Diversity, new interviewing tools, data, and artificial intelligence are the four trends set to have the biggest impact on recruiting in the coming year, according to LinkedIn’s latest Global Recruiting Trends report. Based on a survey of over 9,000 talent leaders and hiring managers worldwide, along with a series of expert interviews, the report underscores the growing role of technology in shaping how companies meet their hiring goals, of which diversity is increasingly paramount. Nonetheless, while many HR leaders see these trends as important, the number of organizations fully acting on them lags far behind.
Diversity was the top trend by far, with 78 percent of respondents saying it was very or extremely important, though only 53 percent said their organizations had mostly or completely adopted diversity-oriented recruiting. In recent years, diversity has evolved from a compliance issue to a major driver of culture and performance, as more and more organizations recognize its bottom-line value. This shift was reflected in the LinkedIn report, with 62 percent of the companies surveyed saying they believed boosting diversity would have a positive impact on financial performance and 78 percent saying they were pursuing it to improve their culture. Additionally, 49 percent are looking to ensure that their workforce better reflects the diversity of their customer base.
Diversity was the only top trend identified in LinkedIn’s survey that wasn’t directly related to technology, but technology is definitely influencing how organizations are pursuing it. In the past year, we have seen the emergence of new software and tools to support diversity and inclusion. The aim of these tools is to remove the human error of unconscious bias from the recruiting process, but it’s important to be aware that automated processes can also develop built-in biases and end up replicating the very problem they are meant to solve. This is an issue we’ve been following in our research at CEB, now Gartner; CEB Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council members can read more of our insights on algorithmic bias here.
The development of new interview tools and techniques was identified as the second most important trend, with 56 percent saying it was important. The LinkedIn survey found that the most common areas where traditional interviews fail are assessing candidates’ soft skills (63 percent), understanding candidates’ weaknesses (57 percent), the biases of interviewers (42 percent), and the process taking too long (36 percent). The report highlights five new interviewing techniques, all enabled by technology, that aim to address these problems:
A group led by former Tinder CTO Ryan Ogle has launched Ripple, a mobile competitor to LinkedIn. Rather than try to match up with LinkedIn’s growing list of features, however, the new app is focused solely on networking and includes a number of interesting features.
For one, Ripple hopes to gain from its mobile capability is the opportunity to take advantage of proximity. Users will be able to find potential contacts nearby and also start networking events using the app. This new offering, which originated from an internal hackathon at Tinder and eventually spun off into its own company, will be able to draw information from your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles and also—perhaps controversially—allow you to take pictures of people using your smartphone and find their profiles.
Ripple will also employ the swipe function popularized by its dating app cousin, but Ogle insists that Tinder is a lot more than swiping and plans for Ripple to include more detailed profile information such as job history, education, etc. without going to a new screen.
“People have misconstrued why Tinder succeeded,” Ogle tells TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez. “Certainly, the swipe was interesting, engaging and fun. But the reasons why Tinder succeeded were far deeper than that. We thought a lot about the psychology of networking and the problems… what holds people back and prevents them from achieving what they want to achieve.”
Sifting through hundreds or even thousands of applications for one job opening is perhaps the most time-consuming task recruiters face in their day-to-day work. This process is seen as a promising target for automation, particularly in hiring for technical roles where a candidate’s mastery of specific skills can be more important than their credentials and experience. Accordingly, many new platforms have sprung up, offering gamified assessments that test candidates’ skills and AI-powered software whose creators say it can make more objective and less biased hiring decisions than human recruiters.
The emergence of these platforms could reshape recruiting significantly by bringing a new level of transparency and objectivity to the process, Ryan Craig, Managing Director of University Ventures, writes at TechCrunch. Craig sees these intermediaries, which he compares to the talent agencies that decide who gets to work where in Hollywood, as the builders of what he calls “online competency marketplaces”:
Competency marketplaces will help candidates understand the jobs and careers they’re most likely to match, and help employers identify candidates who are on track (or on a trajectory to match in the future) and manage long talent funnels in an automated way.
What will a competency marketplace look like?
Over the past few years, recruiting leaders have been struggling to find the best ways to apply a plethora of emerging technologies to their function. The challenge of keeping up with the pace of technological change, along with the potential headache of implementing new tools and the risk of making an expensive mistake, can make recruiting leaders understandably hesitant to take the plunge. Woo, a recruiting platform that matches employers with potential job candidates, is hoping to make it as easy as possible with the launch of Helena, an AI-powered headhunter that automates candidate sourcing and also communicates to the company on behalf of the candidate.
Woo, which has received over $11 million in funding, claims that 52 percent of candidates sourced by Helena advance to the interview stage, compared to about 20 percent of human-sourced candidates. It automatically finds the best candidates, matching them to the company and role description. Helena also makes the first outreach and then works on behalf of both the candidate and the company. In addition, the product includes data about how similar companies’ listings for similar roles are performing and how and why job seekers choose not to pursue an opportunity.
While Woo is currently trying to automate just the start of the recruiting process, its founder and CEO Liran Kotzer tells Forbes he believes they can automate the whole thing:
“The recruitment market is broken,” Kotzer says. “It’s a 200bn market in the US alone – and the problem we have is that 95 per cent of the effort and money spent in that market is wasted. When you have talent and employers trying to find each other – 95 per cent of both of their efforts are going on filtering each other. Even if they go to interview, most interviews end without a hire, so that’s another point where both parties filer each other out…
Google has released a series of updates to improve its Google for Jobs search offering in the US, the most notable of which is the addition of estimated salary range information using data from sites such as Glassdoor, Payscale, Paysa, and LinkedIn, based on job titles, location, and employer. Google for Jobs is also now available on tablets, after launching on desktop and mobile only, and job searchers are able to filter opportunities based on distance within 200 miles of a location, as well as apply for any jobs they find using the platform of their choice, when the listing appears on more than one. In addition, Google says users will soon be able to save job listings to view later and/or sync across their devices.
Google for Jobs launched for in late June, getting the search giant into the business of matching employers with prospective employees. The company said that it did not intend to compete with existing job boards, but rather serve as an aggregator of listings and establish itself as the first place someone would go to look for a job. To that end, according to Google, job listings from almost two-thirds of US employers have now appeared in search results since the service launched, and with this week’s improvements, their piece of the job-search pie is likely to grow, and Google for Jobs is still only available in the US.
The company has had a busy year in the job search space. Google launched the recruitment app Hire in July, and has also begun beta testing a cloud-based, AI-powered job discovery platform that supports over 100 languages. That product, called Cloud Job Discovery, is designed to help staffing agencies, job boards, career sites, and applicant-tracking systems link together to fill positions. Google says that the candidate-experience platform Jibe was able to use the service to increase high-quality job applicants for roles at Johnson & Johnson by 41 percent, as well as increase career-site clickthroughs by 45 percent.
In a peer benchmarking session at the ReimagineHR conference CEB, now Gartner, is hosting in Washington, DC, recruiting leaders representing hundreds of organizations expressed uncertainty about the role of technology in their function and its impact on their work.
Previous conversations we have had with recruiting leaders have suggested that technology investments were mostly focused on the front end of the process—sourcing and branding—but participants in Wednesday afternoon’s session said managing the talent pool was actually the top priority for technology investment, with sourcing second and branding lagging far behind. Those who chose talent pool management were primarily high-volume recruiters looking for a more efficient way to sift through thousands of applicants per open position.
When asked if they thought applying text analysis to job descriptions would have a demonstrable effect on hiring for diversity, recruiting leaders were skeptical. Only 14 percent believed it could, while the rest said no or that they were unsure. Textio and SAP are working on text analytics solutions to aid diversity efforts, but this uncertainty from their potential customer base underscores the idea that technology is not a cure-all for diversity.
Jopwell, a recruiting startup focused on connecting hiring managers with racially diverse candidates, has raised a $7.5 million Series A funding round led by Cue Ball Capital, Megan Rose Dickey notes at TechCrunch, giving it a total war chest of $11.75 million:
Founded by Porter Braswell and Ryan Williams, Jopwell has an impressive group of investors, including Magic Johnson Enterprises, Andreessen Horowitz, Kapor Capital and Joe Montana. This new round of funding will enable Jopwell to scale and take on more companies, Braswell and Williams told me. Jopwell’s primary focus has been on Fortune 1000 companies, but over the past two years or so, the company has seen demand from younger companies.
VentureBeat’s Bérénice Magistretti takes a closer look at the company and its product:
Candidates create a profile on the Jopwell website, much like on other job recruiting sites — the difference being that they are asked to select their racial identity. … Once the profile has been created, the system uses algorithms that analyze a candidate’s resume, skills, past experiences, and preferences, thus allowing Jopwell to tailor the pool of qualified applicants for hiring managers at partner companies. These include Airbnb, BlackRock, Facebook, LinkedIn, Lyft, Pinterest, and the NBA (Magic Johnson is an investor in Jopwell).