Guest Post: AI Will Dominate Recruiting – So Prepare For Major Changes In These Areas

AI Will Dominate Recruiting – So Prepare For Major Changes In These Areas

Most recruiters are busy with their day-to-day work. So, some fail to realize that many recruiting processes and tools currently in use will soon improve significantly by the continual learning provided by Artificial Intelligence (AI). In addition, not only will AI and its advanced cousin Machine Learning (ML) make recruiting processes faster and cheaper, soon and in many cases are already adding significant new capabilities that were simply not possible with legacy systems. However, relax, this isn’t a job security issue, it’s an opportunity to improve performance with little effort on the recruiter’s part.

It’s quite common these days for the CEO’s from Amazon, Google, MS, Facebook and Apple to expound on how artificial intelligence and machine learning will dominate their businesses over the next few years. Even Vladimir Putin stated, “The country that leads in artificial intelligence will lead the world.” It’s also important to realize that in addition to contributing to the most visible product areas, like digital assistants and driverless cars, “Machine learning and AI are a horizontal enabling layer” says, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, meaning that AI will impact and improve every major function and its processes and decisions. Recruiting leaders shouldn’t be surprised that I predict that “machine learning will soon begin to dominate every major aspect of recruiting.” Just as previous technologies like ATS’s and CRM’s have already transformed recruiting. It’s important for recruiters to be aware that there is an upcoming wave of mostly vendor developed recruiting applications that assist in producing extraordinary hiring results because they include machine learning capabilities.

The goal of this article is to highlight the upcoming AI/ML and technology changes that are likely to occur in each of the major areas of recruiting.

 

The Top 15 Recruiting Areas That Will Be Most Impacted By AI And Machine Learning

The areas of skills-based recruiting and job/candidate matching that will be impacted are below. Note that they are listed so that the initial items in the recruiting process appear first.

Recruiting areas related to finding and attracting prospects

  • Advertising placement and content – Machine learning will continually improve your placement process for branding materials and job postings rather than relying on costly trial and error approach to advertising. This is critical because accurate placement is essential if you expect to get the right kind and number of applicants. Systems will continually learn by analyzing visitor cookies and response rates so that you place your highly targeted materials in front of the right people at the right time. Also, machine learning technology can help you continually refine your content so that it gets the highest response from your recruiting targets.
  • Your own website and social media – continually improve by firms using machine learning on their web and social media pages to better attract and continually engage your target audience. Software bolstered with machine learning will also be able to monitor and make you aware of both positive and negative comments that others make about your firm and jobs on the Internet and social media.
  • Finding individual prospects – during sourcing will become much more automated and accurate when augmented with machine learning capabilities. Automated sourcing programs will be able to find many more and better matches, based on the continually updated target profile that you develop as a result of feedback. There are already vendor packages that allow you to identify currently employed individuals (e., passives) that are likely to quit soon and prospects that are likely to be diverse.
  • Enhancing prospect profiles – can make the existing candidate profiles found on sites (like LinkedIn) more complete by supplementing them with additional information that a machine learning program will find on the Internet. Machine learning driven programs can sort through a prospects search histories, cookies and social media sharing. The additional information on a prospects interest, capabilities and behaviors might indicate that a candidate can do things that they haven’t done in the past. Once they apply, chatbots can contact an applicant directly to clarify unclear elements in their resume or profile.
  • Improving job descriptions and postings Recent research data has revealed that job descriptions and job postings can be dramatically improved so that the content better attracts your target audience. So, rewriting them can reduce terms that create a bias. Software can now help you reduce those biases and add content that draws initial attention and that attracts more qualified applicants.
  • Responding to questions – from potential or actual applicants is immensely time-consuming for recruiters. So many firms are already utilizing chatbot’s to answer questions quickly 24/7. The U.S. Army, for example, has been using its Sgt. Star chatbot for over ten years to answer its extremely high volume of questions. Chatbots can also periodically update a candidate status, once again saving recruiters time.
  • Personalize selling – Machine learning uses big data to identify the attraction factors and the elements of the firm’s employee value proposition that best engage certain personas (e., types of individuals). Rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach, this allows you to make your attraction, marketing messages and personal communications more effective because they are highly personalized to the individual.

Recruiting areas after candidates apply

  • Resume sorting – with machine learning software uses the resumes of successful hires at your firm to find patterns and then it can use these past success patterns as a basis for predicting which resumes and candidates are most likely also to be successful when hired. If programmed correctly, resume sorting software can also help to eliminate a great deal of unconscious bias in resume screening and candidate slate selection. Machine learning assisted search programs can also help you find hidden or lost talent within your ATS database.
  • Matching people and jobs – Using matching programs supplemented by machine learning can help a firm determine if there are any, less obvious, jobs that an applicant would also qualify. Matching people with jobs will also be improved by looking not just at an applicant’s past job titles and degrees, but also at their skills and capabilities.
  • Interview scheduling – is time-consuming and dramatically reduces your speed of hiring. Fortunately, there is existing software that allows a candidate to self-schedule their own interviews depending on their availability.
  • Interviews – can be time-consuming, so it makes sense to automate the initial ones with a chatbot that provides personalized questions based on your job profile. Also, there already exists technology that allows the use of neuroscience tools like voice and facial recognition to assess aspects of video recorded interviews that no humans could detect. There are even voice modulation programs that can help you obscure the voice of telephone interviewees so that it’s harder to identify their gender and national origin.
  • Supplemental candidate assessment – in addition to traditional interviews. Natural language processing can check language skills and online technical tests and challenges can help to assess the skills of applicants. There are automated programs that can more consistently determine cultural fit. Eventually, virtual reality simulations will be able to supplement interviews by giving candidates actual problems from the job to solve.
  • Offer acceptance – based on the candidate’s persona and profile. Recruiters can put together offers that are more likely to be accepted while at the same time treating all genders equally when it comes to compensation.
  • Learning from hiring failures – By definition, machine learning processes continually identify mistakes and errors. Recruiting will have an ongoing failure analysis process that continually and automatically finds hiring and bias errors and their root causes, allowing recruiting processes to improve at a much faster rate.
  • Other technologies – in addition to AI/ML technologies. Block Chain may eventually make checking educational and employment credentials easier and more accurate. Skype and video technologies already make it much easier to interview remote candidates without requiring them to travel. Machine learning will make predictive analytics in the area of projecting the future trajectory of finalists (in the areas of performance, retention and promotions) much more accurate.

Final Thoughts

Although most firms don’t track it, the average failure rate of new-hires at all job levels hovers around 50%. For example, Leadership IQ found that when “they tracked 20,000 new hires, 46% of them failed within 18 months”. Former Harvard Professor and author Michael Watkins reveals that “58% of the highest-priority hires, new executives hired from the outside, failing in their new position within 18 months”. Part of this broad failure results from overworked recruiters, normal human errors and unconscious biases throughout the recruiting process. Fortunately, the machine learning technologies highlighted above will soon minimize those problems through automation and continuous improvement. The results will be hiring faster, lower cost and more importantly hires that perform better on the job (i.e., quality of hire), that are more diverse and with fewer hiring failures. Recruiters should also take note that as more recruiting transactions are automated, it will allow current recruiters to “raise the bar” and to move into the more strategic Talent Advisor role.

Finally, recruiters should also be aware that they will soon be recruiting many more individuals into machine learning roles. The share of jobs requiring AI skills has grown 4.5 times since 2013 (Source: Stanford).

Want to see how machine learning can help you find better technical matches for your open roles?  Check out CodeSignal Recruiter or attend an upcoming webinar.

About the Author:

Dr. John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley. Specializing in strategic Talent Management solution. He is a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of Talent Management. Fast Company called him the “Michael Jordan of Hiring”, Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics” and SHRM called him “One of the industries most respected strategists”. He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and was ranked #8 among the top 25 online influencers in Talent Management. Dr. Sullivan is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State

If this article stimulated your thinking and provided you with an accurate picture of the future of technology in recruiting, please take a minute to follow or connect with Dr. Sullivan on LinkedIn.

© Dr. John Sullivan 5/2/18 for Codefights

Make Your LinkedIn Profile Work For You

If you were a small business owner and someone offered you a free billboard on the freeway, you’d take it in a heartbeat, right? Free advertising in a high traffic area! That’s a no-brainer – of course you’d want that.

And that, friends, is pretty much exactly what LinkedIn is: a free billboard for YOU.

Recruiters from tech companies are on LinkedIn all the time, plugging in keywords, looking for leads. The search interface makes sourcing on LinkedIn easy for them, so of course they use it. They’re looking for you! They want to give you a job!

So it just makes sense that you, whether you’re an active or passive job seeker, should also be on LinkedIn. Building your profile up into your own personal billboard makes it easy for all those searching recruiters to find you! It’s a hugely valuable tool that makes you visible and accessible to employers who are actively seeking candidates with the skill set that you have.

Fixing your LinkedIn profile can take a little bit of time, depending on how empty or out of date it is, but it’s totally worth it to spend some quality time putting it together. If you’re actively looking for new programming jobs or maybe just open to considering new options, LinkedIn is going to help you out.

Connie Kehn, Lead Talent Engineer at CodeSignal, sees a lot of LinkedIn profiles while she’s working with engineers who are using CodeSignal to find new jobs. And she used to be a recruiter for Tesla, so she knows what people on the other end of the equation are looking for too! She says, “Take advantage of your LinkedIn. It’s a free billboard space for you to talk about your strengths, your history, your skills, and what kind of work you’re looking for. Recruiters use that! When you’re on the hunt, build it up. You can always take it down later.”

So without further ado, here are CodeSignal’ top 10 tips for making your LinkedIn work for you!

  1. Fill out the entire profile. If you leave sections of your LinkedIn profile blank, not only are you missing out on opportunities to tell recruiters who you are and showcase what you’ve done, but you also might be hidden in searches. The LinkedIn platform actually prioritizes complete profiles! So if you’re not filling it out, your profile might not be surfacing in recruiters’ searches.
  2. Stand out with a good headline. Since this is one of the first things someone looking at your LinkedIn profile will see, make it count! Your headline should be descriptive and highlight your interests or specializations. Think specific, not general. And while you can get a little creative if you want to, don’t go overboard. The recruiter needs to be able to quickly decide whether or not you fit the bill. So a headline like Experienced Scala Wrangler Seeking New Pastures is eye-catching but still descriptive, while one like Programming Mermaid doesn’t really give a recruiter much of a sense of what you do. 
  3. Sum yourself up. Your summary should be 40 words or more in order to rank in searches, but don’t go overboard in the other direction either! If your summary is too long, pertinent information might get lost as recruiters skim through. Write in the first person about yourself (“I’m a web developer” vs “Janet is a web developer”), and keep your language natural! Use the old writing adage of “show, don’t tell.” Instead of saying that you’re enthusiastic about Python, be specific: “I taught myself Python two years ago and have been using it whenever possible ever since.”
  4. Add keywords. Whether recruiters are doing searches or already looking at your profile, they’re looking for certain, specific things. You can think of these as your own personal search keywords, and you should make sure that you’ve got these keywords in your Summary, Skills, Experience, Projects, and Recommendations sections. Obviously you don’t want to misrepresent yourself or try to do some keyword-stuffing that looks unnatural. But you do want to make sure that you’re showing up in the right searches! So if you’re looking for a job as a Rails developer but you don’t list Ruby or Rails anywhere in your profile, you may as well not be looking for a Rails dev job at all.
  5. Show off your work. Since you’re a smart engineer you will, of course, be adding a link to your GitHub from your LinkedIn (quite possibly in the Summary section). But remember, recruiters are skimming, and you want to make it easy for them to see what you’ve been working on! Add information about projects that you’ve done in – what else? – the Projects section. Make sure to include relevant details like languages, frameworks, and whether it was a solo project or something you worked on with other people. This is an easy way for the recruiter to get a better feel for your work. Not to mention all those keywords that you’re adding to the descriptions boost your chances of showing up in the right recruiter’s search!
  6. Show off your education! Remember how we said to fill out your entire profile? Yeah, that goes double for the Education section. Maybe you didn’t go to school for computer science or a related field. Or maybe you didn’t go to school at all. Not a problem! Chances are good that you’ve got some relevant coursework, certifications, or seminars under your belt that you could add to your profile. Recruiters like to see this because it’s a little confirmation for them that you’re qualified and competent enough to do the programming jobs they’re working on filling.
  7. Hide the competition. You know that sidebar on the right side of your LinkedIn profile that says “People also viewed” and has a list of other people? You’re going to want to hide that. Go to Settings, then Privacy, and change this to “No”. Because those other people that LinkedIn users are also looking at probably look a lot like you in terms of work or educational history and/or skills, meaning they show up in the same searches… meaning they’re the competition.
  8. Get endorsements. While you’re busy adding your own personal keywords to your Skills section, ask coworkers, classmates, clients, or acquaintances who are familiar with your work to endorse you for those skills. While this actually won’t rank you any higher in searches, it does give the recruiter who’s looking at your profile some very positive cues: Not only do you say that you know Sass, Emily who you worked with at your last company says you know Sass too!
    • Optional: Get recommendations. On a related note, it looks really good when you have recommendations from supervisors, clients, or teachers, especially if they reference specific projects you’ve worked on or things you’re really good at.
  9. Order your sections. By now, you’ve probably noticed that you can move the sections of your profile around. Use this to your advantage! If you just got out of school or you’re switching careers and you don’t have much work experience yet, move your Education and Projects sections up to the top. Been in the tech industry for ages? Keep your Experience section at the top.
  10. Personalize your URL. Which URL would you rather have a recruiter send to a hiring manager: linkedin.com/in/joe-cool-20a70070 or linkedin.com/in/josephcool? While this isn’t a make-or-break situation, having a good personal URL can give your profile an extra layer of professionalism and help build your personal brand.

Bonus: Don’t leave your LinkedIn profile picture blank! Recruiters respond to photos because it helps them create a more complete picture of a candidate in their minds. You don’t have to go get professional headshots unless you want to, but you should make sure that the photo is clear, well-lit, and work-appropriate (no bar-hopping pictures, please). And while you’re at it, add a banner picture too! It makes your profile look more professional, more complete, and more you. After all, what’s a billboard without an eye-catching image?

Doable, right? And once you’ve got your LinkedIn profile fully set up, it’s just a matter of upkeep: adding new jobs, certifications, and skills as you get them. Whether you’re actively looking for new tech jobs or just interested in seeing what comes your way, your personal LinkedIn billboard is a sure-fire way to make sure that recruiters see you for the talented, savvy programmer that you are.

On the job hunt? Read these articles too:

Resumes. Not fun, right? But they’re a necessary part of the job search process a lot of the time. Read Make Your Engineering Resume Stand Out to find out how to write a resume that really highlights your programming skills and experiences and makes you stand out from the crowd of applicants.

Once you’re on a company’s radar, there’s still a few steps before you make it to the in-person technical interview! First, you’re going to have to get past the recruiter phone screen. Read Ace Your Phone Screen By Telling Your Story, Pt. 1  to learn how to craft a personal elevator pitch that will resonate with recruiters. Then check out Ace Your Phone Screen By Telling Your Story, Pt. 2 for tips on how to wow the recruiter during the phone screen itself.

Tell us…

Have you ever found a job opportunity through LinkedIn? Have any great tips for making your LinkedIn profile stand out from other engineers’ profiles? Let us know on the forum!

Make Your Engineering Resume Stand Out

Make your engineering resume stand out

Love ’em or hate ’em (and we’re guessing you don’t love them), resumes are still part of the typical job search process. But putting your resume together can feel like one of the hardest parts of the whole thing! What should you include? What should you leave out? And do you need to include your home address? (Hint: City and state? Sure. Street address? NO.)

A typical engineering job posting can generate hundreds of applications. Only a relatively small percentage of those resumes ever make it in front of a recruiter – and the percentage of those applications that lead to interviews is tiny.

Make your resume stand out
This monkey is having trouble with his resume.

With odds like those, you need to ensure that your resume stands out.

Caity Barnes, recruiter extraordinaire at CodeSignal, is going to let you in on some insider knowledge: exactly what she looks for when she’s looking at resumes for engineering roles.

“In a lot of ways, writing a good engineering resume isn’t any different than writing any other kind of resume – make sure it’s well-formatted and that everything’s spelled right. But there are some really specific things that I look for when we’re trying to fill engineering roles.”

Format

  • Recruiters tend to scan resumes in a very specific order. They look at your geographic location, the last job you had, and your education, then the skills list. If they get past that point, that’s when they’ll dive into the other jobs that you’ve listed, and then at projects, achievements, and anything else you’ve included. 
  • If you try to get creative with formatting, fonts, or layout, Caity says that many recruiters will glance at it, decide that it’ll be too hard to scan, and toss it. Don’t let this happen to you! (This applies less if you’re applying for a design job, of course, but most CodeFighters are probably applying for engineering jobs.)
  • A one-page resume is best. If you just can’t cut it down that much, at least make sure that the most important stuff is on the first page. Many recruiters won’t make it further. Hook their attention by putting the most eye-catching stuff first.
  • For every job you list, make it easy for the recruiter to see the company’s name, your title, and how long you were there.
  • Bullet points are your friend! Instead of writing in paragraphs, use bullet points. They’re much easier for recruiters to scan.
  • Don’t talk about yourself in the third person – who are you, the Queen of England? Instead of saying “Bart designed and implemented a user feedback module using Django”, say “I designed and implemented…” Or better yet, since you’re using bullet points, say “Designed and implemented…”
  • In Caity’s opinion, it’s not necessary to include an objective statement at the top of your resume. They’re usually so generic that they’re not useful, and recruiters tend to gloss over them. If you do choose to include one, make it a statement about the kind of company culture that you’re looking for, instead of the kind of work you want to do.
  • Caity says, “I don’t care if you went to the best school in the country – your work experience is more important!” If you’re a very recent grad, you can put the Education section at the top, but otherwise put it at the bottom of the page.
  • Run your resume through spell check and grammar check, and get a few different people to proofread it. While it might seem unimportant – damn it, Jim, you’re an engineer, not an editor! – in some cases a typo or incomprehensible sentence might disqualify you immediately.
Jim, your resume is a mess.
Jim, your resume is a mess.

Content

  • Make sure that you include relevant keywords in your resume. Caity says that when a recruiter’s skimming, they need to be able to pick out important items immediately. And these keywords will change depending on the type of jobs you’re applying for. Think about the skills you’d be highlighting if you were applying for front end jobs vs Java engineering jobs.
  • Be thoughtful about how you include skill items like languages or frameworks. If you list Go, there’s a big difference having used it daily on the job vs having taken a 30 minute seminar on it 2 years ago. Recruiters want to be able to get a sense of how proficient you are. It’s also helpful if you can talk about what you did with these tools so that the recruiter can weight them accordingly.
  • Keep in mind that recruiters tend not to be super technical. From Caity: “We know more about impact than super technical details, so focus on business outcomes that you were a part of.” It’s also helpful to quantify your contributions. (For instance: Were you an individual contributor or part of a team? Was it a big or small team? How many concurrent users did your tool support? How much data did it process daily/weekly?)
  • Try to highlight solo projects or projects to which you contributed a lot, whether they’re for work or side projects. Creating something from scratch is huge and shows initiative, and it’s a great signal to recruiters that you’re a problem solver.
  • “Spell as much out for the recruiter as possible,” Caity says. They are not going to have time to do internet detective work, at least on the first pass. If you worked at a small startup, a short blurb about what the company is helpful. What industry is it in, what size is it, what sort of funding did it get? And if there’s a short tenure on your resume (less than a year), call it out and explain why you left – contract ended, company went under, etc.
  • Put links to your GitHub and your LinkedIn, because they give the recruiter a good overall picture of you. Including other social media can be a little tricker. What does your Twitter feed look like? If you tweet about work-appropriate and relevant topics, go for it. Otherwise, leave it off your resume. Same goes for your blog.
  • Speaking of GitHub, make sure that your profile is something that you’re proud of. Caity says that most recruiters will share it with their hiring managers or interviewing teams to review before taking next steps with candidates. So take some time to clean yours up. Repos that are your own work, rather than forks off other people’s, are good, as is a strong commit history.
  • For recent grads or students – if your GPA is lower than 3.5, don’t include it. If you’ve taken advanced courses on really relevant topics (especially if they were practical, rather than theoretical), you can list them in your Education section. And remember that class projects or coursework aren’t the same thing as side projects, and recruiters won’t weigh them the same.
  • Feel free to put your personality into the resume. What are your hobbies and special interests? Caity says that recruiters love being able to get a sense of who you are! But this stuff should go at the bottom of the page. Remember, recruiters scan top to bottom. You need to put all of the important, must-see stuff at the top of the page.

tl;dr

To boil all of these down into a few principles: Your resume should be clear, concise, and easy to digest. Keep the layout simple and easy to scan. In terms of content, include information that makes it so the recruiter doesn’t have to guess about your history or do extra digging on the internet.

Remember, recruiters aren’t maliciously ignoring your resume! They’re trying to optimize the number of resumes that they can look at for any given engineering job in order to quickly find the most qualified candidates. If you follow these guidelines, your resume stands a much better chance of making it into the “follow-up” pile.

Your resume looks amazing
Your resume looks amazing!

You’re reading an article about how to make your resume stand out, so my spidey senses tell me you might be looking for a job! Did you know that CodeSignal can connect you with hundreds of tech companies that are actively seeking qualified engineers – all with only one application? Head to codesignal.com/jobs and start finding that dream job today!  

Tell us…

Do you have any tried-and-true tips on how to make your resume stand out? Head over to the CodeSignal forum and let us know!