The internet has changed hiring forever. Job-seekers can now look through and apply to jobs all across the world and employers can reach the absolute best talent available.
But, there’s a catch. The convenience and ease of applying to jobs online mean that every job ads receive, on average, hundreds of applications each. What’s more, a 2019 survey showed that 42% of applications companies receive are from candidates who don’t meet skill requirements. While all of this can allow you to consider excellent candidates who may not have even applied otherwise, the sheer volume of applications can make it extremely difficult to find the best ones.
This is exactly where natural language processing comes in. It can help your organisation deal with large amounts of data in the hiring process, far more efficiently and accurately than would be possible for any single human.
What is Natural Language Processing?
Natural Language Processing or NLP is a branch of artificial intelligence that helps computers understand, interpret and manipulate human language, in the form of both text and the spoken word. NLP translates the infinitely varied and nuanced human language into the rigid dialect of computers.
The most obvious example of NLP you might see in your own life is the voice assistant in your phone or your home. Siri, Alexa and others use voice recognition to infer meaning from your speech when you talk to them and provide a useful response.
But NLP has found its way to the parts of your digital life where you least expect it. Gmail, for instance. Most email applications use NLP to filter out spam from useful mail but Google goes a step further to sort it into the folders ‘Primary’, ‘Updates’, ‘Promotions’, and ‘Social’.
Also read: HR tech to Work tech: What is Changing?
Natural Language Processing in HR
NLP emerged nearly a century ago, in the early-1950s. But it has taken decades for the technology to enter the mainstream consciousness, with machine learning algorithms in the 80s and deep neural learning in the 2010s revolutionizing it. These dramatic improvements in performance have led to it being rapidly adopted by businesses and implemented in every department from finance to marketing.
While HR has certainly been no exception, NLP has not reached anywhere close to its true potential in the field. After all, NLP thrives on big data, and that’s something HR has absolutely no shortage of.
So, here are some ways in which NLP improves the competency of the hiring process:
1. Sorting Resumes
The first step, sorting through resumes to pick out promising ones, is where you’ll be handling the greatest volume of data. As a result, most HR teams tend to focus on keywords while screening resumes or even use these keywords to filter them. Unfortunately, this process is both inefficient and prone to error, meaning you may end up overlooking promising candidates.
Intelligent document searching and analysis is one of the most useful things NLP can do. So, rather than relying on keyword filters, NLP can examine entire documents to extract information on skills, education, location, experience and much more, irrespective of how this information is stated. Some NLP-powered algorithms can also study the resumes of existing employees and their performance at your organisation to determine which resume points correlate with success in the workplace, providing suggestions based on this.
Some NLP-powered algorithms can also study the resumes of existing employees and their performance at your organisation to determine which resume points correlate with success in the workplace, providing suggestions based on this.
2. Interview Assistance
NLP can help simplify and accelerate the interview process in two ways.
First, you can fully automate the entire process or a particular stage, if your organisation conducts several rounds of interviews. These automated interviews use a combination of NLP and facial recognition software to not only analyse the accuracy of a candidate’s answers to strictly fact-based questions but also create a comprehensive profile of their personality.
Among other factors, candidates are usually profiled on the Big 5 OCEAN characteristics—openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism to determine whether or not they would be a good fit for your organisation.
Or, if you don’t want to take the automation plunge just yet, these tools can be used to create the same comprehensive candidate profile while a human interviewer actually conducts the interview. The insights gained by both the interviewer and the computer can be combined to make hiring decisions that are more thorough than ever before.
NLP-powered AI can help make legal processes like negotiating or reviewing contracts simpler and more effective, for both you and your future employee. A bonus is that this will make the process much more transparent.
Many organisations collect feedback from applicants on the hiring process to improve it, if needed. NLP tools can be used periodically to review and analyse this feedback and generate relevant insights from it.
NLP-powered chatbots, which you may have interacted with on e-commerce or other websites, can be useful to answer questions from candidates during the entirety of the hiring process, from application to onboarding. The kinds of questions this bot would be able to answer range from “By when can I expect to hear back from this company?” to “What kind of health insurance coverage will I receive as an employee?”
4. Objective, Bias-Free Recruiting
Ensuring diversity and complete fairness in recruiting is one of the most important objectives for many HR teams today. And with good reason—highly qualified professionals have long been held back in the workplace due to bias during the hiring process.
Unlike humans, however, computers can be trained to inspect candidate profiles without any kind of bias, conscious or otherwise. So, NLP should be your tool of choice to completely eliminate discrimination on the basis of irrelevant factors like gender, age, religion or class from whatever stage(s) of recruiting you choose to apply it to.
Okay, Now How Do I Get Started?
We’re glad you asked! Whether you want a comprehensive overhaul of your hiring process or just an improvement in efficiency and accuracy at certain stages, Naukri Hiring Suite’s Recruitment Automation Solutions has everything you need. We use some of the best NLP software in India in conjunction with other ingenious AI-based solutions to take the load off your HR team and onto the computers. Some of our offerings include:
- Improved ease of collaboration among all stakeholders in the process
- The best CV-parsing software in the Indian market
- More efficient communication with potential employees
- Deep insights into your organisation’s recruitment process
Naukri Hiring Suite ensures that you hire the right talent by allowing you to make data-driven decisions.
For more insights on everything HR, from boosting the employee experience with analytics to eliminating bias in the workplace, head over to All Things Talent. Also check out what leading professionals in the field have to say on HR’s role in the rapidly changing workplace on our Features page.