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How to Use AI and Automation to Accelerate Your Hourly Hiring Process

How to Use AI and Automation to Accelerate Your Hourly Hiring Process

How to Use AI and Automation to Accelerate Your Hourly Hiring Process

As part of Solutions Review’s Expert Insights Series—a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories—Matt Tucker, the Chief Technology Officer at Fountain, outlines how companies can use AI and automation technologies to improve and accelerate their hourly hiring process.

Across industries, businesses, and even our personal lives, tech is increasingly simplifying and accelerating how we live and work, and the world of talent acquisition is no exception. Industries that rely on a large workforce—food service, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, etc.—face hiring challenges far beyond a tight labor market. These employers need to hire many workers quickly and will lose qualified workers to competitors if they have a slow hiring workstream.   

High quit rates have precipitated vacancies in these industries after the pandemic. For example, the accommodation and food services industry’s quit rate has rested above 5 percent since July 2021, while the quit rate for the retail sector hasn’t been far behind at 4 percent. These rates exceed the national average of 2.5 percent, reported in January 2023. 

Meanwhile, the 1.4 million manufacturing jobs that became redundant at the start of the pandemic have yet to be recovered, with 803,000 manufacturing jobs remaining vacant as of January 2023. But just as tech has enabled other professions to clean up and speed up day-to-day functions, it also has adapted to serve the niche needs of companies that hire at high volumes. 

Hiring teams need to know how to pull the right levers and configure workflows within any applicant tracking system (ATS) to find and hire the most qualified and ready-to-work candidates for an industry. Fortunately, recent advancements in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) enable teams to lean into the processes they’re already using to optimize hiring for the right talent. Within these automated and faster-paced workflows lies the key to unlocking industry-specific hiring optimization—the workflow itself. 

Let’s explore how a flexible workflow can enhance hiring based on industry. 

Rework Your Workflows to Cater to the Right Candidates 

Tracking applicants for hourly jobs requires a series of qualifying steps, each of which must be completed before a candidate can move to the next phase. Without automation, these actions are time-consuming and inefficient, especially for industries that don’t have time to waste. Adding one-on-one communication—an aspect that some recruiters feel strongly about keeping as part of their process to provide applicants with a more human experience—further clogs up the hiring funnel and delays the momentum.  

But automation and an AI-powered ATS allow recruiters to program application activities to eliminate the need for hands-on human involvement. For example, a chatbot can collect an applicant’s personal information, an ATS can self-start the background check process, and automated document scanning can verify a candidate’s credentials, all before the candidate even arrives in your inbox. This ensures teams only apply focus and time to the candidates most qualified for your open positions. AI integration in ATS will not, and should not, fully replace human interaction and involvement in the hiring process. Implementing such technology works best when used with hiring teams to find and hire the best candidates.  

Activating these stages in your workflow is one thing, but knowing how to configure them to match the preferences of your ideal candidates is another. A flexible workflow editor allows HR managers to swap stages in and out or alter the order of stages within the workflow so that candidates are presented with the proper steps at the right time. Customization capability is the heart of a flexible workflow. It may take a few iterations to get right, but once mastered, teams will end up with the most proficient process for their industry’s hiring needs. 

Get Candidates to the Finish Line Faster 

With an optimized workflow up and running, the ultimate test for efficiency is speed. The speed with which hiring teams can move an individual from applicant to candidate to new hire directly indicates how well the workflow operates for a specific applicant and industry. 

Applicants applying to jobs are likely using 20 or 30 other hourly positions simultaneously, so not only does the company need to entice them to take the applicant journey, but they also need to get the applicant to the finish line before competitors snatch them up. 

Infusing the hiring process with best-in-class features and frictionless workflows can bring an industry average time-to-hire from 20 days for retail and grocery positions down to just 7.5 days. This faster time-to-hire also can result in a reduced cost-per-hire, which, in turn, saves money for businesses and can be reused for other programs that benefit employees. 

One of AI’s darlings, the chatbot, can knock out a few tedious stages at the beginning of the hiring funnel, like answering basic application questions, collecting contact information, and scheduling interviews with recruiters, thanks to calendar integrations. These real-time responses reduce the amount of friction in the funnel and can give hiring teams a leg up in terms of candidate experience. 

Less Friction, More Flow for Superior Candidate Experience 

A streamlined workflow tailored to hiring the right workers should be void of any barriers to getting applicants to their first day of work. With automation and AI at the helm of the hiring funnel, eliminating friction isn’t a heavy lift. 

Meeting candidates on their mobile phones is the first barrier-breaking strategy made possible by a modern ATS. Not all job seekers have access to computers or have a resume to apply to their desired job, so inviting them to use from a mobile device puts the job opportunity in their busy hands. 

The path to “hired” is made even smoother by removing the ask for login credentials on behalf of applicants. And once the process is up and running in its optimized state, data, and analytics can provide insight into possible problem areas that need tuning up for maximum efficiency. A frictionless journey means recruiters can fill positions in days (or even hours) rather than weeks or months. 

Putting it All Into Practice 

Hiring teams know their ideal candidates better than anyone. Knowing what they want, how much time they have (or don’t have), and what they value in an employer. The beauty of a modernized ATS is the ability to design a hiring funnel to show future workers that the hiring team has taken their needs and preferences into consideration. 

Equipped with an ATS, hiring workflows are the clay—malleable for what works best for the target candidates. Optimizing workflows according to best practices can increase the chances of finding workers who are the best fit for any industry. Reduced time-to-hire, a lower cost-per-hire, and the ability to attract quality, more specialized candidates are just a few of the ways the ATSes of today can give hiring teams a higher yield from the investment in the company’s growth.

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