There is no shortage of talent acquisition technology vendors who claim to have created tools that solve the challenge of sourcing the best candidates. These vendors profess machine learning magic, gamification unicorns and other new-next tools that will miraculously discover candidate gold. Right? But, has sourcing innovation missed a key factor? Has the digitalization of recruiting forgotten that applicants are humans and human behavior is predictable?
The best candidates are either currently working for you, they have worked for you in the past, or they are working for your competitors. These are the illusive passive candidates. What makes passives illusive and hard to catch is that recruiters do not know when to pounce, when to engage. How could a recruiter possibly know when a human applicant is most likely to convert to an active status?
There are useful passive sourcing strategies like using CRM tools to build high-potential talent pools and leverage employment brand marketing and job matching agents to keep these leads warm. But ultimately it is a timing game. It’s sort of like selling tires. We all need them, but when we need them is the tire manufacturers marketing challenge. If a tire company could predict when we need a new set, and use that slice in time to sell them to us in a highly-personalized way, we would no longer see the endless tire ads in circulars that clog our mailboxes. Employment branding and recruitment marketing is no different.
Candidate sourcing nirvana would be if a company had the most current and accurate representation of the candidate. And, behavioral insights into when the candidate might convert into an active status. Then, the pounce would be efficient.
Facebook has mastered this. How many times have you searched for a hotel room on Expedia and then suddenly an ad pops up in your Facebook newsfeed for that very vacation spot? It’s a little frightening. What about ‘checking in’ on Facebook in a location and a flurry of relevant restaurant ads populate your newsfeed? Facebook is using AI and machine learning along with your digital behavior to predict the timing of when to present you with relevant advertising. What if companies could do the same with passive candidates as part of their talent acquisition strategy? Soon they will be able to. In fact, some companies are already doing it now.
This is a result of AI and machine learning technologies becoming more embedded into the talent acquisition cycle. Intuitive chatbots use natural language processing to personalize the candidate experience. Some of these AI technologies capture candidate behavior, know what and when candidates have previously searched, and use these ‘behavioral insights’ to provide relevant data to the candidates, in real time.
The following illustrates how these technologies work. Imagine a candidate revisits a company career site after a previous visit. AI technology can immediately recognize the candidate, use their profile information and immediately present chatbots that recommend jobs using natural language processing to actively communicate with the candidate. It might look a bit like this: