Conversational AI
7 min read
December 11, 2023

Where to use the power of automation in hiring (and where to use your people).

How AI is augmenting hiring differently by industry and role to give companies a competitive advantage.

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AI automation has changed the hiring game forever. The environment evolved slowly for years and years, and then all at once — just within a handful of months. 

How did it happen? 

Both technology and labor trends spurred this evolution. First, artificial intelligence has gotten very sophisticated very fast, with not only better technology but also easier-to-use conversational experiences. Meanwhile, labor demand has outpaced labor supply since the pandemic with more jobs open than unemployed people to fill them (job openings hit a record peak last year and have remained stubbornly high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

So, let’s talk about where automation comes in — and how it helps bridge this gap. Automation supercharges companies and roles of all sorts. Some leverage AI to “win” candidates by being faster to complete the screen-schedule-interview-offer cycle, and others use automation to return valuable time to restaurant managers or recruiters so they can spend more time doing the human work they do best.

We are now at a point where you could actually automate your entire hiring process. This means after you post a job, a qualified candidate is screened, hired, on-boarded and shows up Day One without human intervention. That’s different … and it means companies who do this are hiring lightning fast (same day hiring!).

But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Fully automated hiring won’t be the right fit for many industries or roles (but don’t worry, I will share where it’s a fit). So, instead of asking where you should use automation in your hiring process, flip the question to: 

Where do your people add the most value to your hiring process? 

That’s really what drives how we design and implement technology at Paradox. And I’ll bet you won’t say scheduling or handling on-boarding paperwork. Most of you will say the sourcing and selection process, influencing hiring managers, or helping convince the candidate to join your organization.

The key here is that you will all have different answers … and not just because of the industry you are in, but because even the roles you are hiring for within your organization may dictate a different hiring process (do you hire your janitorial staff the same way you hire your engineering team?). Whether you’re looking to staff up your warehouse quickly, seeking support for your recruiters who vet top executives, or something in between, AI can automate all kinds of hiring tasks at scale to let you spend time with people instead of software.

Clearly, one size doesn’t fit all. 

The roles you hire for often dictate how much automation you should leverage. There are very few companies that only hire one profile, so AI hiring platforms that offer flexibility by role is key — letting you completely customize how you hire anyone from a distribution center worker to a store manager to a cashier to a head of marketing.

So how can you leverage automation tools and your people for the highest impact in hiring? Here’s how AI reduces your workload, improves the candidate’s application experience, and gets you the people you need — across five common role profiles we see across industries.

High-volume support roles (fulfillment, distribution center, janitorial). 

Up to 100% automation

You need lots of people, and you need them fast.

Anyone who’s hired for places like distribution centers and factories knows speed is essential. Competition is high for these roles that aren’t customer facing, require minimal experience, and can be trained quickly. But turnover and seasonality can be high too.

For this role profile, best practices may include frequent or even “always-on” hiring models to meet consumer demand. With high competition from other employers and the fact that these hires often provide ROI quickly, hiring managers look to move fast; in some cases bypassing traditional interviews and replacing them with automated screenings to hire faster. With automation handling these tasks, teams often focus more on training and retention.

With AI, candidates in this role type can apply with ease today and start in the warehouse tomorrow as automated processes can vet eligibility and behaviors, extend an offer, and even onboard new hires.

Automation works so well for this role for a few reasons. First, minimum qualifications are often binary and straightforward. Are you cleared to work in the U.S.? Are you able to lift heavy boxes? The AI isn’t passing any judgment; it’s simply making binary decisions based on factual yes or no circumstances. 

What’s more, because both turnover and competition in this hiring profile are high, employers need to secure a candidate and get them to Day One as quickly as possible. Because the screening considerations are factual and binary, there’s no value in employers instructing managers to review a stack of resumes for these roles. It takes managers away from performing their core work that drives impact for your company. 

Candidates simply apply via text through a conversational assistant — just like texting a buddy, and it takes only two minutes. Employers can set minimum qualifications and candidates who meet them will be automatically advanced to the next round. And if employers do want to have a human chat with the candidate, AI can automatically set up interview times that work with everyone’s schedule.

(I want to be clear: Your team can still step in at any point if necessary!)

From there, AI helps workers who have moved to the next round easily complete a full application, sends them an offer, and collects all information needed for onboarding like tax forms and background check details.

And that’s it: The new hire is ready to start, and the manager didn’t have to do a thing.

Customer-facing frontline roles (cashier, restaurant crew, sales associates).

Up to 95% automation

This is another high-competition, high-seasonality space that requires speed to hire. But this category has another layer of complexity: Frontline workers like cashiers and restaurant team members are the face of your company, interacting directly with customers. 

Here, it’s typically busy location managers — not recruiters — tasked with hiring, and in this hyper-competitive space the goal is to move as quickly as possible while still meeting with the candidate to ensure fit (Indeed recommends candidates apply to 10-15 roles per week, so once you get an application, the race is on to interview the candidate faster than 14 other companies). 

Pre-interview, conversational AI can automate the posting, screening, and scheduling, and after the interview, it can extend the offer and onboard the hire.

This capacity for speed and scale is particularly crucial for seasonal hiring, but for roles like restaurant and bar crews in general. In October, new federal data showed this sector gained 61,000 jobs in September, finally returning this space to pre-pandemic levels and representing more than 1 in 5 jobs the U.S. economy added overall.

Just like the high-volume support workers above, automation makes it possible for candidates to apply via text in around two minutes and automatically advances those who meet minimum qualifications.

From there a conversational assistant checks the hiring manager’s calendar and offers interview time slots to the applicant, who will also receive a reminder the day of the interview. Afterward, AI can help them complete a full application, send a job offer and automatically collect the information for tax forms and background checks, and other onboarding tasks so they’re ready to start. 

At McDonald’s, Paradox shortened application and scheduling time from three days to just three minutes — doubling applications, hitting a more than 99% candidate satisfaction rate, and returning 4-5 hours to restaurant managers each week. Their time-to-hire was an even more dramatic shift: from 21 days in many restaurants to under three days.

It’s automation plus the human touch at its best. Teams have the time to connect with people one-on-one because automation handles all the rest.

High-volume skilled roles (nurses, caregivers, truck drivers, hair stylists, construction).

Up to 90% automation

From nurses to hairstylists, skilled frontline workers are in the catbird seat. Demand for these workers far outpaces the supply of people with the necessary skills, certifications, or experiences.

High demand + limited supply = the most competitive category in hiring. 

Most organizations don’t have unlimited resources to keep beefing up the TA team or continually spending on a slew of job boards — so automation is critical to compete in this category. Recruiters can focus on sourcing, verifying qualifications, and interviewing, while automating all the rest to move fast and remove friction.

Conversational AI keeps things moving without compromising verification of needed skills. Candidates complete the initial application via text, and those who meet minimum qualifications are automatically set up with an interview that works with the hiring manager’s schedule. Pre-interview, AI helps the candidate complete the full application while the employer verifies licenses and qualifications; post-interview, it sends a job offer and automatically collects information for taxes, background checks, and other onboarding. 

Manual hiring processes for these roles can take up to 21 days — tons of wasted time that risks  candidates dropping off. With conversational AI, hires can go from application to starting the gig in just six days (or less!). 

Frontline manager (restaurants, stores, hotels, GMs). 

Up to 80% automation

Like the customer-facing frontline category, managers represent employers’ brands to the public — and they are also key drivers to a location's revenue, operations, guest experience and retention rates. This is a big role that wears many hats — that means a few more steps in the process to ensure you hire the right talent.

Typically in this category, some candidates apply from within the organization seeking a promotion. Whether candidates are internal or external, most employers conduct interviews as well as a potential assessment. Automating the initial application, screening, scheduling and onboarding simplifies the process to fill critical roles fast.

With conversational AI, internal or external applicants can apply via text and are automatically screened for minimum qualifications. Hiring managers can choose to check them out at this stage and decide whom they want to interview.

From there, the software sets up interviews at times that work for both sides and helps the candidate finish their full application. Why is automating interview scheduling so critical here? Because these roles often require multiple interviewers, which means lots of back and forth “calendar Tetris” if not automated. 

Once an employer is ready to make an offer, AI can handle that, too — plus automatically collecting information for references, taxes, background checks, and anything else needed from the new hire.

Corporate roles (marketing, finance, accounting, IT).

Up to 60% automation

This is where conversational AI becomes a supercharged admin assistant — one that flies through paperwork, takes on all of the annoying tasks, and never has to be asked twice. It’s also where we find some HR and TA professionals are most surprised by how much AI can help. 

The corporate space has a wide range of hiring profiles — university hiring, for example, is entirely different from executive recruitment — so the specific processes here may vary. But across the board, the ultimate goal is to supercharge recruiters by automating anything administrative. This unlocks hours of time they can now spend on core, high-value initiatives that leverage their valuable skills: sourcing, interviewing, advising hiring managers, and working their magic with top candidates. Spending time going back and forth about scheduling or paperwork is a waste of a TA pro’s brainpower.

With AI, up to 60% of the corporate hiring process can be automated, empowering recruiters to more than double their productivity. 

After sourcing candidates, recruiters can direct them to apply in a few minutes via text and they’re automatically screened for minimum qualifications. Typically recruiters then review the application, and the software schedules screening interviews.

For candidates who pass screening, AI can then set up the applicant’s interviews with the hiring managers at times that work for everyone — and helps the candidate fill out a full application. After hiring managers complete interviews and send an offer, the software automatically takes care of collecting onboarding and background-check information. 

Recruiters still do their important, high-touch, human work. They just have lots more time to do it. 

Written by
Joshua Secrest
Vice President, Marketing & Client Advocacy
Joshua Secrest
Written by

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