage in social recruiting.
  • Search engine optimized job ads have become the new normal in order to increase one’s visibility on the Internet and thus have a better chance than the competition of being found by applicants. Career pages or other Internet presences for this purpose are search engine optimized by companies nowadays. Buzzword: SEO.
  • Search engine advertising plays another important role, i.e., placing advertisements, for example on Google. For you as an applicant, this makes it all the easier to find suitable job ads to apply for.
  • Job interviews via video chat have become quite common. People who live far away can often have an interview without having to appear in person. Instead, they can conduct their job interview using tools such as Skype. This is true at least for the first interview, while you may be asked to attend any further “follow-up” interviews in person.

As you can see, recruiting is on the move and this trend will continue to be the case in the years to come. For both employers and employees, this means that in the future they will have to make greater use of digital options such as social networks, video chats, online job exchanges, etc. in order to stay “up-to-date” and be successful in their search for a new job or suitable candidates.

The application process becomes a “Candidate Experience”

It is impossible to say with certainty what the driving force behind this development is. On the one hand, when recruiting, companies are forced to turn to digital channels because this is where, quite simply, more potential candidates can be found. This is especially true of the younger Y and Z generations. On the other hand, companies are benefiting from the new technological possibilities and are therefore also driving development – for instance, the so-called Candidate Experience is being launched by more and more companies. This is based on the same basic idea as the customer experience, i.e., all customer experiences with the company must be positive — only in this case, the focus is on the applicant.

The Candidate Experience is designed to ensure a positive experience for the applicant with the company at all levels, both during and before the application process. All points of contact, such as the homepage, social networks, telephone contact, etc., must be positive in order to attract the best employees. A comparison with the customer experience illustrates that more and more companies are “advertising” for applicants in the same way they do for (potential) customers. The balance of power is shifting as a result, i.e., the applicant is no longer a “supplicant”, but rather it is the companies, especially in industries affected by a shortage of skilled workers, that are vying for the favor of the candidates. The Candidate Experience is now becoming an indispensable component of Employer Branding.

Candidate selection by artificial intelligence: realistic or not?

It is therefore the fundamental “balance of power” that is increasingly changing in recruiting. However, this does not mean that companies are indiscriminately hiring every applicant. On the contrary, selection processes are still taking place, but they are themselves subject to certain changes. Employers are increasingly shifting their focus away from hard skills to soft skills, i.e., the applicants’ personalities are taking center stage. To this end, psychological tests, which are conducted online or via AI, for example, are enjoying increasing popularity.
In fact, some companies are already conducting “interviews” with artificial intelligence. These AI interviews can be used instead of the traditional job interview or in addition to it, and are usually psychological assessments. This is because the AI can draw important conclusions about the personality of the person being interviewed from factors such as the choice of words, rate of speech, facial expression, etc. — and eventually this is what companies are interested in. Whether this form of artificial intelligence will become established in recruiting cannot be said with certainty at this point in time, because it is quite controversial.

Clickworkers provide large amounts of diverse data sets to training chatbots.

Conclusion and outlook

What is certain, however, is that AI will play an increasingly important role in recruiting in the future, because there are numerous other areas of application for it, some of which are already being used — and which offer great potential for the future. These consist of, for example,

  • The use of chatbots to offer applicants a better “experience” on career pages.
  • Applicant analysis via AI as a pre-selection.
  • Artificial intelligence in the form of an online assessment center.

And it includes many other scenarios that will further change the recruiting of tomorrow. While personal contact between recruiters and applicants will probably never be completely eliminated, there will be more “digital” intermediate steps where artificial intelligence is implemented — or which are entirely guided by it. It therefore remains exciting to see what recruiting of the future will look like. But it will certainly be one thing above all: Digital.


Author: Rene‘ Dornes



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