The Future of Strategic Recruiting will use tools like Evergreen Jobs to create an AI talent pipeline. As you will learn later, this AI talent pipeline will soon be necessary for any company to achieve its bottom-line results. This “always recruiting tool” that I am highlighting here enables companies to hire a much higher volume of AI talent. Because the tool allows you to cover any time periods or “gaps” when (for any reason) there historically has not been an open AI requisition. This evergreen practice will ensure that a recruiter will always be actively searching for AI talent at any time when targeted AI candidates suddenly begin their job search.
Part I – CEOs Are Declaring That AI Will Be The Top Driver Of Business Success
As a recruiter or a recruiting leader, you may not yet be fully aware of the fact that the leaders of many industry-dominating companies have already publicly stated that AI will literally be “the top driver of business success at their company.” For example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos told shareholders, “The key to the company’s future success lies in artificial intelligence.” And Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, now calls Google/Alphabet an “AI first” company.” And finally, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, called AI “the ultimate breakthrough in technology.”
And because what Fast Company calls “The War For AI Talent” is a global one. Note that Chinese leaders have also stated that the development of AI will be “the main driver of their economy.” And Vladimir Putin said that “the country that leads in artificial intelligence will rule the world.”
Part II – Weak Recruiting Has Been A Top CEO Problem For Years… But This Current AI Push Will Make It Much Worse
A recent PWC survey of CEOs found that 77% stated that weak recruiting is now the primary limiting factor in corporate growth. Similarly, the 2023 Conference Board’s C-Suite survey found that attracting and retaining talent is this year’s top internal executive priority.
However, after the recent startling public successes of AI, particularly ChatGPT, I predict that executives will soon demand recruiting narrow its focus to meet the new strategic goal of building and maintaining enough quality and volume of AI talent to spur growth throughout their companies.
And fortunately, most CEOs have already made the business case for this shift. Recruiting leaders won’t need to make it again.
Yes, I have been predicting since 2018 that the ability to recruit a continuous volume of skilled AI team members will eventually become a top critical success factor at every large and medium-sized company. In fact, one MIT survey found that 85% of executives believe that “AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.”
With so many executives already supporting the need to boost their AI hiring capabilities dramatically, the remaining major recruiting area every smart recruiting leader must now concentrate on is “What are the most effective and easiest to implement recruiting approaches” to provide this needed talent.
Part III – AI Recruiting Tips With The Highest Strategic Impacts
Your goal as a recruiting leader should be to build and maintain a measurable competitive advantage so that you can dominate AI recruiting. So given our current recruiting environment, here are the 12 highest-impact actions that I have found to be the most effective, with the easiest-to-implement approaches listed first.
- Maintain Evergreen Jobs (always open requisitions) – This is the easiest-to-implement tool with the highest immediate impact. You create Evergreen jobs in order to avoid missing out on a single AI candidate. This missed candidate occurs when any targeted candidate is considering a new job during a time period when your company doesn’t have an open AI requisition. The best way to ensure continuous recruiting is through the designation of “always open Evergreen Jobs,” which allows recruiters to instantly pounce whenever they find a desirable AI recruiting target considering a job change. You can find many more details about this Evergreen Jobs approach and philosophy by clicking here.
- Referrals from AI and related disciplines – The most effective recruiting source for both quality and volume are almost always employee referrals. However, it’s unlikely that most of your employees will know even a single AI expert. So it’s best to ask your top performers in all areas related to AI to periodically make proactive candidate recommendations. It’s also a good idea to solicit referrals from AI-related consultants and vendors that work with your company.
- Focus on boomerang rehires – Many times, your best-performing former employees that worked in AI regret their decision to leave your firm. So it makes sense to keep in contact with the very best ones periodically. Then have one of your former employees that knows them to subtly ask if they might be interested in returning.
- Revisit your AI silver medalists – It makes sense to revisit your AI candidates that came in a close second in one of your past job searches. So after 6 to 12 months have passed, revisit them because they will now likely be more qualified after more job experience and better-developed skills.
- Designate AI specialty recruiters – AI recruiting is a field that requires constant practice and continuous learning about AI. So creating a dedicated “AI hiring team” is often required. In addition, it’s also a good idea to designate a small group of recruiters that will specialize in AI. However, there are few external organizations that effectively train a high volume of AI recruiters. Your best choices are to develop your own AI recruiters. Or to directly target and poach away the best AI recruiters that are working at other firms. Especially the recruiters that beat you in a previous “head-to-head recruiting competition.”
- You must gather data that allows for recruiting personalization – Because AI professionals are not a homogeneous group. Much of your recruiting will need to be personalized so that it fits each individual candidate. Therefore it is essential that you conduct thorough market research to determine where and how a top AI candidate would likely learn about your job opening. As well as what specifically are “the job and company attraction factors” that would pique their interest in your job or company.
- Build an online AI learning community to build long-term trust – Because most AI talent is highly cynical about recruiters. The best way to recruit them is often by slowly building their trust over the long term. This can best be accomplished through the use of an online professional learning community which is an online community that you control. It builds participation by helping members learn about AI. Be careful that your employees that participate in it avoid the slightest hint that it also has a recruiting purpose. You can find more details about professional learning communities by clicking here.
- Get the help of others for finding the best AI sources – Forget finding real AI talent on popular job search sites like LinkedIn or Indeed. And instead, work with your own AI employees and recruiters to identify the best niche AI job boards (e.g., the ai job board). As well as the best universities for recruiting AI talent. In addition, because many AI professionals are PhDs. You can often find them by searching academic journals and AI patents.
- Adopt a talent-hoarding mentality – It is essential that your recruiting leaders practice an “if we have them, you can’t” talent-hoarding philosophy whose goal is to win the AI product development race. By successfully hoarding so much AI talent at your company, the AI teams at other companies will be so short-staffed that they will be forced to struggle to get their product to market.
- Poaching individuals and team lift-outs – The best prospective members of any AI team are probably fully employed and working at one of your direct competitors, unlike hiring the unemployed when you purposely poach them away from another company. Your company gets better and simultaneously, their former company suffers. Also, almost everyone in AI is on a tight-knit team. When a major project comes to an end at another company, realize that this AI group might have the desire to stay together. You should assign a recruiter in an attempt to “lift out” that entire team and to bring it as a single intact, already functioning unit into your company.
- Put a special focus on diversity recruiting and retention – If you think that regular diversity recruiting is hard, you must realize upfront that recruiting and retention of diverse AI talent will be at least twice as hard among AI professionals.
- Religiously conduct failure analysis – Because the cost of a hiring failure is so much higher in this prioritized AI-dominated business environment. The recruiting function should formalize its own use of machine learning internally. And to then use it in order to identify the specific causes of every hiring success and failure.
- Create AI recruiting performance metrics – As a foundational requirement, the most effective AI recruiting processes must be data-driven. So TA leadership must develop and report performance metrics that cover each critical performance area, including recruiting volume, unfilled jobs, time to fill, and the on-the-job performance of AI new hires.
If You Need More “How To” Details
Because of space limitations, the advice that I provide in this article must be limited. However, You can learn additional ways that your company’s business focus will shift as a result of AI dominance in every business function by clicking here. And you can also learn more about how your company’s own recruiting process will, over time, drastically change. In order for the recruiting function itself to take full advantage of the latest AI-driven recruiting technology by clicking here.
Part IV – Understanding Why It’s Difficult To Recruit A High Volume Of AI Talent
There are multiple reasons why recruiting and retaining sufficient talent for the continuous growth of AI teams will be extremely difficult. Those primary reasons often include the following:
- An ugly demand-supply ratio – The demand for AI talent is now growing exponentially. However, because many team members must hold PhDs, the supply of qualified AI talent is still severely limited. Unless you have a dominant recruiting function, in the future, your only remaining choice may be using your existing AI algorithms as a tool for creating other new AI algorithms.
- The top firms already have a huge lead, so most must play catch up – The top global firms (by market cap value) are already far in the lead when it comes to AI development and recruiting. Realize that you are facing a Herculean task just to catch up to the efforts at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. And, of course, don’t forget that there is also serious international competition for AI talent. So offering remote work options will be necessary in order to remain competitive internationally.
- AI talent is almost always difficult to deal with – Because this class of professional AI talent already knows its value. Often, they can be a bit arrogant and egotistical about how they treat recruiters who are not fully knowledgeable about AI. Their arrogance is often displayed by purposely hiding themselves online. And even when you find their contact information, it can still be extremely difficult just to get a single call back. And if an AI candidate experiences anything that they perceive to be negative during their hiring process. Realize that they will probably drop out of that process almost immediately.
- Typical recruiting sources and selling approaches won’t usually work on AI talent – Because the current managers of employed AI talent already know their value. Every member of any competitor’s AI team will invariably be well-treated by their current company. When they do search, they will likely get multiple offers, requiring not only “white glove treatment” but also a shorter time to fill. Unfortunately, your finalist will likely require a much more sophisticated selling approach than most recruiters and hiring managers can deliver. And because they are so well-known and well-connected, they usually get their next job by becoming an employee referral. And your company won’t find them that way unless your employee referral program is advanced and data-driven.
|If you only do one thing – Convince a recruiting leader to designate an “AI engineer job” as an Evergreen job. And then test this “always open requisition” approach for the hiring of at least one AI engineer candidate (even if that requires hiring them before they are actually needed on the job). And then, identify and fix any bugs in your Evergreen process before you use this tool again.|
Perhaps only the smartest and the well-read among recruiting leaders will likely know it already, but the primary job focus area of strategic recruiting is about to shift away from what it has been during the last few years (a focus on finance, production, robotics, supply chain, and data security). And instead, expect it to shift intensely toward a laser focus on the newest dominant high-impact business area: recruiting for the AI/Machine Learning job family. The final question to ask yourself as an individual recruiter or a recruiting leader is, “Have I fully prepared for this shift?”
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