Employers, Investors Take Notice of AI Tools to Speed Job Recruitment

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Companies are looking for an edge in hiring through artificial intelligence and automation technology

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Artificial-intelligence capabilities, such as conversational AI software, can speed up initial email, text, and other communications with applicants and quickly get strong candidates in front of recruiters. Other AI-enabled tools are being used to expedite the employee onboarding process, with new employees being oriented, trained and set up with computers, business apps and corporate email accounts.

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Trucking Company US Express Enterprises Inc.

Amanda Thompson, chief people officer for the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based business that uses conversational AI software to handle most of the initial stages of the hiring process, including text exchanges with job applicants. When job seekers submit applications via mobile device, the AI ​​tool automatically answers with a series of initial questions, she said.

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Ms Thompson said the supply-chain disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have led to a growing demand for truck drivers and a shortage of available drivers. “It’s a highly competitive labor market,” she said.

“If drivers are sitting at a truck stop or at home, and they’re ready to apply for a job, we want to make it as easy as possible,” she said.

The Labor Department said Friday that US hiring slowed in December, with employers adding 199,000 new jobs, while the average monthly job growth in 2021 stood at 537,000. Some economists said the slowdown reflected companies’ inability to find workers as the labor supply remained tight.

Nearly 80% of 400 HR and other corporate executives surveyed this year by information-technology trade group CompTIA said they expect AI to have a moderate to significant impact on human resources and recruitment in the coming year. Comptia said most companies are operating or actively using AI in candidate screening, onboarding, qualification assessment and career planning.

This demand is attracting the attention of investors. Paradox Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based startup that develops AI recruiting tools used by US Express, last week announced a $200 million fundraising round, raising its valuation to nearly $1.5 billion. Lets, Paradox said.

“People are looking at the old system and saying it’s not going to be perfect,” said company chief executive Aaron Matos. “What we take out is the wait,” said Mr. Matos.

Salim Khaja, co-founder and chief operating officer of Workalma, an online platform that uses a conversational AI bot to connect job seekers with employers, said shifting workforce demographics means more talent is available. Is comfortable – and often likes – connecting with employers via messaging apps rather than calling.

US Express, which operates a fleet of more than 6,500 trucks and 13,000 trailers, said it experienced a 40% increase in the number of employees experienced in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2020. The company currently has over 7,000 drivers, including full-time employees and independent contractors. Ms Thompson said, Paradox’s AI platform has helped reduce the time it takes to get a new driver through the application process, and on the company’s payroll, from several weeks or months to a week.

Jason Pyle, president of staffing firm Harvey Nash USA, said his company’s experience with AI recruitment tools has been mixed. The tools, he said, miss important aspects of successfully placing job candidates, such as understanding an employer’s broad goals or offering a sense of the company culture. “Our experience is that these tools fall short of end-to-end delivery,” said Mr. Pyle.

Some lawmakers, regulators and analysts have called for closer scrutiny of the use of AI software in assessing job candidates. They say that hiring bias can result from unintentional racial or gender stereotypes buried in data sets and algorithms.

The New York City Council passed a bill in November requiring employers and staffing agencies to conduct a bias audit before using AI tools to screen job candidates.

Paradox says that its forum only handles the administrative side of the process and does not make recruitment decisions or suggestions.

Write Angus Loten at [email protected]

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