The Future of Talent Acquisition: Perfecting the Human Experience in the Age of AI

BY Matthew Koehler | January 09, 2024

Gen Z will make up the majority of the workforce by 2030, and they’re a bit of an oddity in the hiring process. They want their transition from college to career to contain a bit of the old, like internships, work experience, and completed classes but especially the new, like quick and easy online applications. 

“What we’re seeing is that the ease of modern applications and technology is really contributing to this high volume of applications,” said Kate Beckman, executive manager of RippleMatch. “Students today are taking advantage of the way that technology is designed for volume without necessarily taking into account what happens after that application is submitted.”

RippleMatch is a job matching AI technology and the brainchild of Andrew Myers, founder and CEO, who experienced his own turbulent entry into the job market after college. Beckman and Myers joined freelance journalist, and former managing editor of CNN Business, Kelly Bourdet, for a From Day One webinar. The platform started in Myers’ dorm and was “created to make life easy on companies so they can provide really strong candidate experiences and access the right candidates, regardless of race, background, or where the candidates come from.”

Eliminating Bias and Streamlining the Hiring Process

“We’ve been conducting a lot of research on Gen Z through the years, but new data really shows that the next generation of candidates are influencing the recruitment process for everyone,” Beckman said. She provided some key insights and research to head the conversation on how AI can perfect the human experience in talent acquisition.

According to Beckman’s research for RippleMatch:

  • 50% of students said they'll submit over 100 applications (just this past autumn), a third of those will submit closer to 200.
  • More than two thirds believe companies should respond to them within 5-7 days.
  • 72% of candidates say they would feel frustrated if they took the time to file an application and never heard anything back. They’d prefer an impersonal rejection notification over nothing at all. 
  • Gen Z job seekers expect no more than four weeks to get a response on a job, even if it's a rejection. 
  • About 70% say if they’ve gone through some kind of interview process that not hearing back lends to a negative experience.
  • Lack of information on what to expect going forward is another contributing factor to a negative application process.
  • A lack of diversity amongst interviewers is another factor that weighs on the minds of job seekers. 
  • Black and Hispanic women select that lack of diversity among interviewers is the number two factor that will contribute to a negative experience interviewing. 

The biggest hurdle for AI in talent acquisition is not reproducing the bias of their human creators as early platforms did. Myers says the goal and success of modern AI is to fix the mistakes of the past.

Previously, recruiters would focus on the same top schools for candidates, which exacerbated biases. The same was, and still is, done in corporate America with diversity recruiting. Recruiters end up at the same HBCUs or HSIs, but neglect other talent pools.

“There are incredible HBCUs and HSIs all over the country. But if we’re speaking from a representation perspective for Black or Latine candidates, many of those candidates don’t go to HBCUs or HSIs," Myers said.

But as other From Day One panel experts have discussed, without proper monitoring, AI will reinforce human biases. To better train bias out of the AI recruitment process, Myers says you have to focus on outcomes, not intentions.

Moderator Kelly Bourdet spoke with Andrew Myers and Kate Beckman of RippleMatch at the From Day One webinar (photo by From Day One)

“This is a really new space. And even the regulators are having to learn how to do this really thoughtfully on the fly,” Myers said. The technology is there. “There just hasn’t been a very AI-focused diversity company that’s really existed on a massive scale before.”

One of the regulators Myers referenced is a New York law seeking to regulate how companies use AI in the hiring process. The law requires employers to have annual third-party 'bias audits' to show that the AI technology they use is free of racist or sexist bias, according to reporting from Axios.

However, as Beckman points out, modern AI tools are helping companies move beyond academic prestige, “which inhibits representation and diversity” by pushing them to “expand their reach and sort through those candidates in a more efficient manner.”

Efficiency, though, has created an arms race of submitting applications where neither the candidate nor the employer wins. To avoid this, RippleMatch sends job seekers opportunities that truly fit their skills and qualifications. They quickly send a rejection if they’re not a fit for the role, or help companies move forward quickly if they are, Beckman says.

“The beauty of AI is you can instantly tell that probably 50-75% of candidates don’t meet a basic qualification for a role,” Myers said. “We sometimes picture AI being this black box, doing all these weird scores. But the reality is, AI can be really transparent as to why a candidate isn’t qualified.”

To accurately and efficiently match candidates, RippleMatch does two things. On the company side, they figure out what’s missing from their talent pipeline. On the candidate side, instead of getting “all these messages that feel a lot like spam,”  Myers says they’re getting sent opportunities directly related to their skills. “If you’re getting this opportunity, it means you’re really qualified. The company’s missing a candidate like you, and you should certainly pay attention to the opportunity.”

Beckman says that with Gen Z, a cohort that’s just entering the workforce and may not have a lot of experience, RippleMatch can point them in the right direction, or towards jobs they didn’t know existed. “If you’re at a career fair, you go to the most recognizable companies. So many companies out there offer amazing pay and awesome culture, and candidates just aren’t discovering them organically. But this technology automates that career discovery process."

Applying for Jobs and Starting a New One

What are the challenges RippleMatch sees going forward? Balance and nobility.

Beckman points to the convenience AI lends to the application process, especially for Gen Z, but says a balance must be struck between using the technology to enhance career discovery and starting a job, not just endlessly applying for hundreds of jobs.

“Submitting 200 applications because you just have to click a button instead of considering, is this an organization I want to work for? Am I invested in what this company is doing? Am I excited about this job description?” Myers said.

Myers sees a noble cause in connecting people to the right jobs but touched on the apprehension and risk in AI. “I think being in the TA space, especially early career, is incredibly noble. Connecting people with the right jobs is a really meaningful thing to do. Jobs have such an impact on people’s identities, their livelihood, and on their families.”

“My biggest push on AI in general is, if this is something that you’re passionate about, don't avoid it because you have some concerns. Engage in how we can design the course of this technology in a way that’s actually really good for humanity and for the values that you care about," Myers said.

Editor's note: From Day One thanks our partner, RippleMatch, for sponsoring this webinar. 

Matthew Koehler is a freelance journalist and licensed real estate agent based in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in Greater Greater Washington, The Washington Post, The Southwester, and Walking Cinema, among others.


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