The Changing Landscape of Recruitment by Intelligent Design: Q&A with Sergei Makhmodov, CEO of DaXtra Technologies APAC

September 2, 20203:24 pm3924 views
The Changing Landscape of Recruitment by Intelligent Design: Q&A with Sergei Makhmodov, CEO of DaXtra Technologies APAC
Image source: Pixabay

The current shift in businesses code of conduct has created many questions for business leaders’ about the future of employment. Technology has also played its part in changing the workforce landscape, with intelligent design specifically AI will play a huge part in how businesses recruit their talent in the future and how job seekers can benefit from this system. To this occasion, Sergei Makhmodov, CEO of DaXtra Technologies APAC, brings his expert industry knowledge to some of the world’s most pressing questions around the future of employment. Read on…

1. Mr Makhmodov, thank you for committing your time for this interview. Based on your observation, how has the world of recruitment changed over the years?

I have been working in this industry for well over 20 years now and, of course, the world of recruitment has changed quite dramatically over this time. I still remember the dialing tones of the fax machine when sending out resumes and typing job adverts for print in local or National newspapers. This was soon disrupted by the appearance of the first Internet job boards. Recruitment technology was becoming more advanced bringing pioneering automation concepts like “Job Multiposting” and “NLP Resume Parsing”, which made recruiters’ lives significantly easier. Yet, at the same time, this change introduced new challenges, such as increased competition among recruiters and the need for more robust technology to deal with the ever-increasing tidal waves of digital data to process and digest. 

This paved the way to a number of technological innovations that are now mainstream and ubiquitous such as cloud based software services, search aggregators, intelligent matching, automated reference checking, etc. The technological changes and enhancements brought new opportunities for growth and further consolidation and acquisitions within the staffing sector. At the same time, this enabled some of the more techno-friendly and techno-equipped in-house TA and HR departments to effectively compete directly with their agency suppliers. This transformation will continue – we will be seeing more consolidation and more interesting and useful technologies that will eventually automate recruitment to the point where hiring is almost fully autonomous and does not require significant manpower or time. This will result in greater hiring efficiency and reduced hiring costs.

2. What is the role of technology and automation in recruitment and how are these advancements good for the industry? 

Thanks to technology and automation, companies are now able to operate with significantly lower operational costs by offloading all the heavy-lifting of mundane and repetitive tasks to robots. The recent advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have benefitted the industry in several ways. One such example is DaXtra’s resume parsing and matching software that mimics the way our mind reads and understands free-text information. The days of spending long hours manually processing candidates’ CVs are long gone by now, replaced by a smart robot that can do the job quicker, more accurately and at a fraction of the cost. 

3. Experts believe that automation in recruitment could remove unconscious bias during the hiring process, but it potentially creates “automation bias” (the tendency to believe that technology is better than humans in performing various functions). How do you see this issue and what is your advice to avoid automation bias?  

Software is unbiased; however, people often are. This means that trusting certain elements in your processes to a reliable automation system reduces the risk of being unconsciously biased or overly subjective when selecting candidates for a role. It adds an additional safety buffer, a tried and tested method of combating any bias along the hiring path. Although a much-debated topic in the field, technology has the potential to be a great equaliser, where vendors are investing efforts to reduce any bias to a minimum. 

Speaking of “automation bias”, we eventually learned to trust spell-checkers on phones and auto-pilots on planes, we are gradually getting used to self-driving cars and trusting Google Assistant to book restaurants. So, I can’t see how a well-oiled, fine-tuned autonomous decision-making system would fail to earn overall trust when we have so much overwhelming and ever-growing evidence that technology can perform certain tasks better, more reliably and faster than any manual alternatives. Considering that modern software typically costs a lot less to run, never gets tired or sick and is able to perform consistently to required quality standards, I think that “automation bias” is a natural but temporary reaction among some people and, as technology advances and becomes more trustworthy, any such bias should vanish over time.

4. Is it true that the presence of ATS in recruitment might create a candidate graveyard? If so, what are effective and time-saving tips to avoid this?  

ATS and other recruitment platforms designed to store and process recruitment data brought huge advantages to recruitment operations by making them paperless, searchable and reportable. The issue is not the ATS itself, the issue is data. Candidate data is like a carton of milk – its “Use By” life span is very short, quickly turning talent databases into “candidate graveyards” and forcing recruiters to prefer paid job boards for candidate sourcing because the data there is usually more up-to-date. This, of course, comes at a ridiculously high cost because job boards make money by selling up-to-date candidate data.  As an example, we are seeing that as much as 60-70% of the candidates who apply to recruiters’ jobs posted online are, in fact, already registered on the ATS.

On top of that, because candidate data sitting in a typical company’s ATS is outdated, duplicated and inconsistent, recruiters often don’t even search their local talent pools, preferring to pay third parties (Again!) for “more recent” profiles of the same candidates they probably already have. But this problem can be effectively addressed by using technology that is already available. There are a number of new interesting AI-based candidate engagement and matching tools that are gaining popularity, such as DaXtra. These can proactively generate an accurate shortlist of relevant candidates each time a new job is created on the ATS and then immediately send them the contents of the job with a mobile-friendly way to apply, reject, opt-out, update profile or book an interview – all done automatically. 

5. What do you think about the role of chatbots? How HR and recruiters should maximise chatbots?

I think it’s still early days for this technology, we are in the phase of early adoption. As we all know, modern chatbots can be very useful and practically indistinguishable from humans, but they can also be annoying and dumb. All depends on your investment and design approach. People should be careful and do a thorough research on the vendor before buying a product with an “AI” sticker on it. At the same time, there are some very impressive chatbot technologies becoming available today – they use advanced AI to be able to have a meaningful on-topic conversation and are trained to spot relevant information and instantly send it to the database. Conversational Technologies like this will eventually bring major changes in not only how Recruitment operates but across a broad range of industries.  

6. Focusing on talents, how important is employee experience today? What are some tips to improve employee experience?  

If someone expresses an interest in a brand by applying to work for them, it is the company’s duty to make the hiring experience as easy as possible, starting from the initial application. By applying or registering, the candidate volunteers to share their information with you, and as we know, information is knowledge and knowledge is power – power to be able to source talent from a broader pool of candidates who recognise and have expressed a strong interest in your brand and being part of your team. For instance, we have DaXtra plugin- allowing applicants to register in seconds simply by uploading their resumes or sharing their social media profile that then gets parsed and the registration form gets auto-filled with the extracted profile data. This simplicity, in turn, increased the application completion rate by as much as 300% – all because applicants stopped dropping off. The rise of chatbots and other Conversational AI will soon be able to further enhance the applicant experience by qualifying, shortlisting and booking interview slots in a friendly and fun way.

7. Lastly, is there any traditional recruiting process/technique that should not be replaced by technology? What is it and why?

Ultimately people get hired by people and this will continue to stay relevant, at least for the majority of permanent recruitment. At some point, someone needs to interview the candidate, evaluate their personality, assess softer skills and so on – this is the part where human-to-human interaction between the candidate and the hiring team will continue to be key. However, when it comes to temporary and maybe contractor recruitment, one question is becoming more prominent – should it not be all automated and e-commerced? With modern AI advancing at such a rapid pace, and with the entire workflow professionally designed by an expert delivery team, using some of the best currently available technology has the potential to execute transactional recruitment projects completely autonomously. As a bonus, this will offer temporary workers more control and visibility over the hiring process and save them a lot of time.

Read also: Protecting Employees’ Data Privacy: Q&A with Thomas Matecki, Founder and CEO at Emotional Vector Analytics

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