Davio Larnout

2019-09-18

Why does HR need AI?

An interview with our CEO Davio Larnout

Q: Davio, can you tell us what Radix does in a nutshell?

A: Radix’s main objective is to help other companies and other organizations to get the benefits from AI, to help them get ahead. We do that typically in a three-step process. The first step is identifying what AI can mean for your company. We call it fast discovery. Using our expertise in both AI and business we determine, how this technology can make a difference for your company and get your company ahead. 

Once we have one concrete, very tangible use case, we go into what we call a pilot phase, where we show that the technology works, that the business case is sound and we also check the impact on your processes. Once we’ve done that, we can put it into production and make it into an end to end solution and we have the right skills to go from your data up towards the front end with a nice UI and UX if necessary. 

Our process is meant to be very pragmatic. We don’t overkill in any of these steps. It might sound heavy, but actually, the first step is a matter of days, the second a matter of weeks and the other a matter of months, we like to go fast. We do it very pragmatically and we focus on the business value.

Q: What are the current challenges in the HR and recruiting landscape?

A: I think in general there’s one big problem, and everything relates to that: companies struggle to fill job positions. The two main drivers are the decreasing number of candidates per position and the mismatch between supply and demand. For example at a number of big companies: firing and hiring. 

On the one hand, there’s an economy that has been doing well the last few years resulting in a higher demand for employees. On the other hand, the digital evolution creates a faster and constant demand for new skills. This is causing huge pain and is preventing companies from growing and might eventually even lead to shrinking.

This provides an equally big opportunity, those companies that can overcome these challenges can outpace their competitors. In general, there are two paths of solving this: (1) becoming more productive per head so every employee delivers more. This is typically done through technology. And (2)  they need the hiring process much more efficient and effective. Often we see that companies have enough applicants. However, they’re not using it enough. HR should more and more become a core strategic part of any company.

Q: What can HR do with AI?

A: As mentioned before companies that can fill in positions faster will grow faster. I think it’s time that HR really gets a strategic role in every company and that HR fully embraces digitalisation and automation. They’ll need it to stay relevant. Technology can make us much more productive and that’s exactly what AI can do for HR as well. They focus a lot on: let’s write more vacancies, let’s try to get more candidates that way. But there’s a limited amount of candidates. Point. You’re not going to change that, but what you can change is the efficiency and quality of your process and the selection of your candidates. Let’s try to find within the applicants we have, let’s try to use those as efficiently as possible. Just imagine that you can fill in all your positions with the current applicants and already existing employees by using AI.

Let’s look at this in-depth:

1. Conversion on career pages/job board pages

Bounce rates on career pages, they are extremely high in my opinion. The candidate experience is really bad: (1) you need to know what to look for, (2) search through dozens of vacancies and (3) go through an annoying application process. If they could deliver a greater experience, they can improve conversion. The whole journey currently on a lot of job boards and career pages is just horrible.

2. Use the applicants you have in a more efficient way.

If someone applies for a certain vacancy and the person wasn’t a good match for that specific math companies often lose track of them. While she could be a great match for another vacancy. 

3. Get to that shortlist faster

Another thing that I think that they should do is, they can drastically increase the speed of an application process today. It’s still recruiters reading CVs, shifting through all of them and picking out the ones that they want to talk to. Today, you have technology that can do that. Just let technology help you do that. Figure out what the best candidate is. Don’t lose time on administration, but focus on what’s important. Focus on talking to the person, while you can use AI to go through all the data and just point out, okay this candidate is a great match and why. So you have the right ammunition to talk to the person and ask the right questions and you don’t have to waste time screening. 

4. Make internal mobility work

Another very important thing that AI could help with is internal mobility. Now in large companies, you have big workforces and often companies claim that they have the flexibility that people can move internally, and the way they do it – you have a job board and have a look and if you see something interesting you can apply, but that doesn’t work. People don’t do that. So using AI you could figure out, okay, what person is maybe interested in another job and can we just send or suggest another vacancy within the company so the person can move within the company. Retaining people might be more important than actually hiring new people at that point.

Q: Can AI make recruitment cheaper? 

A: Cheaper would mean that there’s less effort in recruitment and I’m not here to say that there will be less effort. A job is a collection of tasks. One of the tasks, for instance, is the screening and collections of CVs. I think that part of the job could be reduced to almost zero. But that doesn’t mean that the recruiters should not have more time to put in other parts of the job today. In a lot of jobs, the emphasis is on those repetitive tasks, now AI can automate these. So the recruiter can engage more with the person, look at the personality more and have the time to do that properly. So I’m not sure if it will be cheaper, time will tell, but it could help to make it much better at least.

Q: What are the benefits that these companies can expect if they are early adopters of AI? 

A: The ones that do it will gain a competitive advantage. I think in times of technological revolution, they can get ahead and they will have a bigger part of the market. 

Q: How would AI in HR benefit the job applicants? 

A: I think benefits for the job applicants are important You can provide a much better experience, by making the search for a job much easier, making the process a lot faster and providing more transparency too In a matter of seconds AI can figure out which job fits your profile, give insights to the recruiter to make a proper selection and provide the recruiter with an option to give proper feedback based on the matching report generated with AI.

And another thing that might be very, very important for job seekers is that today in a world where everything is evolving very fast, skills are evolving, jobs, roles and titles are evolving, it’s very difficult to know, in my opinion, what job am I capable of doing or what job am I capable of doing next year? If you have been a truck driver or bank clerk for years and you need to look for a new job, it’s easy to look for the same job you’ve been doing, but maybe it might be good to look at jobs with a longer horizon in the future. AI can just look at who you are today, your skills and competencies and provide you with different options that suit your profile.  That’s one of the big, big benefits for job seekers. 

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