The Paradox of AI: How it creates a winning candidate experience

AI is transforming recruitment by enhancing the candidate experience, making it more efficient and engaging, and ultimately more human.
By: | July 3, 2024

The war for talent is fiercer than ever. Organisations are vying for the best candidates, and a positive candidate experience is no longer a nicety – it is a necessity. Here is the surprising truth: AI, often seen as cold and impersonal technology, can be the key to unlocking a more human and engaging candidate experience.

This might seem counterintuitive. After all, AI is designed to automate tasks, which may lead one to think it would replace human interaction. But Paradox, a leader in conversational recruiting software, has proven that AI technology can actually augment recruiters’ abilities and empower them, not replace them.

A recent Aptitude Research report revealed that 62% of candidates believe AI makes their experience more human. This might seem paradoxical, but the explanation is straightforward. Human recruiters, despite their best efforts, often struggle with maintaining consistent communication due to high volumes of applicants and limited time. This lack of communication is a significant source of frustration for candidates. AI, particularly conversational AI, addresses this gap by providing timely, accurate, and consistent interactions.

By automating stages such as screening and interview scheduling, AI ensures that candidates receive prompt responses and relevant information 24/7. This constant availability significantly reduces the frustration associated with long waiting times and unclear communication, making the process smoother and more engaging. Consequently, recruiters can focus on more critical tasks that require a personal touch, such as conducting interviews and making final hiring decisions.

A positive start leads to a lasting impact

The 2023 CandE Benchmark Research Report highlighted speed as a crucial factor in enhancing the candidate experience. Candidates highly value a streamlined and fast application process, which AI effectively provides. Top-performing organisations in the report were engaging 22% more candidates using AI assistants, demonstrating the technology’s ability to handle large volumes of applicants efficiently.

AI-driven processes also respect candidates’ time, which is paramount. The number one reason candidates drop off from the hiring process is the perception that their time is disrespected. AI mitigates this issue by ensuring candidates receive timely updates and quick resolutions to their queries. This respect for candidates’ time not only improves their experience but also increases the likelihood of them reapplying in the future, even if they are not selected initially.

Paradox conversational AI assistant, Olivia, addresses these communication challenges, allowing organisations to manage candidate interactions at scale. Olivia engages candidates around the clock, ensuring a consistent and smooth experience regardless of the time of day. This AI assistant excels in answering candidates’ questions, screening candidates for basic requirements, scheduling interviews automatically, sending interview preparations, reminders, next steps, and status updates, keeping the hiring process efficient and candidate-centric.

Top-performing organisations like McDonald’s, Singtel, UOB, Scoot, and General Motors leverage Olivia to maintain high levels of engagement. Some of these organisations even use text messages and WhatsApp for added accessibility and convenience, further enhancing the candidate experience. While not every candidate will secure the job, AI ensures that every candidate has a positive experience with Olivia. By automating routine tasks, organisations can offer a faster, more transparent, and more engaging experience. This approach not only enhances candidate satisfaction but also strengthens the company’s employer brand.

A positive candidate experience has far-reaching implications beyond the hiring phase. Aptitude Research found that organisations using AI to enhance their recruitment processes are twice as likely to improve their Net Promoter Score (NPS), a key metric of candidate satisfaction. Furthermore, these organisations are three times more likely to improve employee retention.

READ MORE: Five ways organisations can use AI to supercharge interview scheduling

The transition from candidate to employee is smoother when the initial recruitment experience is positive. Candidates who feel valued and respected during the hiring process are more likely to carry those positive sentiments into their new roles. Additionally, through transparent and interactive communication, AI helps redirect candidates to roles that are better suited to their skills and aspirations. This self-screening process leads to better job matches, increasing overall job satisfaction and retention.

The human touch, powered by automation

Implementing AI in recruitment does not mean replacing human recruiters but rather augmenting their capabilities. AI assistants can handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as scheduling and rescheduling interviews, sending interview reminders, providing status updates, and answering common queries. This automation ensures that candidates receive timely and accurate information without burdening recruiters.

Organisations that leverage AI in talent acquisition have reported improvements in their candidate experience and higher employee retention and satisfaction rates. As the adoption of AI in recruitment grows, this technology is proving to be more than just a tool for efficiency; it also aids in fostering meaningful human connections in the hiring process.

By adopting AI solutions like Paradox’s Olivia, organisations can ensure that every candidate, whether successful or not, feels valued and respected. This leads to a more positive perception of the organisation and contributes to building a stronger talent pipeline for the future.

For more news and analysis on the latest HR and workforce trends in Asia, subscribe to HRM Asia and be part of the region’s largest HR community!