How AI is Reinventing the Retail Hiring Experience

The razor thin margin retail industry is known for leveraging technology to make their day-to-day responsibilities more efficient. Today, the major advance in technology is the use of Artificial Intelligence. Designed to eliminate overly repetitive tasks such as manual review of candidate resumes, AI is not only making the hiring process more cost efficient but it is also fostering the kind of human relations that are so critical to retail industry success. Innovative retailers are utilizing AI to meet their most pressing recruitment challenges and the software is poised to become an essential recruiting tool used by stores of all sizes from big box to mom-and-pop. Retail recruitment must follow suit if the hiring team wishes to maintain satisfactory staffing levels in a competitive retail labor market with a significant shortage of top talent.

Below we discuss 5 uses of AI to foster process efficiencies resulting in an improved candidate experience, decrease in time-to-fill ratios and a happier, more productive workforce.

1. Job Descriptions – The messaging of the job description is directly linked to both the quality and diversity of the candidate pool. An “augmented writing tool” (think of it as an automated writing coach) provides the hiring team with data-driven job posting feedback by using predictive analysis of how it would perform in terms of attracting a particular candidate pool. In effect, the software analyzes millions of job postings per month for language patterns and then rates phrasing against the number of qualified candidates a posting receives and the percentage who move forward to the interview stage.

As a result, hiring managers will be able to revise their postings to obtain a more targeted response. For example: in the retail sector, phrasing such as “customer-centric, multitasker” will likely attract a subset of candidates who match these qualities. In this way, the store hires best fit candidates in terms of work style leading to greater job satisfaction and retention.

An AI-powered software writing tool also ensures that the language is free from unintended bias. The software does this by analyzing the content to identify potentially biased phraseology and suggesting alternatives. For example, the software can detect gender-coded word choice, such as “aggressive” (masculine) and “compassionate” = feminine and ensure that this type of language is reduced or removed or even suggest alternative phrasing.

2. Screening Resumes – Screening software automates resume review by leveraging AI to work in sync with your existing resume database (ATS). The software analyzes patterns in the resumes to determine which candidates received interviews, were hired, became successful, or resigned. Specifically, the software “learns” the profile of current high-performing employees in terms of experience, skills, and competencies then applies this analysis to new resumes to automatically rank, grade and shortlist the most qualified. The hiring team can now focus on screening and interviewing rather than repetitive manual review of hundreds of resumes for hourly retail roles. AI screening tools also help reduce bias as selection of best qualified is based on data-driven analysis rather than subjective evaluation.

3. Chatbots – Hiring chatbots are a great tool for engaging candidates during the recruiting process. Chatbots are always on the job, 24/7, to respond to candidate questions, perform screening interviews, schedule second interviews, and send out appointment reminders. Even before the recruiting process begins, Chatbots are a great way for visitors to your website to start a dialog. AI enabled chatbots help reduce time-to-hire and increase the number of candidates who complete the application process. WHY? Because candidates are able to obtain timely responses to their questions rather than wait for a member of the hiring team who may be very busy covering a high volume hiring event for multiple retail locations. The candidate experience, especially early in the process, is a critical factor in building a successful recruiting campaign.

4. AI and Pre-employment assessment – The best retail candidates bring a mix of skills and competencies. They need to be strong multi-taskers, customer-centric, work well under sometimes stressful conditions and possess excellent communication skills. An AI powered pre-employment assessment tool is a time-efficient method of determining whether a candidate possesses the necessary skills and traits to be successful in the retail world. Candidates can complete an online assessment covering several areas, such as personality, customer service orientation, as well as math and critical thinking skills. AI software is collecting data on each candidate for each part of the assessment and uses the results to make a prediction regarding future performance. The software can also determine if a candidate is manipulating their answers to what they think is the correct response! The software does this by analyzing responses to similar types of questions for consistency.

5. Online Interviews – With this tool, candidates are presented with a “packaged” video interview. The AI software provider develops role-specific assessment algorithms that reflect the ideal knowledge, skills and abilities for a given role, such as retail salesperson. The algorithm then analyzes candidate responses to the pre-selected questions, rating their verbal responses, as well as facial expressions. AI software evaluates candidates’ word choices, demeanor, enthusiasm, speech patterns, and facial expressions to assess fit for the role, as well as the overall culture of your store.

What’s this about facial expressions? It’s true, AI software identifies certain facial movements which are linked to certain emotions. For example, if the eyebrows are raised that typically signals confusion while a narrowing of the eyes tends to reflect that the person is smiling (happy)!

A retail reopens and hiring becomes critical, now is a great time to start researching AI options that could help your stores optimize its hiring process. If you would like further information on how to implement AI into their recruiting workflows, we welcome you to reach out for a free demo of our AI software. You can even use it for free! Visit www.chattr.ai or call us at 888-342-6309 today.
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