Maggie BleharAugust 3, 2023
Topics: Candidate Experience

Using Hiring Intelligence and Automation to Optimize the Interview Process

Recruiters and hiring managers have historically moved through the candidate screening and interviewing process at a deliberate but inconsistent pace, taking weeks or even months to make hiring decisions.

Recently, Phenom partnered with Talent Board to survey approximately 300 TA leaders and professionals regarding candidate screening, scheduling, and interviewing processes. The survey explored the use of recruiting, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation technologies to streamline these processes, enhance efficiencies, and improve the experiences of candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board President, and John Harrington, Director of Product Marketing at Phenom, hosted a webinar to discuss the results of the survey and share key takeaways from the report. You can watch it on-demand here or read on for the highlights.

To read the full “State of Automated Interview Management: 2023 Survey Reportclick here.

Biggest Challenges For TA Teams

This survey revealed where companies are succeeding and where they can improve throughout the interview process.

Here were three of the biggest challenges:

1. The most time-consuming tasks for TA teams were coordinating and reviewing candidate pools with hiring managers (50%), coordinating interview schedules (50%), and internal screening of candidate pools (40%).

“It’s no coincidence that the top two on the list start with the word ‘coordinating,’” said Harrington. “One of the keys behind the research is ‘how do you spend less time coordinating and more time doing strategic work and focusing on the candidates?’ When you aren’t infusing enough automation in the process, you aren’t the most efficient you can be.” This is a common experience for recruiters, but one that can be alleviated with the right technology.

2. The biggest screening challenges for TA teams were finding quality candidates quickly (57%), sorting through a large volume of candidates (48%), and matching reported skills to job descriptions (45%).

“A lot of this is manual activity when you’re not relying on data or contextually relevant takeaways being brought to the surface by AI,” said Harrington. This can lead to inefficiencies in the search and review process. Grossman agreed, adding that most companies that are experiencing these challenges are underutilizing their tech stacks.

3. The majority of TA teams (44%) take an average of 2-3 working days to schedule an interview, while 18% take 1 working day, and 14% take 4-5 working days.

While these averages certainly vary by job type, the majority said it takes 2-3 working days to schedule an interview. While this is not an excessive length of time, in a competitive environment it could be the difference between capturing or losing talent. “If you’re vying for the best talent, multiplied by the number of interviews taking place and the amount of interactions that need to happen with a candidate… know that [the candidate is] not just talking to you,” Harrington warned. “That number needs to be trimmed down to one working day. That’s the new standard.”

Grossman agreed, saying, “Time is a killer. You’re going to lose candidates waiting that long.”

Factors Hindering Recruiter Productivity

There are many factors that prevent recruiters from being as successful as they could be. When asked if they were making progress against their hiring goals, only 32% of those surveyed said “yes, for all jobs in all locations.” Here are some of the issues impeding hiring goal success:

  • Unrealistic or overly aggressive goals

  • Broken application, assessments, or interviewing processes

  • Subpar or neglected employee referral programs

  • Insufficient or ineffective employer branding and recruitment marketing materials that fail to accurately convey the company’s mission, culture, and commitment to its employees

  • Lack of recruiting technologies that automate repetitive manual processes

  • Disjointed point solutions that impede efficient collaboration among all talent stakeholders

However, technology like one-way interviews and AI scheduling can streamline the process and make both candidate and recruiter experiences better. Let’s look further into both.

Related reading: Top Tech to Boost Recruiter Efficiency

Using Video Technology to Screen Potential Hires

When asked if they use video technology — like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Facetime, and one-way interviews — to screen potential hires, 41% of participants said yes, 32% said no, and 23% were unsure. When asked how they’re using video technology, 47% said for two-way interviews, 26% said for pre-recorded interviews, and 26% said for both. These results show that video is an emerging technology that is expected to grow, especially since younger candidates (Millennials and Gen Z) prefer it. And as TA professionals get used to emerging tech, its use will increase.

“Regardless of whether it's in person or live virtual... the number one negative reason why candidates withdraw their application is that they believe their time is disrespected in the recruiting process, in particular in the interview stage,” said Grossman. This is why it’s crucial to keep things on time, keep people moving, and keep a structured interview process in place. Video technology helps to do all three.

Here are a few other benefits reported from the use of one-way text, audio, and video interviews:

  • A major supermarket chain completed more than 24,000 one-way interviews via video, saving over 4,000 hours for their recruiters

  • A tech company completed more than 34,000 one-way interviews via video, saving over 5,000 recruiter hours

  • A major bank completed more than 14,000 one-way interviews via video, saving nearly 2,500 recruiter hours

Related reading: Phenom Transforms Recruiter Efficiency with AI, Automation and Video

How AI Scheduling Boosts Efficiency

Efficiently coordinating the schedules of candidates and hiring team members was the biggest interview scheduling challenge for our participants. When asked how they schedule interviews, 65% of participants said they manually coordinated interviews, 31% used an AI scheduling tool, and 4% said “other.”

As we saw with screening, participants’ satisfaction ratings related to their speed and efficiency rose with the use of smart recruiting technologies during interview scheduling. AI scheduling tools reduce or eliminate manual tasks and allow recruiters to oversee the scheduling process, getting involved only when they deem it necessary or beneficial. They also keep screening and scheduling going 24/7 — a huge advantage in a tight, competitive labor market and one that conveys an employer’s respect for candidates and their time.

The less time it takes to schedule interviews, the better. The ultimate time-saver — scheduling interviews in real time — provides a distinct advantage over having to continually revisit calendars. Phenom has seen companies that use its automated scheduling tool achieve strong results, including:

  • A major manufacturing company saved 11,000 hours, with 61% of interviews booked in an hour and another 33% within one day

  • A major transportation company saved 22,350 hours, with 40% of interviews booked in an hour and 41% within one day

  • A tech company increased its speed to hire by 76% and cut 65 days off the recruiting process

Related reading: AI Scheduling: A Must-Have For Your TA Teams

Utilizing Real-Time Feedback Systems

The longer it takes to collect feedback after an interview, “the more likely you are to potentially lose that candidate, especially for hard to fill positions,” Grossman said. When asked if hiring managers have access to tools and systems of record that can provide recruiting teams real-time feedback on candidates, almost 1/3 said no.

It’s imperative for managers to be communicating internally throughout the interview process via technology that keeps everyone on the same page in a short period of time. So how does your team coordinate, communicate, and get responses to questions regarding candidates in a timely fashion?

“If you have the ability to leave a conversation and have that info already documented, you're putting yourself in a position to make a faster decision and create a better experience for your team and the candidate,” said Harrington. Real-time feedback systems help reduce steps and streamline interviews, because every single participant's feedback matters.

Key Takeaways

Ultimately, when it comes to implementing recruiting automation technology into your interview process, the report found:

  • 32% said they were on track with their hiring goals. When chatbots, texting, AI-powered interview scheduling, video interviewing, and real-time feedback systems are utilized, participants hit some or all of their hiring goals — 200% higher than if they didn’t use any of these technologies

  • 40% of participants who use chatbots and texting for candidate screening automate the process of making job recommendations to candidates who don’t fit the bill — 42% higher than those who only use phone or email

  • 26% of participants who use chatbots and texting for candidate screening take one day or less to do so— 17% more than those who only use phone and email

The bottom line is that candidates want feedback throughout the whole process, and we now have a level of technology where we can do this. There’s a higher level of perceived satisfaction when candidates are being communicated with, even when it’s from technology. So why not implement recruiting automation technology when you can?

To dig deeper into all results of the survey and see how you can utilize tech to create a better interview process for candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers, download the full report.

Maggie Blehar

Maggie is a writer at Phenom, bringing you information on all things talent experience. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling, painting, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. 

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