Kasey LynchJanuary 29, 2024
Topics: Talent Experience

Should I Apply Automation, Intelligence, or Both? How Job Zones Can Help HR.

Unlocking the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation is crucial for enhancing productivity and streamlining hiring efficiencies throughout an organization. In the dynamic landscape of technological advancements, the challenge lies in strategically deploying these innovations. 

Enter job zones — a crucial tool for determining which areas of your business will benefit the most from deploying AI and automation. Job zones offer clarity amid complexity, allowing businesses to make targeted technology decisions tailored to specific organizational needs. This strategic approach ensures that the implementation aligns with broader goals, offering a roadmap for informed choices. 

In this blog, we’ll dive into the different job zones as well as recommendations for AI applications for each category that can be applied to various industries. Keep reading to discover how technology adoption illuminates efficiencies and paves the way to unprecedented productivity. 

What are Job Zones?

The O*Net job zone classification groups jobs into five zones (1-5) based on the amount of education, training, or experience required for a given job — job zone 1 requires the least amount of preparation, and job zone five necessitates extensive preparation.

Every business is comprised of a collection of roles that fall into different job zones. However, not every organization will have roles that fall into every single category. This is one of the main reasons it’s important to understand the breakdown of job zone categories so you can maximize the impact of AI and automation in your existing business environment. 

Let’s take a closer look at each: 

Job Zone 1: Little or No Preparation Needed

Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate. Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. An experienced worker should be able to show you how to do the job.

Job Zone 2: Some Preparation Needed

These occupations usually require at least a high school diploma. Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone 3: Medium Preparation Needed

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree. Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone 4: Considerable Preparation Needed

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree. Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone 5: Extensive Preparation Needed

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree). Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

The Application of AI and Automation for Job Zones

Now that we’ve covered each job zone, let’s take a look at if and when AI and automation should be applied to each category. The general rule of thumb is that Job Zones 1 through 2 will require more automation, while Job Zones 4 and 5 will require more intelligence to be applied. 

Automation for Job Zones 1 and 2

For jobs in these zones, there is less of a requirement for hands-on interaction from recruiters or even hiring managers. The focus here is to reduce as much friction as possible for job seekers while hyper-personalizing their experience. For this reason, automation can be more heavily applied to the hiring process to deliver:

  • Configurable workflows and automations

  • Automated candidate screening software

  • Pre-employment assessments 

  • Automated interview scheduling tools

  • One-way interviews – including text, audio, and video options

  • A candidate-specific dashboard for job seekers

Intelligence for Job Zones 3, 4, and 5

For jobs that require more involvement by recruiters, managers, and interviewers,  automated tasks become less integral. AI can help streamline the process by creating insightful highlights of candidate information — available through a shared experience for the entire team of hiring decision-makers. 

Centralizing the details that matter helps hiring teams prioritize candidates based on context and enables them to make decisions based on the factors that are important to doing the job. Phenom Hiring Intelligence includes:

  • Fit Score — quickly illuminate potential candidates in the talent pipeline

  • AI Discovery — streamlines best-fit candidate identification

  • Phenom GenAI — accelerates actions and outreach with personalized messaging; allows drafting of interview guides to help remove bias from the interview process

  • AI Scheduling — removes friction when scheduling and rescheduling interviews 

  • Interview Intelligence — provides in-depth feedback, transcripts, and notes for each interview

  • Candidate Hub — keeps applicants informed and in-the-loop until a decision is made 

While the same automation tools can be used to help streamline the process, intelligence tools focus on increasing the amount of information that’s distilled from each candidate at every point of contact for faster and more informed decision-making processes.

4 Benefits of AI Across Job Zones 

Regardless of where you decide to apply AI and automation within your job zones, there are clear benefits to adopting these transformative technologies — especially for HR professionals. Here are four main benefits of AI application across all five job zones: 

1. Increased Efficiency

The integration of automation and AI within organizational processes leads to a significant boost in efficiency. Automation expedites routine tasks by optimizing workflow, streamlining operations, and reducing manual workload (this is ideal for recruiters). Additionally, AI-driven decision-making tools contribute to enhanced speed and accuracy in strategic choices, leveraging data-driven insights to inform and refine decision-making processes across all teams within the organization. 

Together, these technologies not only expedite everyday operations but also empower organizations to make informed, precise decisions at a pace that surpasses traditional methods, ultimately fostering a more agile and competitive environment.

2. Skill Augmentation

Skill augmentation takes center stage with the incorporation of AI and automation. AI plays a pivotal role in skill development by offering personalized learning experiences tailored to individual needs, facilitating continuous growth and adopting employee development tools. 

Automation, on the other hand, serves as a valuable complement to human capabilities, freeing individuals from mundane and repetitive tasks. This symbiotic relationship enables human workers to channel their efforts towards creative and complex endeavors, fostering an environment where the synergy between human intuition and technological efficiency results in elevated skill sets and innovative problem-solving approaches.

3. Cost Savings

Achieving significant cost savings becomes a tangible reality when incorporating AI-driven automation into organizational processes. Automation works wonders in slashing operational costs by minimizing the need for manual labor in routine tasks, boosting efficiency, and curbing labor-related expenses. 

Meanwhile, AI-powered analytics play a pivotal role in optimizing how resources are allocated, ensuring a smart and effective use of resources. This not only saves precious time but also translates into substantial monetary savings. Organizations can streamline their operations with precision, minimizing waste and maximizing returns on investments in both human and technological resources. 

4. Improved Accuracy

AI elevates precision in data analysis, significantly reducing errors in decision-making processes. Whether it involves navigating extensive datasets or extracting insights from intricate information, AI's capability to enhance accuracy becomes a cornerstone for reliable and scalable decision-making within HR operations.

Simultaneously, the automation of tasks ensures consistency in HR processes, minimizing variability and upholding a high standard of precision. The synergy of AI and automation presents businesses with a reliable solution, fostering accuracy in critical analytical endeavors and contributing to the seamless execution of HR functions.

Does every job zone need intelligent automation? 

Every job zone has unique challenges that AI and automation can help solve. Although the use cases we’ve covered shouldn’t be used as hard-and-fast rules to be followed, automation and intelligence can make a positive impact across all five job zones. 

What we’ve outlined above highlights the areas that Phenom customers have seen the most benefit from when deploying these new technologies. However, every business is different and it’s up to your leadership teams to decide exactly what you need to pull out of the technology toolbox that best fits your business needs.

Take a look at how AI helps hiring teams, or unlock the power of AI for talent management through workforce intelligence. 

Kasey Lynch

Kasey is a content marketing writer, focused on highlighting the importance of positive experiences. She's passionate about SEO strategy, collaboration, and data analytics. In her free time, she enjoys camping, cooking, exercising, and spending time with her loved ones — including her dog, Rocky. 

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