Attracting Top Talent in the Age of AI

Artificial intelligence and automated technologies are about to transform the search for people. David Chan, CEO of Bo Le Associates, discusses how to find and retain talent in the workplace of tomorrow.

June 20, 2018 – Artificial intelligence is quickly emerging as a game-changer for recruiting – enabling organizations to more readily identify and hire candidates. It is enabling search firms to find and evaluate talent with greater accuracy and speed. New recruitment technology can sift through tremendous amounts of data to identify top prospects exponentially faster than any individual, or team for that matter.

David Chan, CEO of Bo Le Associates (RGF Executive Search Greater China), notes that in today’s executive search world the speed to deliver top candidates is more important than ever. Thus, executive search will be looking to gain a competitive advantage with the help of data analytics, AI, and machine learning.

While technology is already playing an important role in recruiting today, Mr. Chan sees candidate identification and candidate sourcing as some of the first areas to be impacted with culture matching and training & development following close behind. “The list, eventually, will go on and on,” he said. “As I see it, the entire recruiting lifecycle will be impacted by AI. AI will touch it all.”

Based in Shanghai, Mr. Chan provides advice on effective leadership, performance culture and strategic succession planning to clients all over Greater China. As China’s talent scene is rapidly changing due to Chinese companies’ internationalization as well as foreign companies entering the market, Mr. Chan’s own global experience is of utmost value to his firm’s clients.

Mr. Chan sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss his views on recruiting in the era of AI and its long term impact on finding and managing talent. But as he outlines below, attracting and finding talent is one thing; retaining people remains the holy grail of recruiting. He offers his unique insight on what search firms can do with AI to get there.


David ChanDavid, what is critical to attracting and retaining great talent today?

One key development that we see as critical to attracting and retaining talent are employer branding initiatives. Strong brands attract strong people. But of course the impact of innovation is equally important in luring top talent to organizations today. Traditional companies in old line industry sectors are suffering the most. Innovative companies attract innovative talent. So as we see it, businesses with strong employer brands and innovative cultures are the ones most likely to supersede the global talent shortage.

Related: For Executive Search Firms, Analytics Can be a Game Changer

What are some key ways to retain top talent?

In a word: engagement. Engaged employees are proven to last the test of time. And employee engagement is something that begins the day the employee joins the organization and it is something that is continually nurtured over time.

What does 2018 look like from a hiring perspective?

What we’ve seen so far in 2018 is strong hiring. Our markets here remain healthy and buoyant and much like we see in the U.S. market areas such as IT, high tech, and healthcare booming. All of these sectors need talent. I just returned from Tokyo two weeks ago and as you know the summer Olympics in Japan will be held in 2020 and we’re seeing an immense amount of hiring as Japan prepares for that international event. Once again we see demand outstripping supply when it comes to talent.

“AI is probably the most important and exciting development to ever occur within the recruiting sector.”

Companies continue to struggle to fill job vacancies. How are firms like yours helping?

We are helping in two ways. We are using our networks like never before and we are embracing technology to find and assess and recruit talent faster. Speed is the name of the game today. Companies need people for competitive advantage and so our job as recruiters is to help them land that talent with lightning speed. Within the next few years, we will all be speeding up the process by way of AI and machine learning tools. It is no longer a matter of it, but when. AI is probably the most important and exciting development to ever occur within the recruiting sector. We all need to prepare ourselves for what is to come, however. And we need to prepare ourselves to fully embrace it.

Related: Analytic and Assessment Tools Gain Traction among Headhunters

Will recruiting become easier or more challenging?

More challenging! What we’re seeing is an industry that is shifting and transforming. I come from the financial services sector and I witnessed in massive change in that field. That’s what’s coming to the recruiting and talent business, but times 10! Technology, of course, is the predominant driver. But so is just our way of thinking. So much is changing today. Things like block chain and cashless transactions – we are in the midst of a revolutionary change along so many fronts today – but we are fortunate to have so much as our fingertips like never before. The key thing is we must embrace it all. There can be no holding back. And that means the types of people we need to recruit must be different than those we have recruited in the past. Skills sets are different. Sensitivity to new cultures is different. We need vastly different people to work in the workplace of tomorrow.

Artificial Intelligence Changing the Role of Recruiters
Artificial intelligence is transforming the face of workforces around the world. For executive recruiters and human resources departments, it has meant a growing number of new, specialized roles to fill and untapped talent to discover. Once feared as making the role of the recruiter impersonal and robotic …

Do you think the use of talent analytics and artificial intelligence will help?

It is essential. Technology, data analytics, AI, machine learning, robotics – all of those will help. Again, it all comes down to speed. If these new platforms help us find and assess people faster, then yes, we need every new technology available. Filtering candidates is where we are headed. That has been the essential missing ingredient – proper filtering. Technology is unquestionably about to fix this problem. And of course all of this allows us to predict with much greater accuracy how well people will succeed in their jobs. Each technological advance will allow us to fine tune the search process.

Where do you see AI leading search firms to in the next couple of years?

It’s a very big topic. And to be honest I don’t think even the people who are developing these technologies have the answer for this quite yet! It’s evolving too quickly. As part of the Recruit Group, we have significant investment in technology, AI, HR tech and all that. No doubt all of this will continue to evolve significantly. Early on clearly candidate identification and candidate sourcing will be the first areas to be impacted. Then I think areas like culture matching and training & development will be impacted. The list, eventually, will go on and on. As I see it, the entire recruiting lifecycle will be impacted by AI. AI will touch it all.

Related: AI Ushers in a New Day for Companies and Recruiters

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments