Special Report: Game Changers 2020

Sue Weekes showcases five game-changing products that are helping recruiters redefine their own and the industry’s future.

Changing the balance of power

A new breed of marketplaces is shifting power to the candidate in the recruitment process, giving them far more control over where and when they look for their next job.

They make use of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to help match them to roles, which can all be done from a smartphone. And such an approach aligns perfectly with the expectations of the generations entering the workforce.  

Killer product: MeetFrank, a “secret recruitment app” for employees to make themselves available on the job market on their own terms, without the risk of being discovered. It aims to democratise the job market, identifying for individuals who wants to hire them and how much they are willing to pay. Jobseekers remain entirely anonymous and the employer doesn’t receive the applicant’s personal information unless they declare interest in the job. Co-founder and CEO Kaarel Holm felt the industry lacked a good “talent side” experience.

“It is too much focused on solving employer-side problems. MeetFrank believes that our main customers are the app users (talent side), and we build our entire experience around that,” he says, explaining that AI (Frank in this case, a machine-learning and chatbot combo) is a friend that helps to highlight the best options for an individual from a large pool of data. “It reduces the risk of missing out on a good opportunity.”

First launched in Estonia, the company has become one of the fastest-growing recruitment/HR start-ups in Europe with more than 300,000 users and 5,000 business accounts. In December, it announced the closure of a €1.5m (£1.38m) funding round, and the company is using the capital to launch a feature that aims to open up international borders and help global talent relocate for work. “Currently the global talent pool is too biased towards location, instead of attracting the best talent,” says Holm. “We want to match people to companies that align with their views, values and aspirations.”  

Also look out for: Picked.ai is another marketplace-based product that uses AI and AR to bring talent together and aims to replace the CV with data-led profiles which, as well as qualifications and skills, showcase an individual’s personality traits.

The 30-second hire?

Hiring is getting faster and faster and some sectors demand it.

We are seeing the rise of solutions that are aligned to the platform economy with highly streamlined processes. According to research by the TUC and the Foundation for European Foundation Studies (FEPS), nearly one in 10 workers now do “platform work” at least once a week and a fifth of UK workers are notified digitally if work is waiting for them.  

Killer product: Hela Job, a highly disruptive platform that aims to instantly match jobseekers with jobs in sectors such as hospitality. Candidates are pre-qualified and interviewed, and then go on the platform to look for work. An employer posts a job, and the jobseeker can see the salary offered, location and travel time. They click ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ on their smartphone, and the first person to respond gets the job. Founder Ioannis Antypas claims a hire can be made in as little as 30 seconds.

As well as providing a fast and efficient recruitment tool, Antypas wants to address pain points that often exist in the temporary work market on both sides. For instance, candidates often spend several hours waiting to be interviewed, only to be asked a couple of questions. Meanwhile, location-tracking technology in the app enables the employer to check the individual is on their way to them, reducing risks around no-shows. It also provides both sides with a degree of accountability: if expectations fall short on either side, a reporting feature allows them to deliver feedback through the app. The product has been updated since its soft launch at the end of last year and is being rolled out in a number of UK cities and locations.

Antypas reports high demand for the app, which, he says, has grown since the COVID-19 outbreak as more people are being made redundant and then having to turn into other methods of employment. “The world of work is fundamental to human survival,” he says.  

Also look out for: Tempo, which says one of its hires was made in 27 minutes. On average, a hire takes less than a week. 

The rise of robo recruiting

Chatbots are in common use in recruitment but we are also seeing the rise of robo-recruiters that claim to be able to remove the human bias.

The jury may still be out on whether they can achieve this, but recruiters who ignore the power of AI and algorithms to make a positive impact on the recruiting world may find themselves behind the curve.  

Killer product: Tengai Unbiased grabbed the headlines last year as the recruiting robot who claims to remove cognitive bias from the recruitment process. Unlike the more chatbot-based robo-recruiters, Tengai, developed by Swedish recruitment company TNG and Furhat Robotics, looks like a robot, which also made some people question whether it was more of a gimmick than a real solution to a real problem. In March this year, though, Psychometrics Sweden AB finalised an independent validation study of Tengai in which it was judged “without human interference” and able to “conduct and measure standardised and objective blind interviews”.

Recruiters who ignore the power of AI and algorithms to make a positive impact on the recruiting world may find themselves behind the curve

Tengai is programmed with diversity & inclusion software to evaluate each applicant’s interview answer in an objective way. Unlike some humans, it doesn’t apply any previous knowledge about the candidate. Dr Anders Sjöberg, CEO at Psychometrics Sweden, said he was sceptical about using AI to mitigate unconscious bias, especially when developed to recreate human abilities, but added: “The validity study confirms that Tengai can ask questions that correlate to work performance and interpret the answers independently, without any help from humans. This means that Tengai is validated and should be used to achieve a more unbiased interview process,” said Sjöberg. “It is a first step towards replacing the traditional job interview with an unbiased robot interview – Tengai.”

Tengai made its first appointment in May last year when Swedish municipality Upplands-Bro used the robot in the recruitment of a strategic digital co-ordinator.  

Also look out for: VCV, an AI-powered platform that conducts automated screening calls and video interviews with face and voice recognition. It boasts impressive metrics, with its average recruitment process taking two minutes to screen 250 relevant CVs, three minutes to interview 50 candidates via phone, three minutes to schedule interviews via chatbot and 35 minutes to watch seven video interviews and select three candidates for the hiring manager.

Recruiting gameplay

The use of games to help assess candidates is far from new but they are starting to become a more embedded and trusted part of the recruitment process.

Moreover, advances in data modelling predictive analytics is helping employers to use them in a far more meaningful way.

Killer product: Benchmark.games wants to help employers create “an army of perfect hires”. It enables employers to evaluate the traits and abilities of their highest performing employees by asking them to play the games first. From this benchmark scores can be set for candidates. Games include Dotto, in which candidates are tasked with building a structure that aims to assess traits such as planning, problem-solving, goal orientation, self-reflection, endurance and capacity, and CurioCity, in which they navigate a car to reach a pre-set goal while facing unexpected challenges. The latter is designed to test candidates in areas such as analytical thinking, learning ability, flexibility, accuracy and speed.

The abilities and traits positions required will dictate which games are played and whether they need to focus on more than one game. Employers are provided with a shortlist of the candidates ranked on how close they came to the benchmark score by the top performers. They will also receive insights of the candidates’ on-the-job abilities.

Benchmark.games worked with Magyar Telekom to support a new HR strategy for retail sales to build a salesforce that focused on customer support. Magyar Telekom assessed more than 100 existing employees and the analyst team created a benchmark profile fit for the new requirements.

The approach helped the company decrease time-to-hire by 80% and significantly, customer satisfaction by 20%. It also reports that new team members became high performers within three months.  

Also look out for: HireVue, which combines AI, game-based challenges and video-interviewing to deliver what it claims is a scientifically validated approach to getting the best candidates.

The new currency of recruiting

Many in the recruitment sector are yet to recognise the potential for cryptocurrencies and the distributed ledger blockchain technology to disrupt the sector but there are an increasing number that do. Several blockchain-based platforms have emerged in the last two years, while specialist technical recruitment firms focused on the blockchain/crypto sector are becoming established, which is likely to further spread the use of cryptocurrencies as a new currency for some recruiters when it comes to reward.  

Killer product: HireVibes, co-founded by former agency and in-house recruiter Daniel Dunne, runs on the blockchain technology EOS.IO and uses the cryptocurrency HireVibe Tokens (HVTs) for rewards. HireVibes describes itself as a sourcing, referrals and employer branding tool that enables organisations to find the right people “in a social and cost-effective way”.

At the heart of HireVibes is what is called “a decentralised autonomous community” (DAC) made up of candidates, employers and other stakeholders but which anyone can join because it runs on a public blockchain rather than a private one.

Employers can set rewards to incentivise people to apply directly and refer suitable candidates to positions. Job listings are free, and the reward is only paid when a hire is made. Dunne always felt that a portion of the agency fee should go to the person doing the role. The minimum reward level is set at 6% with 3% of that going to the jobseeker, 2% to the HV community and 1% to charity because it was also important to the founders to build in corporate social responsibility.

HireVibes initially focused on roles in the cryptosector when it launched last year but it already has branched out into other sectors, with roles currently posted on the site including those in marketing, auditing, and even carpentry and joinery. It is extremely early days for communities like HireVibes but without doubt similar recruiting ecosystems will emerge.  

Also look out for: Zinc, a blockchain-based automated reference checking tool, which allows candidates to own and control their own reference data. Zinc tokens are redeemable for services on the platform.

Picture Credit | iStock

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