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Not Happy With Your Hiring Process? Here’s How AI Can Help

In a world where the right talent can set a company apart, the importance of Talent Acquisition (TA) has never been more pronounced. Harvard Business Review Analytic Services shed light on this critical aspect through a global survey involving 326 participants knowledgeable about their organization's TA processes. 

The findings were eye-opening: 91% of respondents acknowledged the crucial role of strong TA for sustained business success, with 68% considering it a top strategic priority. However, the optimism seems to clash with reality, as only 28% believe their organization excels in securing the talent they desire.

One of the biggest issues? The hiring process is just too slow. According to Harvard Business Review, nearly half of the people asked (48%) are unhappy with how long it takes to go from getting an application to making a job offer. And it's not just them—63% think adding a new member to the team takes too much time. This is a big deal in places like Quick Service Restaurants, where jobs need to be filled yesterday. "Churn is high; the hiring manager needs a role filled immediately, and the moments to catch these potential candidates with a post or ad are fleeting" says Brian Delle Donne from Talent Tech Labs. 

But the problems don't end with just the speed. The Harvard Business Review, conducted in partnership with Paradox, also found that about a third of participants are also not happy with how complicated the process is for the people doing the hiring (31%), and they feel the same about the experience for the hiring managers (31%) and for the job seekers (26%). Jeffrey Lackey from JKL Advisors explained that hiring managers are drowning in paperwork and scheduling tasks, which takes away time they could use to make real connections or think about big-picture strategies. 

Danielle Lendich, CEO of Wendy's Hamburgers New Zealand, also highlighted an additional complication in the manual hiring process: the use of paper applications in stores. These physical forms are prone to getting lost among other paperwork or may not be passed along promptly to the recruitment manager if they are not present. This issue can severely disrupt the recruitment process in QSRs, where the urgency to fill positions is high. Delayed or misplaced applications could result in missed opportunities to hire suitable candidates swiftly, exacerbating staffing shortages and impacting service and operations.

Lendich explains this difficulty with manual and outdated systems: "We were just still pretty much running manual recruitment systems. While we did have online applications that were on our websites, to make changes to that, it’s very difficult. You have to keep going back to the website. So it was haphazard.”

Time to Upgrade Hiring: A Much Needed Shift

More than attracting candidates, the real test is making sure they have a good experience from the moment they apply until they're fully part of the team. Anna Tavis from New York University points out something important: the way we first interact with applicants really matters. It can affect how committed and effective they are at work, especially now when so many are rethinking their jobs after the Great Resignation.

A whopping 91% of hiring execs agree: a good hiring process brings in good people. Compass Group, one of the largest  food service and support services companies which hires about 150,000 hourly workers a year, saw this first-hand. Shay Johnson, the Vice President of TA at Compass Group, shared that their hiring process was once tedious and cumbersome, turning off both would-be employees and the managers hoping to hire them.

Their solution? Embracing tech to make applying quick and easy. With options to apply on a phone, chat, and even text, and automation capabilities, they cut down application time to just 3.5 minutes. This change didn't just help applicants; it freed up managers and recruiters to really focus on finding and wooing great candidates instead of drowning in paperwork.

Here's a hitch: while the technology to make hiring smoother and quicker is out there, many in the industry are stuck with outdated systems that just don't cut it. Harvard Business Review revealed that even though almost every executive (84%) agree on how crucial good tech is for hiring, less than half (only 44%) are actually happy with the tools they're using.

Why the dissatisfaction? A lot of the tech that was supposed to revolutionize hiring ended up being more of a headache than a help, leaving many decision-makers wary of jumping onto the next big thing. Only about a quarter of those surveyed are using modern hiring technology, and it's a problem that's slowing everyone down.

BUT here's the kicker: the companies that have upgraded and automated their hiring process are seeing real benefits. According to the survey, businesses using modern technology for hiring are over 11% more likely to be happy with all parts of the hiring process. This includes everything from how fast and easy it is to hire someone to the overall experience for both the hiring managers and the candidates. They're not just filling positions faster; they're finding better matches because the process is smoother for everyone involved. 

The reluctance to invest in new tech often comes from cost concerns. Harvard Business Review research shows that 38% of organizations cite the expense of AI technologies as the main barrier to adoption. However, this concern may not hold true. While upfront costs for technologies are inevitable, the return on investment is swift and significant.

For example, Southern Rock (a leading restaurant group that owns over 150 McAlister’s Delis) saved $840,000 per year by using AI to automate recruiting tasks which reduced their spend on career site, job advertising while increasing the number of applicants. 

Wendy's Hamburgers New Zealand also shared the significant impact that using an AI system has had on their recruitment processes. Lendich, the CEO, stressed the importance of "speed to market for candidates," a critical factor in the fast-paced QSR industry where staffing needs can arise swiftly and need immediate attention. The AI system, referred to affectionately as "Lou" by Lendich, has been pivotal in streamlining various stages of the hiring process, “Having Paradox has saved a lot of our manager’s time. My favorite thing that Lou can do is that she can answer some questions that the candidate might ask, schedule an interview, and push them through the process very quickly. Lou can get them from a candidate to employee within two or three days. Having an online and AI based recruitment system is probably one of the best investments that we've made.”

Lendich further elaborates, “In the old days, we used to spend virtually a whole day on recruiting and scheduling. All that time now has been given back to managers. To get their managers back on the floor, which is where they really need it. There's nothing like a shift being run when the manager's actually there to guide the crew and to motivate the crew and to deal with the customer and the customer issues right there and then.”

Such success stories highlight a compelling business case that any CFO would endorse. Therefore, the real question isn't whether to invest more in automating Talent Acquisition processes, but rather whether one can afford to miss out on such transformative opportunities

The Key to Better Hiring: AI and Automation

The secret to really nailing the hiring game could be in using AI and automation. These tools could be the solution to current hiring headaches, helping businesses not just keep up but really stand out when it comes to finding great people. 

By choosing wisely and investing in technology that simplifies and speeds up hiring, QSRs can attract and keep the kind of talent that will set their businesses apart. In an industry where speed and efficiency are paramount, the hiring process should be no different. Embracing technology and focusing on the candidate experience can transform TA from a challenge into a strategic advantage.

How to Dive In AI for Hiring

Check out Paradox today to discover how conversational AI and automation can make your hiring process faster, more cost-effective, and simply better all around. Want more details? You can read the full Harvard Business Review Analytic Services here. Step into the future of hiring with Paradox. 


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