“ AI is a game-changer for recruiters as it not only helps them to improve their productivity and create more opportunities but also enables them to focus on building meaningful relationships with candidates and hiring managers,” says Mahe Bayireddi, CEO, Phenom, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: What are the current challenges in today’s Talent lifecycle management?
Mahe Bayireddi: Accelerating virtual recruiting, establishing employee agility, and preparing for talent recovery are three of the most crucial needs CHROs have been tasked to address in the wake of the pandemic’s drastically altered talent landscape. Amid record-breaking unemployment and the need for new skills, organizations must adapt or be at a severe disadvantage in the talent market.
From my personal experience working with talent leaders across all industries, they have been navigating the following central challenges since the pandemic hit: rapidly hiring to keep pace with demand and expectations, rehiring previously furloughed employees, redistributing talent within the business and planning for post-pandemic recovery.
For employers that need to hire immediately, scaling talent acquisition efforts virtually (often with less staff) is the main concern. For those in a hiring freeze, mobilizing existing employees from stagnant areas of the business to fill gaps in growing or critical sectors is a primary focus. And for companies who needed to furlough or lay off, a principal challenge is to keep the former employees engaged for when the company is ready to rehire — all while maintaining a positive employer brand.
Fortunately, advances in technology, AI, and automation make it possible for companies to meet all of these challenges head-on.
ET Bureau: How can technologies such as AI and Machine Learning help to bridge the digital divide in the current Talent lifecycle management platform?
Mahe Bayireddi: Artificial intelligence (AI) strengthens the talent experience for all stakeholders involved: candidates, recruiters, employees, and managers.
Enterprises accelerating virtual hiring as a result of the pandemic are realizing how critical the automation of repetitive, time-consuming tasks like candidate screening or interview scheduling are, especially when manpower is limited. AI is a game-changer for recruiters as it not only helps them to improve their productivity and create more opportunities but also enables them to focus on building meaningful relationships with candidates and hiring managers.
Another essential resource companies are using to build connections is a chatbot infused with AI and machine learning. These AI-driven chatbots automate conversations and specific recruiting activities, such as sourcing and answering candidate FAQs, for an improved experience.
Meanwhile, organizations focusing on agility and flexibility can turn to AI to maximize their employee experience and internal mobility capabilities. AI technology, which strikes into an enterprise’s internal talent marketplace, can efficiently match current staff to suitable positions on the basis of their current skills and “fit” score, enabling employers to swiftly fill gaps for in-demand areas.
AI can also empower employees (many who have new pandemic-precipitated goals) with up skilling and learning and development opportunities. By identifying an employee’s current and emerging skills—as well as any skills gaps—AI plays a huge role in career trajectory.
This technology matches employees with “gigs” (smaller project-based work) to give them the targeted, tactical experience they need to progress in their growth. From a future perspective, the same capabilities of skills gap analysis, as well as fit scoring, can help them to navigate the complexities of career pathing and succession planning to retain valuable talent and future-proof workforces.
For candidates, personalization and ease of finding the right job faster are more important than ever. AI provides candidates with tailored job recommendations based on skills, experience, resume, location, and more.
At the same time, other advances in HR technology, including SMS and video capabilities, make the entire candidate experience — from applying and scheduling to virtual interviews and onboarding — as seamless and engaging as possible, considering the circumstances.
ET Bureau: According to you, what technology stacks can help enterprises to drive personalization to deliver an intuitive experience to stakeholders?
Mahe Bayireddi: AI and machine learning can deliver dynamic 1-to-1 personalization throughout an entire platform, but it’s critical that systems are tightly integrated and data can be leveraged to its fullest potential. For example, enterprises can use a conversational chatbot to talk to candidates, gather information, and help them discover the right job.
The hiring department then can take all the data about job seekers and personalize their experience on the entire career site. That data then contributes to candidate fit scoring and AI-powered insights that recruiters can engage with when sourcing talent. If the chatbot didn’t integrate with these other systems, the personalization would stop at the chatbot.
While individual elements play a critical role in strengthening the talent experience, it’s also important to ensure the data is interconnected to deliver a modern, consumer-like experience.
ET Bureau: While using AI tools, how can enterprises ensure that they recruit candidates without being biased towards a particular gender or race?
Mahe Bayireddi: Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are top of mind for HR right now, and more organizations are seeking to address and diminish bias in the recruiting and hiring process. AI’s role is to reduce it as much as possible by qualifying people the right way — based on the skills and experience required for the job, rather than details that may introduce an unfair advantage or disadvantage.
AI can also lend guidance to talent management by analyzing talent data and trends in hiring to help identify areas that could benefit from more diverse sourcing of talent. The key, however, is responsible oversight by talent leaders.
ET Bureau: Do you think an Algorithm can be a good judge of the non-measurable abilities of candidates?
Mahe Bayireddi: Algorithms can certainly recommend a candidate’s fit based on tangible skills and experience, as well as soft skills, like leadership and effective communication. This helps talent acquisition teams automate the screening and discovery of best-fit candidates at scale.
At its core, hiring is still a human function. AI can illuminate a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to certain skills and qualifications, as well as their work history, but AI alone cannot be used as a selection procedure. Recruiters and hiring managers should continue to use their judgment when evaluating the full scope of a candidate’s non-measurable abilities and the likelihood of being a culture add.
Mahe Bayireddi is the CEO of one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies, Phenom. As a leader in the HR technology space, Phenom is known for pioneering the first and only Talent Experience Management (TXM) Platform. Bayireddi is a passionate entrepreneur leading Phenom in the mission to help a billion people find the right job opportunity. He previously co-founded several successful technology companies, including SnipSnap, BijaHealth, and BHSP Nexus Software.