serve static files via Cloudfront

How to serve static files via Cloudfront & private media files via S3 in Django

serve static files via Cloudfront

This article introduces how static files can be served with Cloudfront while (possibly private) media files are served from S3 directly when deploying a django application on an AWS stack. Now look into how we can serve static files via Cloudfront & private media files via S3 in Django.

Sample project

https://github.com/impressai/cloudfront-django-setup

Background

Why is it not recommended to store static files in your database or web server?

There are two types of files that you deal with when creating a web application. The first are your static files like Javascript, CSS, etc. that needs to be served to the clients browser. You can either choose to serve this from your web server itself or from a file storage system like S3. It is typically highly recommended to serve from S3 because there is a much higher guarantee of availability and redundancies. Moreover, unlike your “dynamic” contents such as HTML pages, these files are “static” and don’t need to be changed for each user. In django terminology, these are called “static files”.

The second type of files that you deal with are the files that are uploaded by the user in the course of using your application. These files should be stored in persistent storage like an RDS or S3 in order to allow you to scale the web server and to prevent data loss when servers crash (again, the availability of the web server node is typically much lower).However, relational databases (RDS) are an expensive and inefficient place to store large files. So the standard strategy is to store these files in S3 and to just store a reference to them in your relational database.  In django terminology these files are called “media files”.

Ideally, you want static files to be accessible to the general public but you want media files to be private and only accessible to the web server with the application server then controlling access to the file itself. 

I would recommend the 12-factor app methodology from Heroku for a more complete set of guidelines on how to structure the SaaS app.

How do I do this in Django?

One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to use the ‘Django storages’ library. If you want to learn more about getting started with django storages, I highly recommend this tutorial:  https://simpleisbetterthancomplex.com/tutorial/2017/08/01/how-to-setup-amazon-s3-in-a-django-project.html . I highly recommend this resource as it describes an elegant way to have both private and public media files by leveraging on S3’s features and boto3 (AWS SDK for Python – https://boto3.amazonaws.com/v1/documentation/api/latest/index.html). The essence of it is that we use the same bucket in which static files are marked at the object level as public and the media files are marked at the object level as private. And accessing the media files is done through a short-lived signed URL that AWS/boto3 auto generates. 

Ok, but what’s Cloudfront? 

Cloudfront is Amazon’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) solution. A CDN is a system of distributed servers that deliver pages and other web content to a user, based on: his/her geographic locations, the origin of the webpage and the content delivery server. 

This service effectively speeds up the delivery of content of websites that have a global reach as the data will be served to them from a nearby server rather than a central one (as illustrated in the diagram). CDNs also provide other benefits like protection from large surges in traffic.

Image result for cdn works

Like us, if you already use AWS for the rest of your cloud requirements, it makes the most sense to use Cloudfront as your CDN.

Image result for cloudfront s3

Signed URLs and the struggle of enabling Cloudfront

For the longest time we struggled to move to Cloudfront because we couldn’t figure out how to serve our public static files through Cloudfront while making sure our private media files weren’t accessible to the general public. 

As mentioned previously, S3 allows key level access control allowing us to have private media files and public static files in the same S3 bucket. 

Cloudfront has to be configured to either sign all URLs or sign none of them. Signing all URLs is not practical because of caching issues if our JS/CSS, etc were to be  served with signed URLs. Moreover, signing the CloudFront URLs is a lot more complex than signing S3 private URLs, as explained in the documentation (https://boto3.amazonaws.com/v1/documentation/api/latest/reference/services/cloudfront.html#id57). Additionally, the latter policy of putting all as public would not work as we ideally want our media files to be private and not accessible to a non-authorised user who might be able to guess the URL.

The solution

The rest of this blog explains how we design a solution to this problem of how to serve static files via Cloudfront & private media files via S3 in Django.

Setup

Step 1: Setup the AWS S3 bucket

The setup for s3 is similar to the article https://simpleisbetterthancomplex.com/tutorial/2017/08/01/how-to-setup-amazon-s3-in-a-django-project.html which will have a static and media folder in the s3 bucket. The static folder is where Django’s collect static dumps all the static files. The media folder will store all the Model’s File field files in properly named and structured subfolders. 

Steps 2: Setup an AWS CloudFront from S3

Set the origin to only cache the static folder from the S3 bucket. 

What this does is that it ignores the media folder completely. This is exactly what we need. 

Steps 3: Django modifications

The next step is to modify your Django application so that the static files on your HTML pages are picked from CloudFront rather than S3. The first step to do that is to specify the CDN url in your settings.py:

AWS_S3_CUSTOM_DOMAIN = 'cdn.mydomain.com'

However, we still have the issue that “static” is added to all the calls to your static files from an HTML page.  Let me explain that with an example. Let’s say you specify “{% static ‘my_file’ %}” in your django template. The template rendering engine modifies it to “cdn.mydomain.com/static/my_file” based on the settings.py and django-storages expectations. Cloudfront (since it’s only caching the static folder) helpfully adds another “static” to that and searches in the s3 bucket for the file “s3-bucket.com/static/static/my_file”. 

Step 3a: Add a template tag

The most straightforward fix we found for this was to have a custom static template tag to get the static files from the CloudFront and others from the s3 bucket URL.

These custom template tags are typically in the folder /templatetags/ within the app. We will define a tag called static_cdn.

File directory

@register.simple_tag
def static_cdn(url):
    if settings.CDN_ENABLED:
        url = static(url).replace(settings.AWS_S3_CUSTOM_DOMAIN, settings.AWS_S3_CDN_DOMAIN).replace('/static/', '/')
        return url
    else:
        return static(url)

static_cdn template function

What this actually does is to replace the static URL with the CloudFront URL defined in the settings.py, First, the URL is fetched using the static(URL) function and replaced with its static s3 path with the CDN URL AWS_S3_CDN_DOMAIN. As mentioned previously, CloudFront adds an extra static to all the requests coming its way. The above replacement fixes this issue. We also add a CDN_ENABLED flag so that we can test in non-production without cloudfront.

Step 3b: Modify your templates

The above steps let you set up CloudFront to serve all static files. Now, this allows us to prevent all public access to your S3 bucket and only serve media files through your web application. Additionally, as CloudFront is only caching the sub-folder, we don’t have to worry about data being incorrectly cached without S3’s protections.

In the HTML file, we can import both the static and static_cdn

{% load static_cdn %}
{% load static %}

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="{% static_cdn 'icon.png' %}"> # cdn url
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="{% static 'icon.png' %}"> # s3 url

Just for reference, our Django AWS setup looks like this

# aws setup
if not DEBUG:
    CDN_ENABLED = True
    AWS_DEFAULT_ACL = None
    AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID = '*******************************'
    AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY = '*******************************'
    AWS_STORAGE_BUCKET_NAME = 'bucket-name'
    STATIC_DISTRIBUTION_ID = '***********'
    AWS_S3_CDN_DOMAIN = '{}.cloudfront.net'.format(STATIC_DISTRIBUTION_ID)
    AWS_S3_CUSTOM_DOMAIN = '{}.s3.amazonaws.com'.format(AWS_STORAGE_BUCKET_NAME)
    AWS_S3_OBJECT_PARAMETERS = {
        'CacheControl': 'max-age=86400',
    }

    STATICFILES_DIRS = [
        os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'static'),
    ]

    STATICFILES_STORAGE = 'http_project.storage_backends.StaticStorage'
    DEFAULT_FILE_STORAGE = 'http_project.storage_backends.MediaPublicStorage'
    STATIC_LOCATION = 'static'

    STATIC_URL = 'https://{}/{}/'.format(AWS_S3_CUSTOM_DOMAIN, STATIC_LOCATION)

    AWS_PUBLIC_MEDIA_LOCATION = 'media/public'
    DEFAULT_FILE_STORAGE = 'http_project.storage_backends.PublicMediaStorage'

    AWS_PRIVATE_MEDIA_LOCATION = 'media/private'
    PRIVATE_FILE_STORAGE = 'http_project.storage_backends.PrivateMediaStorage'

    MEDIA_URL = 'https://{}/{}/'.format(AWS_S3_CUSTOM_DOMAIN, AWS_PUBLIC_MEDIA_LOCATION)

Setup 4: Allow cross-origin

We should also set up the distributions behavior to avoid cross origin access errors: 

  1. Open your distribution from the CloudFront console.
  2. Choose the Behaviors tab.
  3. Choose to Create Behavior, or choose an existing behavior, and then choose Edit.
  4. For Allowed HTTP Methods, select GET, HEAD, OPTIONS.
  5. Choose Yes, Edit.

For further information about this cross-origin error refer to this link.

Tips

  1. The static_url template tag can be defined in your own way according to the environment path that was configured in your Django application
  2. The AWS CloudFront service also provides other features such as gzip.
  3. If you are in a situation where you need to allow only certain HTTP methods, then CloudFront has this cool feature to define that too
  4. The CloudFront cached files are served using SSL but if you need a custom SSL certificate that can also be modified from CloudFront
  5. You can find the CloudFront URL from the general settings of a distribution

Summary

You have now learned how to set up CloudFront for your Django project and to allow only the static files to be served via CloudFront and the media files served using s3 that holds your private and public media storage. Hence we know how to serve static files via Cloudfront & private media files via S3 in Django.

Alternative approach when you don’t have to deal with load balancers and multiple servers: Django – Correctly Wiring to AWS CloudFront for Static and Media Files 

Do you have a better way to structure your app that would solve this problem? Do tell us.

Photo credits – Émile Perron on Unsplash

quality of hire

Quality of Hire Definition and Measures to Improve it

Quality of hire

Hiring is one of the essential priorities for HR functions worldwide. C-suite executives and line managers look up to the recruitment department for hiring the right people at the right time. In this data-driven world, recruitment metrics have emerged as a top tool to assist in hiring decisions. One such key performance indicator is the quality of hire. Consistent and regular tracking of this KPI can make the hiring process more effective and productive. Apart from instituting a quality of hire definitionorganisations are also trying to improve it. 

Hiring is one area that is expensive as well as time-consuming. As per a Glassdoor survey in 2019, organisations spend $4000 and 52 days on average to fill a vacancy. Hiring does not lead to any direct income for the organisation. It makes effectiveness in hiring all the more crucial.

The impact of a wrong hiring decision is manifold. Firstly, bad hires can cost organisations hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, it is the drop in morale and productivity that concerns the C-suite executives more. SHRM found in a survey that a staggering 95% of 2100 CFOs responded positively to this. 35% said the morale gets considerably affected due to wrong hiring. 

Almost 40% of talent leaders feel the quality of hire is the single most important metric for assessing hiring performance. However, most organisations do not have a system in place to measure this. The ones that do feel they can do better. Organisations also feel a lack of time and the absence of the right tools limit their efforts in this direction. There is a need for a standard model for measuring the quality of hire. 

Quality of Hire Definition

Quality of hire is a measure that determines the value a new employee brings to your organisation. A new hire’s performance and tenure are the principal consideration points while assessing the value delivered. 

A new employee takes time to settle into an organisation. Also, it may take months before the employee may become productive and start generating revenue. Thus, it makes more sense to calculate the quality of hire as long-term metrics.

Measuring Quality of Hire

The quality of hire definition may vary with each organisation. It is a good practice to define it in resonance with your leadership. It will not help in aligning the quality of hire to their priorities but also bring everyone on the same page. Apart from getting their buy-in, it will also help in formulating an effective hiring strategy. 

Quality of hire is also the best metrics for assessing the performance of the hiring department. It can determine the strategic value that the recruitment team creates for an organisation. For instance, a good score on time to hire has no meaning if the quality of hire is low. 

Moreover, quality of hire can also be used to determine the success of specific recruitment activities. For instance, it can determine the best sourcing strategy and vendors.

Organisations need to be wary of a few aspects while calculating the quality of hire. For instance, adding the records of high performers to this data may skew the results. A more effective calculation is to assess how many new hires have turned into high performers. 

While establishing the quality of hire definition, here are the factors that may be considered.

  • Performance reviews

Most organisations depend upon appraisals to assess the performance of their employees. Although it seems good in theory, we all know the limitations of a standard rating system. Firstly, a lot depends upon the subjectivity of the manager. Unfortunately, the relationship between a team member and a manager may also skew the rating. Secondly, a lot of organisations do not include new hires in the current performance cycle.

To get a clear picture, the hiring team can devise a separate scorecard to evaluate the performance of new hires. The managers can be asked to rate the new hire’s performance on a scale of 1-10. A simple ranking system like this can rightly point at the performance of a new hire. It may also help to add the goal-setting process in onboarding to formalise the process.

  • Tenure

An employee can deliver real value only after spending considerable time at an organisation. However, it may not give the correct results in isolation. It happens because several factors come into play. A new hire may leave the job because of some differences with the manager. It is also possible that the new employee may not get everything as was promised. 

Thus, it may make more sense to consider the tenure of high priority positions. Alternatively, the turnover rate of top performers can be viewed for a different cut. 

  • Cultural fit

To hire a star employee or to close the open positions, recruiters can act under pressure. Hiring an employee who is not the right organisation-fit can lead to several problems. Firstly, the new hire will not be able to deliver at the job. Secondly, the disengaged employee may impact the spirit of those around him.

Informal meetings with the new hires may help in determining if the hiring decision was right. Secondly, line managers and can peers can also give useful inputs. A 360-degree review after a year of joining may help in this regard.

  • Ramp-up time

In simple terms, the time a new employee takes to become productive is defined as the ramp-up time. It doesn’t necessarily have to be six months or a year. It may depend upon the organisation’s priorities, role, and business.

An organisation can evaluate the employee lifecycle of its employees to understand the average ramp-up time. Apart from assessing the quality of hire, this data can help in other areas as well. For instance, the HR department can focus on reducing the ramp-up time and launch initiatives in the direction.

All these factors can be combined into one single number to represent the quality of hire definition.

quality of hire definition

The benefit of using this formula is that it will give a comprehensive view. For a result in percentage calculate all these factors on a scale of 1-100. 

How to improve the quality of hire

The process of improving the quality of hire is a complex one. However, organisations can achieve it by tackling one issue at a time. It should start by collecting the right data from the right sources. Also, the way forward should be to align the hiring practices with the intended performance. 

  •  Move to performance-based hiring

Most organisations use the traditional method of hiring. The recruiters tend to define the job as skills and competencies. Not only is it hard to assess candidates on these variables, but it also does not give them a clear picture of the job. For instance, a job description for a marketing manager would contain 5-6 years of experience and an MBA degree. Aligning it to performance would mean mentioning something like launching a new product or increasing the market share of the product.

  • Comparison of pre-hire and post-hire data

Data can give crucial insights for improving the current processes. The recruitment department may be using psychometric assessments, interviews and other tools to identify the right candidate. Recruiters can compare the results of these assessment tools with the post-hire performance of the candidates. If the correlation is not satisfactory, it is an indication that the tools are not giving the desired results.

  • Reducing the workload of recruiters

At times, recruiters are under immense pressure to fill the open positions. However, they end up spending significant time on transactional work like scheduling meetings and negotiating with the candidates. They may not have the bandwidth to focus on other aspects of their jobs.

Technology and AI can effectively resolve this situation. These tools can automate a significant part of a recruiter’s job. For instance, technology can be used to screen and shortlist candidates from a large pool. 

Impress is one such solution that can greatly enhance the quality of hire. The chatbots offered by Impress are useful in first-level screening of the candidates. The chatbots are customisable, and recruiters can define the shortlisting criteria for each position. The fact that it can be administered on any number of candidates adds to its appeal. Moreover, it can be linked to video interview platforms for automated screening of the candidates.

impress.ai reducing workload of recruiters
  • Aligning line managers

Like any other HR initiative, it is difficult to enhance the quality of hire without the support of line managers. As a first step, develop a mutual understanding with the line manager about the quality of hire definition. 

It may also help to share interviewing tips for better hiring practices. Including performance discussions during onboarding will also help in setting a benchmark.

Conclusion

Measuring the quality of hire is an important metric for improving the effectiveness of hiring. Hiring the right people who match organisational values will not only enhance their productivity but also increase the retention rates. 

high-volume-hiring

How to use technology for high volume hiring

high volume hiring using technology

High volume hiring is a tell-tale sign of a growing and successful organisation. It may indicate that an organisation is expanding and is on the path to progress. In other instances, it can mean that the company has roles with a high turnover rate. 

Volume recruiting is a challenging task for recruiters. Firstly, it means more work and fewer chances for errors. The recruitment function needs to come up with an efficient strategy to hire a significant number of employees in a short period. Moreover, the recruiters need to be on the same page and follow a consistent process for a higher rate of success.

An automated solution may seem to be the right answer for high volume hiring. However, there are a few aspects that need to be considered. For instance, automation should not become impersonal. Engaging candidates through personal conversations is essential. It is common knowledge that disengaged candidates may not join at the last moment.  

Organisations need a practical solution when it comes to volume hiring strategy. Hiring the best people in a short frame of time means higher efficiency and speed. Besides, they also have to ensure positive employer branding throughout the hiring process. To enable this, the recruiters have to move past CV screening and scheduling interviews. 

Technology can offer highly effective solutions when it comes to volume recruiting. It can help organisations in attracting and hiring candidates more intelligently. With the right tools, recruiters can work efficiently in hiring the right candidates at the right time.  

What is high volume hiring?

In simple terms, it indicates hiring a high number of employees in a short period. Depending upon the organisation and the role, the number can run into thousands. It could stem from a new strategy or a role that has high demand in the market. 

High volume hiring is more common in retail, IT and financial sectors. As the role is in high demand, the applicant pool is also fairly large in mass recruitment. A survey reports that one such position can attract 250 applicants. Handling such tremendous numbers of applications and closing the positions is the biggest challenge in volume hiring. To manage such tremendous numbers, recruiters have to spend most of their time screening the resumes.

What are the challenges of high volume hiring?

It is easy to slip up when you are hiring for such large numbers. However,  recruiters can prepare in advance for a smooth and effective process. It can start by identifying the challenges and then progressing to the ideal solutions.

Here are some difficulties that can make volume-hiring a daunting task.

  • Time – The main problem in high volume hiring is the number of applications. Imagine receiving 250 applications for a thousand positions. It is almost impossible to scan and screen every application. If made to do manually, recruiters may not get time for anything else.
  • Quality – Recruiters need to maintain a delicate balance between time and quality of hire. Although they need to act fast, they cannot compromise on quality. A bad hire can cost more in the long run. Well-known recruiter Jorgen Sundberg estimates this cost to be to the tune of $240,000 per person. 
  • Budget – Recruiters use the metrics of cost per hire to finalise a recruitment budget. When hiring in large numbers, the actual expenses can exceed the estimated budget. The recruitment function needs a solution to optimise the expenses without any compromises.
  • Candidate experience – Hiring experience is like a preview of the working environment. If candidates are not satisfied with the hiring experience, they may not join. Moreover, it is a crucial feature of building a strong employer brand. Candidates expect a personalised and tight hiring process. 
  • Status tracking – It is easier for a recruiter to keep track of a few open positions. However, volume hiring needs a streamlined process for tracking the progress of each candidate. Apart from organising recruitment, it can also help in faster turnaround times.

How can you use technology for simplifying high volume hiring?

1. Easy job application

A survey noted that lengthy applications might dissuade the candidates. The study found that 60% of candidates quit the application process if it is too long or complicated.

The objective should be to create a simple and short application process. Firstly, try to reach candidates where they are instead of calling them to you. For instance, increase your presence on social media to attract the top talent. Secondly, make the application as short as possible. It will be best if you have a one-click submission process. Candidates may lose interest if they have to fill pages after pages. Tools that allows parsing of resumes can help here. Such products can auto-populate the fields and make it easier for candidates to apply. 

Lastly, ensure that your application process is mobile-optimised. It should allow the candidates to upload the resume and apply using their cellphones. 

2. Using the existing database

Do your recruiters outsource the positions by default? If yes, you could be incurring huge expenses for hiring employees. The costs can inflate immensely in the case of high volume hiring. Besides, using old records can also reduce the time and effort of hiring.

Although it may be hard to do this manually, technology can make it a lot simpler. A simple ATS may not allow this functionality. However, you can use algorithm-based systems to use existing records. You can fill the job description, and the system will throw the most suitable candidates.

Another way to speed up the process is by using analytics. You can run metrics on previous records to identify effective sources. For instance, you may find the consultants or job-boards that have given excellent results in the past.

3. Screening candidates

Mass recruitment invites a lot of unfit applications. Manually scanning all such resumes may result in hundreds of wasted hours. The recruiters need an efficient and faster method of screening the applications.

AI-powered tools can efficiently resolve this problem. These tools can evaluate the applications on certain criteria and rank them. One efficient way to do this is by using chatbots. It can automate conversations with the candidates and also interview them. Based on the answers, the chatbots can compare and rank the candidates. 

Impress works closely with organisations to customise chatbots for their specific requirements. For instance, Impress collaborated with DBS bank to develop JIM (Jobs Intelligence Maestro) to assess candidates in the pre screening stage of the recruitment process. JIM helped shorten the screening time from 32 minutes per candidate to 8 minutes per candidate.

impress.ai helping in high volume hiring

4. Using video interviews for shortlisting candidates

The main problem in high volume hiring is meeting every candidate. Video interviews can effectively resolve this situation. Apart from fast-tracking hiring, it can also ensure that every candidate gets a fair chance. 

Automated video interviewing tools allow the recruiters to customise the questions. Candidates can appear for the interview at a place and time of their convenience. A few tools can also evaluate the candidate’s body language. Based on the answers, the software can assess the candidates and rank them. Moreover, these tools can identify candidates who are the right cultural fit and organisational fit for higher efficiency. Lastly, the results are unbiased which can be a major bottleneck for some organisations.

Impress is a shortlisting solution that can integrate with other video interview platforms. 

5. Drive decisions with analytics

Budget is always a constraint and high volume hiring can be costly. Recruitment functions can contain these costs by analysing past data. By identifying the best practices, recruiters can fast-track their volume hiring. 

Analytics can help HR functions to make data-driven decisions. For instance, it can indicate which sources have given high performers in the past. Recruiters can also analyse candidate feedback to improve the hiring process. 

6. Engaging candidates interactively

Sharing hiring status is a crucial step in engaging the candidates. A study by LinkedIn noted that 94% of candidates would like to know the interview feedback but only 41% get it. In the case of volume hiring, recruiters may not inform every candidate about the progress. At times, there could be a delay that can result in candidates losing their interest.

Hiring functions can effectively resolve this situation by using technology. For instance, chatbots can engage the candidates and also keep them updated about the status. 

Chatbots are also effective in answering candidate questions. Recruiters can program the chatbots to handle sensitive and relevant candidate queries. Work-life balance, organisational culture and values are a few such subjects. The candidates will feel much more engaged if they can find satisfactory answers.

High volume hiring can be a task for recruiters. It demands a high level of efficiency and competence. However, technology can simplify and smoothen the process. With deeper insights and valuable analytics, recruiters can take the right actions. AI-powered tools can take on operational tasks and recruiters can focus on strategic aspects. 

recruitment-cost

All you need to know about cost per hire and how to calculate it.

Business photo created by pressfoto – www.freepik.com

Organisations are continually trying to enhance their processes to achieve higher efficiency and productivity. With advanced analytics at their disposal, organisations are increasingly making use of metrics and key performance indicators towards this effect. Apart from being objective about the processes, these metrics can also help in making informed decisions. One of the most crucial areas where such analytics can make a huge difference in recruitment. While it is one of the most significant elements of an organisation’s success, recruitment is also one of the costliest ones. Cost per hire is valuable in evaluating the efficiency of hiring at an organisation. It helps organisations with a bird’s eye view of the wellbeing of their recruitment function.

Hiring a new employee involves several direct as well as indirect costs. For instance, work hours, advertisement costs, candidate travel expenses are a few direct costs. On the other hand, are expenses like work hours lost in interviewing or onboarding the candidates that comprise the indirect expenses. Keeping a tab on cost per hire can allow the organisations to spend their money in the right places.

As per a survey by SHRM, recruitment accounts for 15% of all HR expenses. Cost per hire becomes all the more relevant in light of such high costs that are attributed to hiring new employees. Apart from being easy to track, the metric also helps in understanding the ROI of recruitment efforts.

What is the cost per hire?

In simple terms, cost per hire is the average amount that an organisation spends on hiring a new employee. Earlier, organisations followed different formulae and processes to calculate this metric. However, SHRM proposed a standard formula in 2012 in association with the American National Standards Institute to calculate cost per hire. 

cost per hire

Here is a breakdown of what constitutes internal and external recruiting costs.

Internal Costs of Recruiting

As the name suggests, the internal costs of recruiting refer to the in-house expenses incurred by an organisation for hiring new employees. It is a sum of the resources and efforts that a hiring department spends on recruitment.

It may include the following:

  • Salaries of the permanent and contractual recruitment team members.
  • Learning and development costs of the hiring team.
  • Incentives for referrals.
  • Total work-hours spent by the hiring managers in recruitment. For instance, if the hiring managers spend 15% of their time in hiring, you may include 15% of their salaries for this calculation.

External Costs of Recruiting

An organisation may liaise with various vendors for efficient and productive hiring. The external cost of recruitment includes the expenses that an organisation incurs to work with these vendors. Here are a few examples of such external costs.

  • The expenses incurred for working with recruitment consultants who support in fulfilling the organisation’s hiring mandates.
  • Hiring may become an arduous task without software like Applicant Tracking System and Candidate Relationship Management System. You may add the price of software and the amount you spend on their maintenance to the external costs. Chatbots are the latest AI-powered tools that are helping companies reach their hiring goals. For instance, chatbots offered by Impress can fast-track the applicant screening process and also identify the most qualified candidates..
  • Expenses incurred on candidate background and health checks.
  • Occasionally, organisations have to spend extra time and resources to lure the candidates. While one candidate may be looking for relocation expenses, another may want a signing bonus. All such expenses come under this header.
  • Travel costs for hiring managers and candidates are also included in external costs.

At times, candidates need some training to excel in their respective roles. Campus-hire training program is an example of this. However, such training costs are not added to the recruitment costs.

How much should be the cost per hire?

Well, there is no standard or ideal response to this. The cost of hire may vary depending upon your location, job role, leadership level, and the hiring source. Or else, it could be specific to your organisational products and services.

However, as per a survey by SHRM, the average cost of hire is somewhere around $4,425. The amount can go up in case of hiring for leadership positions. Firstly, they are harder to find and convince. Secondly, they may have to meet multiple people for organisational buy-in. Thus, a company must not strive for a lower cost per hire. Instead, the aim should be to arrive at a cost per hire which can give you the best recruitment results. For instance, it may make more sense to opt for an expensive vendor who facilitates the most qualified candidate with a faster turnaround time. Although the initial expenses may seem more, the long-term returns will be much higher in such cases.

Why is it important to calculate the cost per hire?

As seen above, the intention to calculate the cost per hire is not to reduce it. However, it is a metric that finds its use in calculating the recruitment budget. It can help in workforce planning at the start of a year. It is particularly handy in the scenario when the business is expecting a slowdown. The company can work out the hiring numbers, and not strain the overall financials.

Moreover, you can also follow a few best practices and use cost per hire to improve your processes and boost your strategic planning. 

  • Always include the same set of variables while calculating the cost per hire. This practice will give you more clarity when you compare the year-on-year costs. For instance, several companies encourage their business managers or leadership to visit business campuses to promote their employer brand. If it is a new program, it is advisable to refrain from including it. 
  • Don’t get hassled if you see a considerable increase or dip in your cost per hire. The sharp increase could be due to a new software investment. On the other hand, the steep decline could be due to a hiring freeze. Instead, make it a practice to measure the cost per hire regularly. You can either choose to do it quarterly or yearly depending upon the size of your organisation and the quantum of hiring efforts.
  • Use these reports for defining your hiring strategy. It may make more sense to use this cost per hire with other key metrics like quality of hire and time to hire. Consider it to be a positive trend if you see your cost per hire is increasing and the quality of hire is improving. It is perfectly reasonable if you are spending more money to hire better-quality candidates. Such a trend would mean that your organisation is spending less money in the long term. 
  • Evaluate and analyse your cost per hire according to departments and levels. Niche roles and higher levels will generally have a higher cost per hire. The trends may help in strengthening your processes to hire for these particular areas. For instance, one sourcing method may give you better quality candidates for a particular department at a lower cost per hire. Such analysis will help you in selecting the best sourcing avenue for that department. Similarly, you can calculate the cost per hire as per different variables for an impactful strategy.

To conclude

Cost per hire is an important metric that can give you deeper insights into your hiring strategy. Firstly, it encourages you to account for all the internal and external costs that go into hiring employees. You may be in for a surprise if you haven’t been tracking them before. Secondly, it can help in rationalising the leadership expectations from the hiring team. It is often seen that there is high pressure on the recruitment team to reduce the costs while ensuring the quality of new hires. Such metrics may provide more clarity and set their expectations.

The goal here is not to reduce the cost per hire. Instead, the focus should be on using the metrics to improve the current process. For greater efficiency, it is advisable to use cost per hire with other metrics to identify the weak areas in the hiring process. The final aim should be to optimise costs keeping in view the quality as well as the time of hire.

Impress AI chatbots can considerably optimise your cost per hire while improving the quality of hire. Firstly, the chatbot can be used to screen every applicant who applies for the job and identify the most qualified candidates. You can significantly reduce your work-hours as the hiring team won’t have to manually sift through all the resumes. Moreover, the chatbot can manage candidate queries and free your hiring team to focus more on the strategic aspect of their jobs. The chatbot is customisable to handle your organisation-specific or role-specific requirements.

optimize-cost-per-hire

10 Recruiting Trends for 2020

top 10 recruiting trends for 2020

In the ever-changing world of HR and Recruitment, 2020 is going to be a remarkable year. The current landscape of fierce hiring competition and the millennial workforce will call for a fresh perspective at recruitment strategies. AI and automation are no longer matters of the future. They are here, and the early-adopters will begin to reap their benefits. It will also clear the path for the recruiters to contribute more strategically in their jobs. The recruiting trends for 2020 will also focus on innovative solutions to make up for the prevalent skills shortage in the market.

Impressive candidate experience

The candidates today expect to be treated at par with the customers. They seek a high level of engagement with frequent two-way communication. Recruiters will have to relook at the hiring journey and ensure that it is a convincing one. Better candidate experience will not only help in engaging passive candidates but also reduce the voluntary dropout rates. 

2019 survey tried to explore the expectations of the candidates when they apply for a job. Firstly, the candidates expect an easy, quick and straightforward application process. A lot of candidates are known to quit the application process if it too lengthy or cumbersome. Secondly, the survey indicates the growing acceptance and comfort with video interviews among the candidates. Lastly, the candidates expect a high level of engagement from the recruiters. They want deeper conversations about the roles and the organisations. Moreover, they also want regular updates about their application status.

More and more organisations will take to automation and technology for creating a seamless and satisfying candidate experience. Impress AI is a powerful tool that can help organisations in this regard by enabling intuitive chatbot conversations and video interviews. Both these features can be customised as per organisation-specific requirements. The intelligent chatbot can handle complex queries regarding the company and the job. Moreover, it can be used to evaluate and rank qualified candidates. The platform can be linked with video interview platforms for adding another level of online assessments. It can assist in creating a highly-efficient and automated screening system. You can click here to request a demo.

enhance candidate experience impress.ai


Greater flexibility 

Employees expect organisations to be more accommodating and want more flexibility at their workplace. A survey found that 80% of employees would be more loyal to their companies if they were offered flexible jobs. They cite different reasons for this, ranging from maintaining a better work-life balance, avoiding office distractions and reducing the office commute stress. Candidates view their recruitment experience as a precursor to their time as an employee. For this reason, it becomes imperative for organisations to offer a certain degree of flexibility in the recruitment process. For instance, Impress AI offers a high level of versatility in the hiring process. It enables the candidates to take the online assessment at the place and time of their convenience. Moreover, they can stop the interview and restart at a later point in time.

Company culture will take the centre-stage

For long, organisations have focused on customers and providing the best services to them. However, 2020 will call for a change in their outlook as they will explore the idea of becoming more employee-centric. 

In these times of talent wars, candidates have easy and quick access to employee reviews on the internet. Most candidates prefer to visit these websites when they come across a lucrative job opening. As per a survey, Glassdoor found that 77% of candidates would consider a company’s culture when they are keen on applying for a role. Moreover, 73% of these candidates would proceed with the application process only if the organisational values align with their own. In this scenario, it has become imperative for organisations to revisit their mission statements and culture to deliver value to the employees. We are not talking about free lunches or ping-pong tables in the break-out zone. It is more about empowering the employees and giving them growth opportunities. This 2020 recruiting trends will require the C-suite executives to redefine their mission and culture statements.

Personalise Technology in HR

Every candidate is different, and so is every organisation. One technology or platform cannot suit every organisation’s objectives. For instance, one organisation may need technology to simplify its mass recruitment. Another organisation may need a platform for shortlisting relevant candidates for its niche positions. Impress AI has collaborated in the past with organisations to build chatbots specific to their roles and requirements. 

This initiative will again co-relate to enhancing the candidate experience as personalisation will become a major recruiting trend for 2020.

Automation will bring a strategic change

For long, recruiters have spent the majority of their time in operational tasks. These manual activities would leave them with little time to contribute strategically to their jobs. Automation, which is a significant recruiting trend for 2020, will shift the focus of recruiters to strategic aspects of their jobs. For instance, Impress AI chatbot can evaluate all the candidates who apply for a role and rank them as per their qualifications. It can drastically reduce the workload of recruiters and also improve the quality of hire. 

The recruiters will find more bandwidth for more meaningful work like building relationships with the hiring managers. More often than not, hiring managers can sense the disengagement of team members who are planning to leave. They can work with recruiters in advance to create a talent pipeline for crucial positions. Moreover, recruiters will also have more time for engaging candidates and deducing meaningful information from data.

Internal mobility

 Traditionally, recruiters have focused on external candidates to fill their open roles. However, as the skills shortage is becoming more prominent in the market, recruiters will have to assess the possibilities of internal hiring. Apart from keeping a track of candidates who show the promise of adaptability, recruiters will have to keep them warm for any future openings. External candidates may sometimes take 2-3 years to become productive in their jobs. In this scenario, companies will look internally for crucial roles that will require the incumbent to step up quickly. This strategy will also require closer collaboration between recruitment and talent management.

A data-driven approach to recruitment

One of the main recruiting trends for 2020 is the intelligent usage of predictive analytics to make crucial decisions. In fact, 71% of organisations already see the use of analytics as a high priority. In simple terms, predictive analysis refers to using past data to predict future hiring trends. For instance, it can be used to predict future hiring and skill requirements. Moreover, it can be used to evaluate the screening sources to indicate the most effective ones. Predictive analysis can also give accurate visibility of roadblocks that seem to be impairing the recruitment process. The main advantage of predictive analysis is the elimination of human error or biases from the recruitment process. Also, it will help in aligning an organisation’s people strategy to the overall goals. 

Collaborative hiring

One 2020 recruitment trend that is highly expected is the shift from traditional hiring towards team-based hiring. It is a type of recruitment in which cross-functional teams come together to hire an employee. It includes several stages of interviews in which the candidates meet members from other teams that they will be working with. This process not only improves the quality of hires but also bring everyone on the same page. Moreover, it will give a realistic picture of the talent market to the hiring manager. When multiple people are involved in the hiring process, candidates will also get a better picture of the organisation and its culture. 

Employee referrals

As recruiters will go back to the board to revisit their recruiting strategies, employee referrals will emerge to be one of the major recruiting trends for 2020. In a survey conducted by Careerbuilder, 82% of employers rated employee referrals above all other recruitment sources. They also said that employee-referrals gives them the best return on investment. Candidates referred by current employees not only tend to stay longer but also perform better. Organisations will work towards developing fast and easy employee referral processes to attract their employees to contribute more. Moreover, they will extend their referral programs to social media to maximise their reach.

Organisations will contemplate hiring for soft skills

For long, organisations have hired mainly for hard or technical skills. However, as markets foresee a considerable skills shortage by 2030, soft skills will become a 2020 recruiting trend to look out for. To account for this skill gap, organisations will shift their focus on hiring candidates who show a higher propensity to adapt. Organisations will have to consider the option of hiring for competencies such as collaboration, teamwork, agility that will uproot the system of hiring for the experience. We live in times when technology and roles tend to evolve quickly and an employee who is not able to adapt may not be able to deliver.

Besides, as AI and automation will replace hard skills, organisations will be in a greater need for soft skills that cannot be emulated by machines. In order to propose and deliver new services to the customers, organisations will additionally lookout for skills like imagination, creativity and curiosity.

Recruitment is a constantly evolving field where it is necessary to react as per the market. These recruiting trends for 2020 will pave the way for future hiring processes and systems. However, enhanced candidate experience is something that will define this year as exceptional. 

Online interview preparation – Tips for achieving success

online interview preparation
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Online interviews have taken over the world of recruitment by a storm. There is a good chance of coming across them if you are looking out for a job currently. As opposed to face-to-face conversations, an online interview may seem like a different ball game altogether. Especially if it is your first one. It may seem awkward, and you may be afraid of goofing up your candidature. Well, you don’t have to be as here is a complete guide for mastering them.

What are online interviews? 

An online interview is a remote assessment where the applicant reads pre-programmed questions and submits the answers. Online interviews may use chat or video as the primary means of communication.

Off late, online interviews have become extremely popular with organizations due to the several benefits they bring to the table. Recruiters can program a set of questions into the system to assess the candidates who apply for a given role. The system evaluates the applications based on the responses and gives them a score. Recruiters can use these scores to shortlist the most qualified candidates.

Their main advantage is that they can considerably reduce the screening time. Since it is automated, every candidate who applies for the job gets an opportunity to appear for the first round of interviews.

What is the main objective of online interviews?

The principal idea behind online interviews is to identify the most qualified candidates from a sea of applicants. As per glassdoor, every job opening attracts around 250 resumes. Recruiters may not get the time to go through every application in detail.

An online interview is an automated process to assess certain competencies of the applicants. When these online interviews are coupled with AI, it can lead to tremendous results. 

What is the process of an online interview?

Online assessments are timed evaluations. It is advisable to begin the process only when the candidate is free from all distractions. Once the process starts, the candidate gets time to read the questions. The next step is to submit the answers in a limited time frame. Some platforms and organizations will give you only one chance to give your answers. However, a few others like Impress AI may allow you more attempts while giving answers. It is advisable to carefully read the instructions so that you don’t miss out any details.

How can you prepare for an online interview?

Just like a face-to-face interview, you need to prepare for an online interview as well. You may need to plan more things if this is your first experience with a digital interview. Don’t worry as we have this aspect covered for you. Read the tips given below to ace this round and progress to the next level of your dream job.

Know the company

In general, it is always a good idea to read about what a company does before you apply for a job. However, if you couldn’t do it then, make sure you do so before your online interview. Hiring managers always appreciate it if you come prepared for the interviews. Certain interview platforms like Impress AI go the extra step and share company details with the candidates. For instance, the candidate can get a link, videos or information about company goals, vision, and mission, Although it is part of their employer branding exercise, such information can be extremely helpful for the applicants.

Study the products and services that the company offers to its customers. Besides, you can also study the competitors to understand the competitive advantage that this organization has. You will easily get most of the information on the company’s website. Also, try to read up the blog posts to comprehend what is happening in the industry and how they are managing change with their new offerings.

You can also set Google alerts to stay updated with the latest news about the company. It will also help to read what the customers are saying about the company’s products.

Studying these aspects will make you sound like an informed candidate. Correlate how your qualities will support the organization’s vision. Try to quote examples from your research to clear this round with flying colours. Such inputs will make you seem like a qualified candidate who is well-informed and perceptive. 

Understand the culture

Learning about an organization’s existing culture is highly recommended to ensure that you are a good fit. This activity may seem time-consuming but will save you making a wrong career move. Besides, hiring managers prefer to select candidates whose goals and ambitions align with that of an organization. For instance, a company may be aggressive towards achieving its targets. This aggression may trickle down the ladder. The managers may expect similar behavior from their team members. In another case, a product-based IT company may value creativity and out of the box thinking to resolve their challenges. 

To know more about a company’s culture, you can visit online review sites. Of course, such reviews should always be taken with a pinch of salt. However, if there is a common sentiment running through the reviews, you may consider it to be a red flag. Another simple tactic is to go through your LinkedIn connections and contact the ones who have experience with the place. You can freely ask them questions to figure out if it is the right workplace for you.

Besides, online platforms such as Impress helps the candidates with a glimpse into an organization’s culture. The candidate can direct questions about the work-life balance, working hours, etc. to the recruitment chatbots on the platform and get relevant answers.

Appreciate the opportunity

As per a survey by Jobvite, only 1 in 6 candidates who apply for a job get the chance to make it to the interview. The concept of online interviews may seem new to you and in certain cases, unnecessary. However, these digital interviews provide every single candidate with a chance to make a solid case for the candidature. In several cases, the resume may not indicate if the applicant is qualified for the role on offer. In such situations, online interviews help applicants with an avenue to share their expertise and skills.

It is our suggestion to welcome the change and embrace the opportunity. Try to use these online interviews to your advantage by flaunting your skills. Give it your best shot and plan well to make it a success.

Understand the objective of the online interview

Consider an online interview as a primary assessment tool. Your resume may not do justice to your profile and capabilities. An online assessment is your window to flaunt and elaborate on your skills. The main purpose of online interviews is to reach out to every candidate to shortlist the most suitable ones for the next round. Video assessments may be used to understand if you are confident and can express your viewpoints cohesively and quickly. 

Prepare for the questions

Online interviews are structured interviews. These are the same set of questions that are administered to several candidates like you. Depending upon the role, these questions may want to check your managerial or technical skills. Here is a sample list for an online interview, although not a comprehensive one, to give you an idea.

  1. Educational Background
  2. Work experience related to the role
  3. Skills and expertise
  4. Notice period

Although the questions are pretty straightforward, it is a good idea to rehearse them before you submit your answers. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on any crucial details related to your candidature. It will also help to read your reply before pressing the ‘enter’ button. This can ensure that you provide complete information and your responses are free from any grammatical and spelling errors. Moreover, it is advisable to answer to the point to enhance your chances of success.

Other aspects

Chat interviews offer a lot of flexibility to the candidates and can be taken from anywhere. Most of the candidates use their mobile devices to take the test and answer the questions. If there is an additional video assessment, platforms like Impress AI ask the candidate if they would like to continue with it. The applicant is directed to the video platform only when the candidate hits the button to proceed. 

We would suggest you to pick the right spot if you are appearing for a video assessment. Make sure that it is free from any noise and visual distractions. To make sure that your video is perfect, you can make a trial video before you appear for the actual interview. Try to rehearse your answers in this practice session to understand if you are going wrong somewhere.

Another aspect worth paying attention to is your clothes. It is advisable to wear business formals to indicate your seriousness about the job. Of course, you don’t have to go overboard and can choose something modest and suitable for a business meeting.

Due to their several advantages, online interviews are here to stay. We encourage you to utilize this opportunity to your advantage. It is your chance to show that you are a deserving candidate. Use the tips given above to ace your online interviews with the utmost confidence and ease. 

hiring millennials

7 Strategies for Attracting and Hiring Millennials

hiring millennials

The millennials are considerably different than their baby boomer parents. They are far more ambitious and want much more from their lives. For instance, they do not comply with the traditional ways of working with one employer until retirement or compromising with their work-life balance. They also want to have a constant dialogue about their development and want to climb the corporate ladder more quickly. In the current scenario, this generation, born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s, forms a significant portion of the workforce at an organisation. As companies work hard for retaining and hiring millennials, they often meet fresh challenges that throw them a curve. 

Let’s look at a few strategies that can help your organisation nail down this problem of millennial hiring.

1. Have a positive and wider online presence

Millennials spend almost 27 hours a week using online media. They do everything right from ordering their food to booking their rides using their phones. Millennials trust user-driven content, and the situation is no different when it comes to applying for a job. They prefer reading feedback on employer review sites before making their decisions. They research these sites to understand what the current and previous employees are saying about the pay scale, benefits and the work culture of an organisation. While positive reviews may give them strong reasons to apply, negative comments may dissuade them from going ahead with their application.

So, how to hire millennials? For starters, you will have to make it a priority to have a positive and broader online presence of your organisation. You can even have a dedicated person to evaluate and respond to online reviews. There are several reviews out there that are entirely untrue or do not come from a past or current employee. In such cases, you can report them and have them removed. Secondly, as an employer, you get the opportunity to respond to these reviews. Your official reply will communicate a sense of responsibility to the readers. State a few action items that you will undertake to resolve the negative opinions and reviews.

Lastly, these reviews can work as inputs for your HR initiatives. They are not very different from exit feedback as they can give you insights about your company’s culture. If the reviews have a common sentiment, you must treat it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

2. Offer a comprehensive package

Millennials are competitive, but they don’t value money much while accepting a job offer. They appreciate intangibles that a company has to offer. For instance, they will be more keen on benefits like extended paternity leave than perks like a car allowance. They look for a job that offers flexibility and work-life balance. They believe they should get paid leaves or the flexibility to leave on time if they perform well. Besides, this generation is also waking up to the issue of mental health and appreciate an organisation that supports this cause. Other than this, you can also offer better experiences within the office premises like beer bashes, cooking classes, yoga etc. for attracting millennials to your company. In short, as an employer, you need to talk their language to connect on a deeper level.

3. Personal and professional growth

Millennials are more willing to join an organisation that allows them to grow and invest in their growth. Millennials are liberal and not averse to taking risks. It is the main reason why so many of them are turning into entrepreneurs. They are more prepared to change their career paths if they see an opportunity.

Give them the chance to grow both vertically as well as laterally. Another thing that may help you is to understand that they do not respond well to the traditional way of receiving feedback two times a year. They want more consistent and constructive feedback discussions with their managers. It is even better if they can get a mentor who can guide them to grow in their roles. They feel more engaged and productive when they are moving forward and making progress. It may even help to support them financially for higher studies. With these changes, you will not only succeed at attracting millennials to your company but also win their loyalty.

4. Transform your work culture

Gone are the days when employees would punch in their cards or work minimum hours a week or were comfortable with hierarchy in their organisation. An open and flexible culture matters more to a millennial in the workforce.

Transform into a more casual culture where employees can move beyond hierarchies. You can also try to make your office space more inviting and comfortable. Encourage open discussions on an internal platform. Furthermore, millennials do not like being restricted to formal workwear. Allow them to wear business casuals on more days to see a difference. Try to build a culture of trust and self-management.

Millennials are a generation that takes its own decisions and dislikes micro-management. They will also be more attracted to a workplace that gives them the liberty to work from remote locations and deliver at their chosen hours. 

As per a Linkedin survey, the number one thing millennials want to know about your company is your culture and values. The survey also found that a staggering 93% of millennials are open to hearing about job opportunities, and 66% are willing to talk to a recruiter. It will help to include your culture and values in the first-time conversations to develop their interest in your organisation. 

5. Embrace Transparency

Millennials like transparency and appreciate being involved in strategy discussions. They also want to know how they are instrumental in their organisation’s growth. You can achieve this by communicating frequently and holding town hall discussions with the C-suite leaders.

As per a survey by LinkedIn, millennials like to work under strong leadership. 87% of the respondents said it matters to them if they can take pride in their employer. 70% of ones who said they weren’t proud of their organisations cited weak leadership for their negative answer. They will gain more confidence in their leaders if they can get free access to them and know what they are thinking about the future.

6. Change your recruitment process

Modifying your recruitment process and adopting a customer-centric approach can help you significantly in hiring millennials. They like to be treated as customers as they are shopping around for jobs. These talented individuals know their value in the market and may lose interest if they are not engaged.

Firstly, they do not like lengthy or cumbersome application processes. Moreover, they prefer to be engaged right from the first phone call until they are on-boarded. Recruiters are under so much pressure of transactional work that they hardly get the time to invest in building relationships.

You can resolve this problem by using AI-powered tools to enhance your hiring experience. For instance, chatbots can answer applicant queries and provide all the right information. Applicants won’t have to wait for the recruiter to return their calls if they want to know something. Moreover, these tools can send them constant updates about the status of their application. Impress provides such tools that can not only ensure a better candidate experience but also reduce your recruiters’ workload.

7. Innovate

Millennials appreciate more efficient and streamlined processes. They prefer having information on their fingertips instead of having to contact someone and waiting for their response. It means you may have to revamp your finance, operations and HR processes. Provide your employees with a platform that supports self-service. Having information on their desktops will not only engage them but also enhance their productivity. You can also adopt the mobile-first trend. If there is an app for learning or improving processes, millennials are more likely to use it instead of the traditional methods. 

Apart from these, millennials appreciate genuine workplaces. They will see through it if an employer does not walk the talk. If you promise them something in your vision or mission and do not adhere to it, they are likely to get disappointed by that. To attract them, give them a complete package of attractive benefits, offer them an open culture and show your genuine interest in their growth. They will not only join your organisation but even spread a good word about you in their respective networks.

AI for recruiting – Your complete guide

Digital solutions and AI has revolutionised the business landscape in the last decade. Organisations are using smart digital solutions for achieving higher productivity at reduced costs. One area where AI is significantly making its presence felt, is recruitment. The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was the most basic level of using AI for recruiting. Since its inception, the ATS has helped the recruiters by making their jobs easier and faster. It allowed them to track their open positions more efficiently. 

The recent innovations in this field have gone up by several notches. These solutions leverage AI and machine learning to target the key pain points of recruitment. 

Let’s look at some facts to understand the problems faced by organisations in hiring the right people.

  • As per a survey by Careerbuilder, 50% of recruiters said they were facing difficulties in finding the right people with desired skills for their open positions.
  • It is a misconception that open positions save money by reducing your payroll expenses. On the contrary, each open position can cost you $500 per day. 
  • As per Careerbuilder, recruiters receive around 250 resumes for each open position. Let’s assume that a recruiter has ten open positions to fill. Going by this figure, the recruiter would have to scan 2500 resumes! And we all know that ten is a conservative number for a recruiter’s job.

In this scenario, a recruiter’s job is not only stressful but can also cost the organisation a lot of money, if not done well.

The recent application of artificial intelligence in human resources has targeted these problem areas. The resultant solutions aim at automating a large part of a recruiter’s work which is repetitive and transactional. Due to this, the recruiter can focus more on the strategic aspects of the job. For instance, the recruiter gets more time to evaluate the candidates and build relationships with the hiring managers. More often than not, recruiters do not have an adequate understanding of the role as they do not spend enough time with the hiring managers.

What is AI for recruiting?

Artificial Intelligence for recruiting is the application of machine-learning and problem-solving in the process of hiring. The main objective is to automate repetitive tasks and streamline the process for a faster and efficient result.

With such transformative solutions, recruiters often wonder if AI will make their jobs redundant. The fact, however, is that AI cannot replace the human connection, which is an important element of recruitment. For instance, engaging passive candidates or expressing empathy can go a long way in filling those open positions with the right talent. Machines may become super-smart but cannot fulfil these requirements.

Uses of AI for recruiting

Several organisations around the globe are using AI for achieving astounding success in recruitment. Here is how AI is changing the face of hiring.

  1. Improving online applications – As per CareerBuilder, 60% of candidates quit their online application if it is too long. This defeats the purpose of using an online application platform. AI-powered conversational platform can resolve this problem by giving smart and intelligent features to the candidates. Moreover, AI-powered online management systems use keywords and word flows to enable enhanced tracking. These intelligent systems can easily sort through hundreds of applications and rank the resumes based on skills and experience. Due to this, recruiters can save several man-hours on manually scanning every resume.
  2. Identify the best candidates – Hiring the wrong candidate can prove costly to the organisation. The new-hire must not only be the right fit for the role but also for the organisation. Any lapses in judgement can cause reduced productivity and engagement. AI-powered tools that use gamified experience, predictive analysis and personality assessment can resolve this situation. For instance, predictive analysis can indicate the motivation of the employee to join the organisation. Similarly, personality assessments can help in assessing if the candidates align with the organisation’s culture and values. 
  3. Expedite the shortlisting process – AI-backed solutions can act as virtual recruitment assistants. One of the ways of doing this is by using recruitment chatbots. These bots can be programmed to handle all kinds of candidate queries and increase the application rate. For example, a prospective candidate may want to know about the work-life balance before applying to an open position. The candidate may not want to ask such questions to a recruiter for the risk of being judged. Secondly, chatbots can be programmed to assess candidate profiles.

    Impress has gone a step ahead in evaluating candidates using chatbots. Impress chatbots talk to each candidate after they apply to a position. The chatbot then ranks these candidates, thereby, reducing a considerable time and efforts on the part of recruiters. Impress chatbots can integrate with your existing systems and supercharge your current ATS. You can either push or pull real-time data by integrating the two systems. You can place a chatbot link on the job listing page of your careers website and take the candidate to the Impress platform for evaluation. The scores are then pushed back to the ATS.
  4. Hire remote workers – In search of better talent, several organisations are adapting to remote working. However, companies need to take extra precautions when hiring a remote workforce. They need advanced solutions to determine if these candidates can be trusted and have good work ethics. AI tools can effectively solve this problem by identifying potential threats. Some of these tools scan the candidate’s social media profiles and detect early warning signals. 
  5. Video interviews – AI-powered tools can schedule and hold the first round of video assessments. The recruiters can program these systems to ask profile-specific questions. Based on the responses, these tools can shortlist the relevant candidates. The recruiters can go through the interviews at their convenient time, and gauge the candidate’s communication skills and expertise in the domain. This can considerably reduce the workload of recruiters. Impress can integrate with third party video interview platforms for these assessments and provides scores in real-time.
  6. Advanced analytics for better hiring decisions – Apart from automation, analytics is another solution for effective hiring. Analytics can give valuable insights to make hiring more effective. For instance, analytics can be used to identify the best sourcing channels. Or, it can recognise the best consultants who deliver with the best turnaround times. Such data-driven inputs can help in making crucial hiring decisions for a higher success rateI
ai for recruiting


How can AI transform the role of a recruiter?

For long, recruiters have worked with a long list of endless tasks. They have to write and post job descriptions, engage candidates, schedule interviews, roll out offers and onboard the new-hires. Through automation and smart features, AI can become a recruiter’s friend. AI-backed tools can reduce their workload by taking care of repetitive and volume-heavy tasks. 

As a result, a recruiter’s role will grow and focus more on the strategic aspects of the job. They can even help the line managers in making better hiring decisions through their insights and knowledge of the industry.

What are the benefits of AI for recruiting?

  • The first major advantage is that AI will transform the role of recruiters. In due course of time, recruiters will start focusing more on pro-active hiring and add more value to their organisations.
  • Secondly, businesses will value the contributions of recruiters even more. Analytics such as ‘quality of hire’ or ‘best places to hire’ will further strengthen the relationships between hiring managers and recruiters.
  • AI can eliminate unconscious bias in the workplace. More often than not, hiring managers and recruiters are not aware of these biases that impact the selection of the right candidates. For instance, Impress uses a system where each candidate is assigned a number and is unable to differentiate based on gender or caste.
  •  AI-powered tools can be used to share regular status updates with the candidates. Applicants appreciate when they are in the loop and know what is going on. Regular updates can keep up their engagement can increase the conversion rate. 

The use of AI for recruiting is leading to a breakthrough transformation in the field of hiring. The recruiters’ role will evolve to have a more strategic bent. Moreover, organisations will be able to hire the best candidates at reduced costs.

Everything you need to know about Recruitment Chatbots

Technology is so intricately intertwined with human lives these days that it is difficult to imagine one without the other. It won’t be unfair to say that technology dominates our lives in ways one couldn’t have imagined earlier. With new advancements and cutting-edge innovations, technology is beginning to emulate the human mind and behaviour. Alan Turing, who is considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, once said that a computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human. With intuitive chatbots, we can safely say that the time has come. Chatbots are being used in businesses in scenarios that were hitherto unheard of. More specifically, chatbots are helping in the growth of enterprises.

Apart from their various uses in transforming businesses, chatbots have found a special place in recruitment. Hiring, which was till recently, a conservative sector, has evolved in this new age of technology. Earlier the process involved the recruiters to write job descriptions, post on job boards and interview candidates. Applicants, on the other hand, had little say in the entire process and would have to wait endlessly to hear from the recruiter. However, in recent times the power needle has taken a full 180-degree turn and how. Companies are trying hard to woo skilled candidates to build a talented workforce. As per a survey by SHRM, a staggering 83% of HR professionals said they were facing troubles in finding the right candidate. 

In this scenario, when businesses are competing to attract talent, candidates expect a high level of engagement. They expect a seamless hiring process with complete transparency and regular feedback. Recruitment chatbots, coupled with AI, are supporting recruiters in improving the overall hiring scene. Let’s dig deeper to understand what recruitment chatbots are, how they work and the benefits they bring to the table.

What is recruitment chatbot?

A recruitment chatbot is an AI-powered tool that can converse like a human with the candidates. It can be defined more accurately as a conversational agent or a recruiter’s assistant. It is a software application that uses natural language processing and machine learning to understand a conversation and respond appropriately. 

Here are the tasks that it can do on behalf of a recruiter.

  • Greet a candidate on the company’s website and ask if the visitor is looking for any specific information.
  • Ask for personal information from the applicant so that the recruiter can contact at a convenient time.
  • Answer candidate queries and provide general information. The chatbot can be equipped to handle more complex queries about work-life balance, office timings etc.
  • Assist in the recruitment process by asking relevant questions related to experience and interest. This can be used to pre-qualify the candidates.
  • Scheduling the first round of interview.

What are the benefits of recruitment chatbots for an enterprise organisation?

Enterprise organisations have an immense scope of expansion. Needless to say, they cannot grow unless there is a corresponding growth in their workforce. This growth has to be both qualitative and quantitative for the organisation to become a market leader. This puts tremendous pressure on the HR department to recruit and retain a talented workforce. 

However, it is also a fact that HR professionals find it difficult to run HR processes efficiently due to lack of resources. SHRM corroborated this in their survey report of 2016.

A recruiter’s work responsibilities include a host of activities like:

  • Writing attractive and accurate job descriptions.
  • Screening a vast number of applications to pin down the most qualified candidates.
  • Scanning the market to find passive candidates who can perfectly fit into the open positions.
  • Engaging the candidates right from the first point of interaction until they are on-boarded.
  • Completing operational tasks like scheduling interviews, negotiating offers, rolling out offer letters and ensuring a smooth onboarding.

Amidst all this, the recruiter gets little time to give strategic inputs at the workplace. Moreover, candidates expect constant engagement or they may lose interest in the job. As per a study by CareerBuilder, 78% of candidates said they use their hiring experience to gauge how the company will treat them. In this scenario, one can only imagine the immense workload that recruiters get buried under.

Enterprise organisations, that at are the cusp of expansion, can benefit from chatbots in the following ways.

  • Saving time – Since a recruiter is burdened with so many tasks, there may be no time to engage prospective candidates and build relationships. As per Fornstack, 55% of recruiters lose 8 hours in a week to manual and administrative tasks. Chatbots can ease this challenge by taking on several of these tasks. For instance, it can handle candidate queries and schedule interviews. They can also be customised to take preliminary interviews and qualify candidates. This can, in turn, increase the productivity of recruiters.
  • Enhanced candidate experience – As per a survey by Allegis, 58% of candidates are comfortable interacting AI apps during the initial stages of the hiring process. Since the chatbot will be available 24X7, a candidate will always have “somebody” to talk to. This can drastically improve the candidate experience who regularly complain about low levels of communication. 
  • Reduced time to hire – The Allegis survey also found that 66% of candidates were comfortable with a chatbot scheduling their interviews. Considering this benefit, coupled with the previous one, the time to hire can be reduced drastically. 

Intelligent chatbot can be developed on Impress platform that can give you several benefits along with the ones mentioned above.

What are the challenges of using recruitment chatbots?

  • Language differences – People may use slangs or short forms while texting. It can become challenging to program a chatbot to understand all these variations. Impress, however, has solutions to cater to such localisation of the language.
  • Lack of emotional quotient – A robotic chatbot may defeat the purpose of using them. To bring in a human context, there has to be a mix of humour and slangs for building a better connect with the candidates. Digging deeper into this issue, Impress has personalised chatbots to deliver an emotional connect.
  • Unknown situations – Although chatbots can learn from their past experiences, they may still encounter unknown situations. They may not know how to respond in such circumstances and may even spoil the candidate experience. However, such occurrences may be far and few.

How are organisations using recruitment chatbots?

Impress has collaborated with esteemed organisations to develop their custom chatbots. Two such cases are illustrated below. 

  • JIM – DBS along with Impress developed JIM to hire wealth managers more efficiently. Short for Job Intelligence Maestro, JIM has automated a significant portion of the hiring process by reviewing applications and collecting applicants’ responses for pre-screening questions. Besides, JIM can also conduct psychometric profiling assessments for further information. The main objective was to reduce the workload of recruiters so that they can give more strategic contribution and also to fulfil the demand for a vast number of wealth managers. This initiative saw a huge positive response from the candidates where 90% of them were satisfied with its performance. 
  • EVA – Impress worked with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to develop EVA to assess candidates in the early stages of the application process. The colleges receive about 4000 applications every year and it would take around 470 man-hours to go through the individual write-ups. EVA has reduced this time to 2 hours and simplified the screening process 

Apart from other benefits, Impress chatbot can offer further advantages like:

  • Scalability – Since it is based on technology, the chatbot can be empowered to hold several simultaneous conversations. This is an outstanding feature as a human can only talk to one person at a time. 
  • Eliminating human bias – Hiring managers and recruiters can inadvertently bring in an element of unconscious bias in the recruitment process. Such bias can cost hugely by losing some really talented candidates. Chatbots can remove human bias and support in building a diverse and inclusive workforce
  • Real-time response – As per careerarc, 65% of applicants said they rarely or never receive any information about their application. 51% of those who did say the response takes more than a month to come their way. Chatbots can give real-time responses and resolve such alarming situations. 
  • Automating FAQs – Candidates hesitate to ask certain questions to a human face. However, they are more comfortable talking to a bot that they know won’t judge them. Thus chatbots can effectively handle queries about working hours, work-life balance, leadership and culture.
  • Customisable – When it comes to bots, one size does not fit all. For instance, volume hiring is significantly different than niche recruitment. Impress allows you to customise your bots as per your role and organisation.

Impress has improved the hiring process considerably by achieving the following metrics*.

  • 75% reduction in time to qualify for a candidate.
  • 30% reduction in the cost of hire.
  • 30 minutes screening process instead of 7 days.
  • Increases the quality of hire by 2 times.
  • 95% of candidates had a positive recruitment experience.

Recruitment chatbots, with their several advantages, are here to stay. They are fast, intuitive and can certainly support an organisation’s recruitment strategies. We are still at a nascent stage in this technology and with time, chatbots are slated to get only better. 

* These metrics are based on the data collected from internal clients of Impress.