How HGS overcame talent acquisition challenges using AI

During the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges for organizations has been hiring, nurturing, and retaining the best talent. Due to minimal human intervention, conventional hiring processes have become obsolete in the digital-first remote workplace ecosystem. The blurred geographical boundaries have further resulted in stiff competition among organizations to tap the best talent from all parts of the globe.

The hiring landscape can never be so challenging. The possibility of meeting candidates in person is minimal nowadays. Enterprises cannot rely on erstwhile recruitment strategies to derail hiring and onboarding, high-potential candidates

When Bangalore-based IT Service management company Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) faced a similar challenge during the pandemic, it deliberated extensively with its technology partners and internal technology teams to re-orchestrate and revamp its strategy to match the suitable candidates with the right jobs and skills at a cost and time-efficient manner.

Besides evaluating skill sets, a candidate’s integrity, ethics, confidence, and ability to work efficiently are equally crucial for HGS. And remote talent assessment for such skills needs focused technological interventions.

HGS, which serves the back office and contact center for several Fortune 500 organizations, also wanted to ensure that the changes in the processes should not impact the hiring experience.  

“The pandemic catalyzed the digitization agenda of organizations. Companies that went digital were less impacted by COVID-19. At HGS, we were already on the path of internal automation, and now we’ve accelerated the process. A three-year plan has now become a year to hear-and-a-half months plan, whether it is automation in HR, finance, or operations,” says Natarajan Radhakrishnan, President, and Global CIO, HGS.

Transforming the recruitment process

To transform its recruitment process, provide a stellar experience to the new joiners (selection, screening, and onboarding), aligned with the latest business need, HGS built an AI-based chatbot named Sophie to facilitate hiring. “As part of our hiring process, the initial screening of candidates occurs through the bot; all candidates must interact with the bot. During this automated process, the candidate can always speak to the recruiter directly if they have any additional questions – the recruiters will address their specific questions,” says Natarajan.

But how does it address the problem of candidates dropping out?

“Recruiters closely monitor the candidates being dropped during the bot’s screening process. Our recruiters connect with select settled individuals to understand the reason for dropping better, which can help us close the feedback loop on the experience. Later in the hiring process, we have the interview rounds, where the candidates can attend an asynchronous interview through video conferencing, and they always have the option to participate in discussions live with the recruiters as well,” Natarajan explains.

HGS says that it has also developed a candidate experience sheet, through which it checks and analyzes candidates’ experience, enabling them to focus continuously on delivering a better and hyper-personalized experience.

In addition to the above, HGS also leverages its analytics platform, which has been a key contributor in executing recruitment smoothly for the firm. It says that its analytics platform has been a key contributor in achieving recruitment smoothly. “Using predictive analytics, we can identify candidates who are an ideal fit. It gives us insights from an organizational point of view and the candidates. Both benefit from finding the right fit. This enhances the candidate experience significantly,” Natrajan updates.

HGS says that it is sitting on massive data, and making sense of it for enhanced decision making using Analytics and AI is a crucial agenda for the company.

“The millennial mindset is to be attached to jobs rather than organizations. So, we need to create an engaging and interesting platform for people to contribute to and enjoy their work. Today’s talent management involves a combination of financial rewards, fun at work, business at work, and career enrichment.” says Natarajan.

The outcome

HGS’s increasing focus on automating the entire recruitment process has dramatically improved efficiency in talent acquisition teams. “The chatbot can work round the clock, efficiently without errors, allowing it to screen more candidates at a time. This is important for companies like us that hire in volumes. The bot also mitigates all kinds of unconscious bias, enabling us to hire only deserving talent. The strict filter process ensures better fitment,” discloses Natrajan.

With the usage of chatbots in the initial screening, HGS says its recruiters can focus on more critical activities, such as speaking only to shortlisted candidates and conducting more focused and in-depth interviews. The company says it has been reaping great dividends and significantly improved recruitment process efficiency by 25-30% by minimizing human errors and eliminating unconscious bias while delivering a seamless screening and candidate experience for prospective employees.

The company is also experimenting with AI/ML and AR/VR to expand the gamification quotient in its recruitment process.

“Our priorities of automating the end-to-end employee lifecycle and operational agility have remained the same – but we have augmented the execution time frame by about one year. In 2022 and ahead, we will continue to focus on legacy modernization, application rationalization, and cloud migration,” Natarajan signs off.

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