Featured Stories

Two new Watson products for HR assist with “help wanted”

March 29, 2018
By: Craig Shoneman

Artificial intelligence is quickly changing talent recruitment, for both recruiters and candidates. For many people, the adoption of AI tools is happening just in time. The recruitment process is growing more complex and skills-based. Recruitment teams spend much of their day sifting through resumes, chasing managers, or searching for candidates instead of talking to top talent. Meanwhile, candidates often apply to the wrong jobs, or worse, the best don’t apply at all because they don’t understand the job description or how well they fit.

Two new Watson HR tools are now available to help recruiting teams. IBM Watson Candidate Assistant uses natural language to create a better candidate experience and match job seekers with positions that will best fit their skillset. IBM Watson Recruitment helps talent acquisition teams identify quality candidates and prioritize workloads.

These tools are benefitting recruiters as well as candidates and help to provide the experience that job seekers are asking for today. Candidates are able to easily investigate a company, determine how well they might fit in, and explore a range of positions. HR professionals are empowered to work more efficiently, handle more candidates faster, make better decisions based on real data, focus on higher-value work, and be more informed about candidates, competition, and other important recruitment factors.

Watson Candidate Assistant, which currently offers a three-month trial, was first piloted by IBM itself. Most recently, it has been piloted by BuzzFeed in partnership with Uncubed, a content-driven talent acquisition company. As an IBM partner, Uncubed is bringing an offering to market that combines Watson Candidate Assistant and its content expertise, analytics, and supporting technology. BuzzFeed embraced the opportunity to make its recruitment system more efficient. “Some of our most sought-after roles attract hundreds of applications per day,” says Dan Geiger, BuzzFeed recruiting ops manager. “With such large talent pipelines, pinpointing the top performers is often a tough challenge for our hiring managers.”

Candidates using Watson during the pilot were 34 percent more likely to progress to a face-to-face interview. Uncubed CEO Chris Johnson says, “With Watson producing results like that, recruiters are going to spend far less time on screening and far more time on fit. They are able to assign their team to higher value tasks because Watson Candidate Assistant is screening.”

The candidate experience has also improved. Candidates are encouraged to tell Watson about themselves and provide their resume so Watson can show them the jobs with the highest fit. Candidates can engage Watson Candidate Assistant in natural language conversations about the company and its culture, or other topics of interest to them. And employers can look at the data about what their candidates are asking so they can adjust to what job seekers want.

“Fit” might appear to be a soft indicator for candidates and recruiters, but it has a significant impact on the happiness and productivity of employees. An IBM WorkTrends survey of HR professionals revealed that 39 percent of recent hires would not be rehired. Uncubed’s Johnson says, “one in five hires are ‘regrettable.’ That number is so high because of fit.”

Watson Recruitment is helping recruiters be more efficient. First, the tool prioritizes job requisitions to ensure recruiters know where they should spend their time to make the biggest impact on the business. Second, it builds a candidate match score based on structured and unstructured data and soft traits to surface the best candidates. This helps recruitment teams quickly move the right people to the next step in the recruitment process.

IBM Talent and Engagement Services from IBM Services combines Design Thinking, deep recruiting expertise, Watson recruiting and behavioral science to help companies source, select and onboard candidates who best match the skills and success factors for each job. With the initial set of Watson Recruitment customers, IBM is seeing better predictions of successful candidates—on average, it was tested as predicting success with 84 percent accuracy. Watson Recruitment can also predict those who won't succeed, which could eliminate the need to review up to 47 percent of the average applicant pool.