How can you use AI for screening candidates? Plus key advantages

How can you use AI for screening candidates? Plus key advantages

Artificial intelligence technology for candidate screening is one of the numerous topics we cover in the CareerBuilder whitepaper "AI in Hiring: 2024 Trends, Insights & Predictions." Partnering with Morning Consult, a global decision intelligence company, we sought to learn more about AI's role in and impact on modern recruiting by surveying 400 hiring decision-makers representing various industries, positions, experience levels, and company sizes. In doing so, we found that 53% of respondents already use AI tools to screen their candidates. 

For the 47% who don't, there may be a couple of reasons. Perhaps they aren't yet confident in the technology and are uncertain of its ability to produce optimal results. Maybe they feel that AI will strip the hiring process of its human element, a critical component for engaging applicants and promoting early retention. Whatever the case, such concerns may be both exaggerated and valid. Many of today's business leaders have successfully incorporated AI into their hiring processes, particularly to screen candidates. Here, we examine how you might use AI for screening candidates and the potential advantages thereof.

6 ways to use AI for screening candidates

Among AI's myriad uses, hiring decision-makers have focused largely on its applications for screening candidates for job openings. Below are six ways businesses have used AI tools to that end.

Analyzing resumes

Reading resumes was once a manual task. Human resources specialists would sift through hundreds or thousands of applications in search of candidates who best met the company's standards. It was a time-consuming, resource-intensive effort. The advent of applicant tracking systems helped expedite the task, but they would sometimes overlook qualified candidates because their resumes lacked specific jargon.

Enter AI, which took the bones of applicant tracking systems and fleshed them out into a smarter, more analytical entity. An AI-enhanced screening tool uses natural language processing and machine learning to go beyond simple keyword matching. It spots patterns in resumes to more accurately determine whether candidates are well suited to the position in question, then ranks candidates based on how well they meet the employer's needs. 

Assessing personalities

Personality assessments help employers determine whether someone may be a good cultural fit. By cultural fit, we mean how well the candidate aligns with the company's values and work style. This is important for several reasons. It not only promotes productivity and positive dynamics among the workforce but also streamlines onboarding and helps preserve the culture the company has worked to cultivate. Let's put it like this: To hire a poor cultural fit would be like installing a key part that isn't designed to fit within a particular machine.

Your company might cut the time and cost of personality assessment by using a test based on existing scales, but that would fail to deliver insights that cater to your specific needs. Creating a fully tailored scale would involve expert input and lots of operational resources, requiring more time and money. AI, however, presents an accessible, low-resource alternative. Today's AI-powered personality assessments integrate psychometric tests, chatbots, and gamified scenarios to develop a comprehensive understanding of each candidate's character and constitution, which you can measure against your company's standards to make a good cultural hire.

Testing skills

AI-powered skills testing works in much the same way as personality assessments. An appropriately equipped AI tool can design a test customized to the position and your company's needs, deliver the test at predetermined points in the applicant journey, score the test against your rubric, and analyze the results to extract deeper insights about the candidate's suitability for the job. Your AI tool may also allow you to assess candidates more objectively by minimizing human bias, a common problem among assessment creators who fail to recognize variables such as cultural and linguistic differences. 

"No longer must you spend days sifting through resumes, reading cover letters, calling past employers, or any of those common due diligence tasks of yore. Now it's nearly instantaneous, allowing your team to short-list the best candidates in the barest fraction of the time it used to take."

Conducting background checks

Background checks involve looking into a candidate's personal information, including their identity, education, and criminal record. The point is to verify the information the candidate has provided; otherwise, you'd have to rely entirely on the candidate as the sole source of truth, which increases your risk of taking on a liability. A falsified degree, for example, would suggest the candidate doesn't have the knowledge base required for the role in question. If you were to hire such a candidate, you'd have no assurance the candidate could perform their duties to standard.

Ordinarily, background checks are the domain of either a third-party specialist or the HR department. In either case, the process is time-consuming, which is unfortunate for a company hoping for a quick hire. That is, unless the company takes advantage of AI. Using an AI algorithm, you can instantly scan public and private records to confirm the information a candidate has provided. From there, it's a matter of deciding whether an inconsistency merits rejecting the candidate or flagging it for further questioning.

Checking references

A reference check serves the same purpose as a background check, but it relates specifically to a candidate's professional history. The old way of doing reference checks required considerable manual work: dialing numbers, typing out emails, and following up when a reference doesn't answer the first time around. Do that with all your potential hires, and you've got yourself an inefficient process. 

Even the most basic AI tech can cut the inefficiency by automating the drudgery. Leave it to your AI tool to dial the number, send a text message, or draft an email. Then rely on the same tool to summarize the information you receive, extract insights from it, and compare it to the details the candidate has provided.

Enhancing video interviews

The rise of remote technology has turned video interviews into a fixture of the hiring process, although many hiring decision-makers feel that a virtual environment causes them to miss out on nonverbal cues that can provide valuable insight into a candidate's personality. AI can bridge that gap, particularly by using sight and speech recognition technology to analyze key variables: body language, facial expressions, and vocal tone. All these data points can help determine whether a candidate is likely to be a good fit at your company.

Advantages of using AI to screen candidates

Perhaps the greatest advantage of using AI to screen candidates is that it can save you lots of time. No longer must you spend days sifting through resumes, reading cover letters, calling past employers, or any of those common due diligence tasks of yore. Now it's nearly instantaneous, allowing your team to short-list the best candidates in the barest fraction of the time it used to take. And by saving time, AI can help your organization hold onto its money, namely by freeing up your HR staff to conduct value-adding activities related to employee retention.

Furthermore, AI can create a fairer hiring environment by minimizing human bias. It essentially converts a candidate's documents and interactions into data — hard metrics that you can use to objectively evaluate their worthiness for a role — which largely eliminates any perceived need to inject the opinions and stances of individual hiring officials into the process.

As AI technology continues to develop, we expect to see more robust features that can help further streamline candidate screening and the hiring process altogether. For now, you can learn more about AI's sweeping and ongoing influence across industries by referring to "AI in Hiring: 2024 Trends, Insights & Predictions."

By the way, hiring decision-makers aren't the only ones using AI. We at CareerBuilder were one of the first employment solutions providers to leverage AI tools to improve the experience for both sides of the hiring dynamic. We offer features such as AI-enhanced job descriptions and AI-powered search-and-match to help you find the most relevant candidates. Discover how CareerBuilder's AI tools can streamline your recruitment efforts by reaching out to us at 773-527-3600.

More tips about finding the right candidates for your hiring needs:

Sourcing candidates can be challenging, but adhering to industry best practices can help you both attract and secure the talent you need.

Not all great candidates come from outside of the organization. Often, you can find them by looking internally

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