A new era of talent acquisition has dawned. With fewer people entering the workforce and more retiring than ever before, the frontline workforce shortages that began in the first wave of the pandemic are here to stay. Sectors such as healthcare, retail, logistics, energy, manufacturing, hospitality, public safety, and construction, which employ the majority of the frontline workforce, are especially affected. Human Resources (HR) technology incumbents, with their traditional focus on compliance, resource-intensive processes and legacy candidate journeys has been slow to adapt to new labor market realities.
At the same time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t just a distant prospect anymore. With the advent of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, AI is becoming an everyday part of work for millions. At Movo (https://movo.co), we are bridging this critical gap as first responders on the frontlines of Artificial Intelligence in HR, where traditional, mostly manual Talent Acquisition methods are giving way to AI-powered hiring and onboarding processes. By leveraging emerging AI technologies and massive datasets, our technology is automating hiring and onboarding, transforming the candidate experience, and dramatically improving employee outcomes where it most matters.
II. Mechanics of AI-Powered Hiring
Since the beginning of the pandemic, traditional Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) providers such as Bullhorn, Lever, Bamboo, Taleo, and Workday have done little to enhance their core offerings or make substantial improvements in mobile usability, candidate experience, or most importantly time-to-hire. Moreover, even if they were inclined to, these providers lack the mobile product necessary to drive trust, engagement and daily usage data with frontline workers, making it impossible for them to capture the objective high fidelity information needed to create intelligent systems. These granular insights into employee engagement, attendance, performance and retention are essential for model training, tuning, and enabling continuous advancements in the science of hiring.
In contrast, AI-powered talent acquisition automates and continually refines hiring, onboarding, and compliance processes. AI-powered hiring represents a paradigm shift – transitioning from manual decision-making based on human intuition and experience to data-driven decisions.
Thomas Davenport and Steven Miller, in their recent book ‘Working with AI’ (MIT, 2022), find that AI-powered decision-making is most effective in data-rich and complex scenarios. AI-powered hiring is thus particularly pertinent in the context of frontline work. With over 30 million frontline workers in the U.S. operating across hundreds of thousands of job sites, there is tremendous macro complexity and opportunity for AI to drive productivity gains and improvements in living standards through more precise employee allocation.
III. Transforming HR: The Potential and Challenges of AI Integration
HR technology powered by AI is not without its potential shortcomings. There is a risk of inherent biases in algorithms, particularly if the dataset is narrow and for example based on a single group of candidates or geographic region. At Movo, to mitigate these risks, we are building a massive cross-industry dataset. We began with more than 500,000 professionals with whom we’ve worked over the past two years, and we are continually backtesting for potential biases. Bigger data more often yields more accurate decisions with less potential for bias.
Another potential limitation of automation is that AI technology may initially struggle to predict soft skills and cultural fit. However, continual advancements in data capture, AI system design, and data management are addressing these issues, honing AI’s ability to evaluate more nuanced factors.
Traditional recruiting methods, while familiar, also have their fair share of limitations. They are schedule- and resource-intensive, which adds delays to the hiring timeline, and consequently lowers the overall quality of the talent pipeline as top candidates are hired by quicker competitors. In our research, time-to-hire is the single most important factor in hiring competitiveness after compensation, and this is where AI-powered hiring is a significant competitive advantage. By dramatically reducing time-to-hire — from weeks to mere minutes — AI ensures that high-quality candidates don’t defect before they can be closed.
In addition, traditional recruiting methods overly rely on work-experience, education and other self-reported resume and job board data. A case in point is Chad H. Van Iddekinge of Florida State and his colleagues, who in their 2019 meta-research, reviewed 81 previous academic papers on the effectiveness of prior work experience and found at best a weak correlation with job performance and employee retention (r-squared of 0.06 and 0.11 respectively) in the mostly frontline occupations studied.
Recruiters and hiring managers, like all humans, are also susceptible to unconscious bias in their decision-making. And no matter how amazing our working memory might be, none of us can access data on millions of talent decisions and outcomes in real time as effectively as today’s machine learning and AI technologies can.
At the same time we have to acknowledge that human recruiters possess unique skills that complement and continue to play a role in AI-powered hiring. As a McKinsey article on the future of work asserted, “While automation will eliminate very few occupations entirely in the next decade, it will affect portions of almost all jobs to a greater or lesser degree” (Chui et al., 2016). This is especially true in the context of HR. Hiring and onboarding team members excel at uniquely human tasks such as persuading top candidates who are on the fence about accepting an offer, or filling rare niche roles where data is limited. With an AI-powered system handling routine processes, HR professionals can focus on this higher-value work. AI-powered hiring isn’t zero-sum – it can also boost the value-add, not only replace, the human element of recruiting.
IV. The Future of Talent Acquisition: AI for Competitive Advantage
As we navigate the challenges of persistent labor shortages, AI-powered hiring and onboarding automation isn’t merely an innovation, it’s a necessity, particularly for high-volume employers. It’s revolutionizing talent acquisition by offering speed, scientific accuracy, scalability and cost-effectiveness that traditional methods can’t match. And providing a crucial edge for industries struggling with retention challenges and workforce shortages.
In the rapidly evolving world of talent acquisition, AI-powered hiring isn’t just the future—it’s the present. At Movo, we’ve witnessed and are helping to lead this transformation firsthand. We also understand and are uniquely qualified to navigate the change management aspects that often accompany the transformation to intelligent automation in high-volume HR. Clients have seen workforce productivity increase by 10-20% and a 50% improvement in early employee lifecycle engagement and retention vs traditional approaches. We invite you to explore how AI can revolutionize your talent processes. Isn’t it time to consider AI-powered hiring for your organization?