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Employers and investors learn about AI tools to accelerate recruitment

Due to a chronic shortage of workers, more and more employers are turning to artificial intelligence to boost recruiting efforts, seeking an edge in an increasingly fierce battle to fill vacant positions.

By automating previously manual tasks, such as screening applicants for basic qualifications, verifying professional qualifications and licenses, or scheduling follow-up interviews, employers hope to streamline the hiring process and recruit available workers beforehand. that the competitors do not move in.

Artificial intelligence capabilities, like conversational AI software, can speed up early exchanges of emails, texts, and other communications with candidates and quickly present strong candidates to recruiters. Other AI-enabled tools are used to speed up the employee onboarding process, orienting, training and setting up new hires with computers, work applications and corporate email accounts.

US Xpress Enterprises Trucking Company Inc.

uses conversational AI software to handle most of the early stages of the hiring process, including text exchanges with candidates, said Amanda Thompson, director of human resources for the company based in Chattanooga, Tennessee . When job seekers submit an application through a mobile device, the AI ​​tool automatically responds with a series of preliminary questions, she said.

Ms Thompson said supply chain disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath have resulted in increased demand for truckers and a shortage of available drivers. “It’s a highly competitive job market,” she said.

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

The Labor Department said Friday that hiring in the United States slowed in December, as employers created 199,000 new jobs, compared to an average monthly growth of 537,000 in 2021. Some economists said the slowdown reflects disability companies to find workers because the labor supply remains limited.

About 80% of the 400 HR and other business leaders surveyed this year by IT business group CompTIA said they expected AI to have a moderate to significant impact on HR and business. recruiting in the coming year. Most companies are already piloting or actively using AI in candidate selection, onboarding, skills assessment and career planning, CompTIA said.

This demand is attracting the attention of investors. Paradox Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-Based startup that developed the AI ​​recruiting tools used by US Xpress, last week announced a $ 200 million fundraiser that takes its valuation to around $ 1. $ 5 billion, Paradox said.

“People look at the old systems and say it’s not going to do it,” said Aaron Matos, chief executive of the company. “What we are removing is waiting,” said Mr. Matos.

Saleem Khaja, co-founder and COO of WorkLLama, an online platform that uses a conversational AI bot to connect job seekers with employers, said the changing workforce demographics Workforce means that talents are more comfortable – and often prefer – to engage with employers via messaging. applications rather than making a call.

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

Jason Pyle, president of recruiting firm Harvey Nash USA, said his company’s experience with AI recruiting tools was mixed. The tools, he said, tend to miss crucial aspects of successful placement of job applicants, such as understanding an employer’s broader goals or providing a sense of culture. ‘business. “Our experience is that these tools fail to deliver from start to finish,” Mr. Pyle said.

Some lawmakers, regulators and analysts have called for a more in-depth look at the use of AI software in candidate assessment. They say hiring biases 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 recruiting agencies to conduct a bias audit before using AI tools to screen candidates.

Paradox says its platform only handles the administrative side of the process and doesn’t make any hiring decisions or suggestions.

Write to Angus Loten at angus.loten@wsj.com

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