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Don’t Keep Your Candidates in the Dark: Adopting a Glass-Box Approach to Hiring Technology

This article was originally published on Recruiter.com on February 26, 2020.

Anyone who has applied for a job has spent part of the process waiting and worrying: Will I get the position? How am I being measured against other candidates? How will I decide if the company and role are the right fit for me?

And there’s a lot of time for all that worrying. The average hiring process takes 23.8 days in the US, but that number can vary widely based on location and industry. For example, government jobs take 53.8 days, while aerospace and defense jobs take 32.6 days.

One can see why employers would want to take their time with hiring. Nowadays, many positions require complex skill sets that are difficult to quantify, and companies face increased pressure to ensure they get the right hire on the first try.

But employers are also increasingly empowered by modern artificial intelligence (AI) hiring tools that can help speed up the process and determine the most qualified candidate. AI’s predictive capabilities can offer an unbiased approach to identifying the best fit, making AI a valuable asset for companies looking to save both time and money.

Unfortunately, the public has a generally hazy understanding of how AI works. For example, while nearly half of Americans report they are unfamiliar with AI, 85 percent also report using digital products that rely on AI like navigation apps. That lack of understanding persists in the HR world, and many companies are using AI tools in a black box during the hiring process.

Candidates may be informed that AI is used, but they may not know how its predictions are being made. The vendors who provide hiring tech often perpetuate the confusion by failing to educate their customers about the AI behind candidate-facing tools. It’s a frustrating, confusing process, and it doesn’t bode well for your hiring efforts. Fifty-eight percent of US workers say they want a company to communicate with them clearly and regularly during the hiring process. Obscure AI tools definitely do not make for a transparent, positive candidate experience.

It’s time for companies to increase transparency around their AI-based hiring processes. It’s time to trade the black box for a glass box.

Why Are Companies Hiring With AI?

The modern hiring process can drag on for weeks, and every day that passes is another day that employees are overburdened and company goals go unmet.

However, hiring decisions can’t be made hastily. Organizations spend an average of $4,125 hiring each new employee. Employers understandably want to take every step to ensure the investment is a sound one.

AI brings a measure of accuracy into the hiring process by applying data science to help employers better understand how candidates will perform on the job. That insight is critical, but AI shouldn’t be a candidate’s only interaction with your organization.

Instead, employers need to balance AI tools with the human touch. Let automated systems perform tasks that don’t require emotional intelligence, like vetting candidates’ skills and experience, while allowing human employees to build genuine relationships with skilled prospects during interviews.

Moving to a Glass-Box Mindset

If the black-box mindset frustrates candidates and hinders the hiring process, why does it exist in the first place?

Organizations have long feared the repercussions of being too transparent with potential hires. Explaining to a candidate why they were not hired could lead to lawsuits, negative online reviews, and other damages to a company’s operations or reputation.

However, AI can help mitigate the risks of providing candidate feedback. Companies that use AI can back up their decisions with the AI’s data analytics, allowing both candidates and recruiters to see the real data that corresponds to a mutual fit.

Organizations understand AI’s role in the hiring process, but how can they communicate that role to candidates?

It starts with helping candidates understand the mix of data that informs AI’s operations. A good hiring software provider can help your company choose which information to communicate to hires, and when and how to do so. You should work with a vendor that maintains open communication with clients around how hiring scores are developed and what candidate data is measured. You can then choose what information, and how much, to relay to your candidates as they move through the hiring process.

Organizations must ensure recruiting tech benefits candidates, not just employers. Here’s where your company will pull back the curtains and put the glass-box mindset into action. Leadership, HR, and IT should work together to develop open standards around both hiring and data usage that are transparent, verifiable, reproducible, and publishable.

While AI is a big buzzword right now, the technology is more than just trendy terminology. AI helps companies develop hiring solutions that work. Add a new layer of transparency into the hiring process, and you’ll be rewarded with a candidate experience that creates trust and yields hires who are truly right for each role.

Eric Sydell is the EVP of innovation at Modern Hire.