Press Release

Procom Discusses AI Powered Recruitment in Fireside Chat

“ChatGPT was launched in March 2023, and we had products in the market two months later. It was the fastest time to value adoption in our company’s history.” Those were the words of Kent McCrea, Procom CEO, at the April 2024 Procurecon Fireside chat.

Joining the fireside chat titled Striking the Balance – AI Integration and Human Expertise in Talent Acquisition, were Christine Plowucha, Procom Talent Acquisition Evangelist, as well as Wendy Williams – Director, Contingent Labour Programs at Thales.

Key Takeaways 

  • AI powered talent acquisition is revolutionizing the hiring process.
  • Procom and Thales utilize AI technology to streamline talent acquisition.
  • AI algorithms enhance candidate screening and selection.
  • AI can accurately identify the right talent for specific roles.
  • AI screening and talent acquisition as a whole is moving towards skills-based recruiting.
  • Procom and Thales’ expertise in AI talent acquisition ensures improved hiring outcomes.
  • AI is not a threat to talent acquisition, but instead frees up time to allow recruiters to personalize the talent acquisition experience.
  • Security considerations are paramount as they pertain to the CIA triad and beyond.
  • The future of generative AI is coming along with omnipresent recruiting.

Spotlighting leaders in talent acquisition  

Both Procom and Thales are global talent and technology leaders in their own right, with Procom setting an example as one of North America’s leading IT staffing and contract workforce service providers, they have met the needs of Fortune 500 clients since 1978.

Thales is a global technology leader specializing in defense, aerospace and digital security markets. They work on projects that require a high level of technical, engineering and security expertise.

How Procom and Thales rapidly integrated AI in talent acquisition 

Procom’s quickest time to value adoption in company history

Both Procom and Thales are paving the way when it comes to integrating AI in the talent acquisition process. For Procom, it took just 57 days to release their first set of AI tools, and the benefits were realized almost immediately. Packed with features including automating and accelerating interview questions, job descriptions, candidate summaries and candidate fit, Procom immediately benefited from the impact of AI integration, boosting productivity and results across the board. From reducing time to interview, accelerating feedback time and speeding up time to decline, Procom experienced eight more conversions per week.

Kent McCrea says Procom approached this particular project from the perspective of how to make processes faster as well as create experiences that clients and candidates enjoy interacting with.

By targeting individual steps in the recruiting process, they saw a 90 percent improvement in the areas they specifically targeted, with an overall 20 percent improvement in efficiency across all related processes. Now, Procom is already working on the second iteration of their suite of AI tools, analyzing specific use cases. These use cases include performance management, reporting and predictive analytics. Kent McCrea says the next five years look bright for AI in talent acquisition and that the industry will continue to adapt as it always does.

Thales saves 300 hours per week

Wendy Williams shared that Thales saved approximately 300 hours per week by utilizing AI in their internal recruiting process, with increased speed to market and by automating manual actions.

“The idea was that we could focus on the most time-saving activities, and that it would give us more time in our day to focus on things that were more important,” said Williams. Williams went on to say that Thales is focused on managing the candidate experience, creating more strategic initiatives and on boosting their E&I impact.

AI has enabled Thales to order the candidates in a way that’s more specific to the jobs that are open. It not only takes candidates from internal databases, but it also takes external candidates and matches them to the validated job descriptions before they even start the recruitment process on their side.

In addition to the recruitment component, scheduling interviews was another focus area. Their AI tool can read the schedules of hiring managers, access the free and busy slots and can send out three to five optimal times candidates can choose from. When the invite is confirmed, the invitation will sync to the calendar of all parties. Williams says it was primarily automating interview scheduling that saved Thales over 300 hours per week across their recruitment team.

Moving towards skills-based talent acquisition

Kent McCrea shared multiple timely industry insights, including the fact that recruiting is moving toward a skills-based model. This means a focus on benchmarking candidate skills using an AI moderated service, then making a decision based on how candidates perform on that benchmark.

In addition, omnipresent recruiting is a consideration that should be on the top of everyone’s minds, especially leaders in the talent acquisition space and candidates alike. AI has made it cost-effective to collect every piece of public information about any given candidate.

Lending an example, McCrea shared that the script from this event will be available on the internet and would be considered in the hiring process in the future with the emergence of AI in omnipresent recruiting.

Utilizing AI for vendor assessment

In addition to screening candidates, AI will also be used down the line for vendor assessment, analyzing vendors for specific criteria. These criteria include checking for financial stability, health and safety standards, legal and compliance matters, ethical and social responsibility and eventually  – AI usage and controls.

McCrea highlighted that AI usage and controls would likely become part of the selection criteria, and that Procom is already working on refining their approach to AI integration in the talent acquisition space and the organization as a whole.

Considerations for implementing AI in talent acquisition

When it comes to integrating AI into talent acquisition, it is important to consider key factors:

  1. Technology Infrastructure: Ensure that the organization has the necessary infrastructure and resources to support the implementation of AI tools and platforms.
  2. Data Quality: Access to high-quality and accurate data is crucial for AI algorithms to perform effectively. Organizations should invest in data cleansing and validation processes.
  3. Strategic Alignment: Align the AI recruitment strategy with the organization’s overall business goals and objectives to ensure a coherent and impactful approach.
  4. Compliance and Ethics: Consider legal and ethical implications related to data privacy, fairness, and bias. Implement safeguards to ensure compliance with regulations and ethical guidelines.

Security and privacy considerations

McCrea shared that Procom addressed concerns in AI by dividing them into two buckets. Firstly, AI is putting pressure on business processes and systems, and secondly, the conventional information security triangle needs to be taken into account if AI is to be integrated into organizational processes.

The conventional information security triangle, also known as the CIA triad, is a framework that combines three key information security principles: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. In addition to this, safeguarding the personally identifiable information (PII) of candidates and meeting compliance standards was a key objective for Procom when it came to the rapid integration of AI.

Thales contributed to the conversation on matters of security, their key specialization, with Wendy Williams sharing that there was some initial pushback from their team because of the way AI models collect and store data. “The initial pushback from the team was ‘absolutely not’ as they didn’t know where the data was going to go,” said WIlliams.

However, taking into account the various AI growing pains, Thales was able to overcome potential security concerns by focusing on security and data management, candidate fraud, candidate inclusion, compliance risk and candidate engagement.

They also ensured that the process was something that wouldn’t artificially decrease the candidate market they were trying to meet, training the AI not to discriminate against candidates and not to select candidates based on information Thales is not supposed to take into consideration.

With these considerations alongside tremendous agility, both Procom and Thales were able to bring their AI tools to market and elevate both candidate and recruiter experiences.

Best Practices for AI Recruitment

To harness the full potential of AI in recruitment, organizations can follow these best practices:

  • Define Clear Objectives: Clearly articulate the goals and objectives of integrating AI into the recruitment process, such as improving candidate quality or reducing time-to-hire.
  • Collaborative Approach: Involve HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers in the AI implementation process to ensure buy-in and a holistic understanding of the technology’s capabilities and limitations.
  • Continuous Evaluation: Regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of AI tools and algorithms, making necessary adjustments and improvements based on feedback and data analysis.
  • Human Touch: While AI can automate certain tasks, remember that the recruitment process still requires human interaction and judgment. Strike a balance between AI-driven automation and personalized candidate engagement.

Benefits of AI in talent acquisition summarized

Benefits Description
Time Savings AI-powered automation reduces manual tasks, allowing recruiters to focus on high-value activities.
Improved Efficiency Fast and accurate screening of resumes and applications accelerates the hiring process.
Enhanced Candidate Experience AI-driven chatbots provide personalized interactions, offering candidates immediate support and engagement.
Reduced Bias AI algorithms help minimize unconscious bias in the candidate evaluation and selection process.
Data-Driven Insights AI tools provide valuable data and analytics for informed decision-making throughout the recruitment cycle.

In Conclusion: Will AI be the end of the recruiter?

Answering a pertinent question on the minds of many recruiters and talent acquisition professionals regarding whether AI will replace recruiters, Kent McCrea said, “It’s happening right now, but our internal process thinks that recruiters are being replaced by recruiters who know how to use AI tools effectively.”

“The industry will adapt, we always do, and the next two to three years will be interesting.”

You can access the full transcript for Striking the Balance – AI Integration and Human Expertise in Talent Acquisition, below.

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