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Breaking Barriers: How AI Helps Non-Traditional Candidates


As a leader, you probably understand the importance of a diverse workforce. But have you fully considered the potential of non-traditional candidates? More importantly, are you using artificial intelligence to tap into this talent pool?

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

First, let’s talk about the increasingly important role that artificial intelligence plays in recruitment. AI is changing how we hire, from automating mundane tasks like job postings and scheduling interviews to introducing a broader range of applicants into the talent pool. AI technology allows recruiters and employers to save time and money on manual processes.

Case Studies: Unilever and Hilton

One organization that is using AI in recruitment effectively is Unilever. The company processes around 1.8 million job applications annually. To streamline and enhance this, Unilever uses an online platform for initial candidate assessment. 

Applicants first play a series of games that test various skills and qualities. Machine learning algorithms then evaluate their potential fit for a role, comparing them to profiles of successful past employees. In the next step, candidates submit a video interview, which is assessed by an AI algorithm that uses natural language processing and body language analysis to gauge suitability. According to Unilever’s chief of HR, the system has saved about 70,000 hours of in-person candidate screening.

Another good example is Hilton, a worldwide hospitality corporation that has incorporated AI technology into its recruitment strategies to enhance talent acquisition. Their AI program evaluates applicants and their details, which has led to a 40% increase in hiring rates and a 90% decrease in the time taken to fill vacant positions.

We at AC Lion also harness the power of technology in our recruitment process. While we don’t use AI to screen candidates or review resumes—that’s where our human expertise comes in—we do utilize it for sourcing top talent. Our award-winning AC Lion EQ platform significantly enhances the accuracy of our hires by combining scientific, visual, and competency-based assessment techniques. We also make use of video interviews to apply objective science, allowing us to expand our talent pool significantly.

Understanding Non-Traditional Candidates

Non-traditional candidates are a group that may have unconventional education backgrounds, varied work histories, or may be changing careers later in life. They could also be individuals returning to work after a prolonged absence, such as those who took time off for family reasons or perhaps following a conviction. 

In traditional hiring processes, these candidates often face significant challenges. Their resumes may not fit the ‘ideal candidate’ profile, causing them to be overlooked by standard screening methods. Similarly, if they have gaps in their employment history or lack industry-specific experience, this can lead to selection bias.

Yet, it’s precisely these unique experiences that make non-traditional candidates an invaluable asset to your organization. They bring fresh perspectives, resilience, adaptability, and a whole host of transferable skills. 

How AI Helps Non-Traditional Candidates

AI is transforming the recruitment landscape, making it easier for candidates to find job opportunities and for companies looking to hire to identify candidates. But what makes AI critical in helping non-traditional job seekers specifically? 

Firstly, AI levels the playing field by creating a fair and unbiased environment for hiring. Unconscious bias – also known as implicit bias – is when people make decisions based on preconceived notions. This is an undeniable issue in recruitment, as it often leads to the unfair evaluation of candidates based on irrelevant criteria. 

AI, with its sophisticated yet impartial algorithms, eliminates the role of human judgment in the hiring process. It ensures that all candidates are judged by the same benchmark and provides a transparent assessment of their qualifications based on job requirements.

The Future of AI in Recruitment

AI is transforming the recruitment landscape at a rapid pace, and its influence will only continue to expand in the future. For example, many predict that AI will become increasingly adept at predicting future hiring needs and spotting potential talent gaps. This will ensure that organizations are well-prepared for growth and can anticipate any resource shortages. As a leader, understanding the role that AI can play in recruitment is essential to staying ahead of your competition. As AI continues to change the recruitment process, don’t be afraid to embrace it.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, when used to its full potential, artificial intelligence can be an incredibly impactful tool for helping non-traditional candidates break through traditional recruitment barriers and find success in their job search. 

In our next blog, we will explore how AI can help organizations expand their talent pool and recruit more diverse candidates. 

We hope this article has given you some good food for thought. If you are an organization that is looking to hire or an executive seeking a career change, feel free to contact us to find out how we can help.

Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.