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The Challenge

AI is transforming the talent acquisition process

For organizations with high-volume hiring needs, finding, assessing, and acquiring talent can be the biggest challenge they face. Having an outdated talent acquisition infrastructure only amplifies these pain points for recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates. Coupled with the competitive labor market and demanding hiring goals, it is increasingly important to meet candidates on their mobile devices, reduce barriers to applying, and increase the speed to offer qualified candidates the job, all while creating a positive candidate experience. Now more than ever it is critical to have the right solutions in place for talent acquisition. A food service and facilities management organization faced challenges hiring 80,000 candidates a year. ScottMadden led an assessment of the talent acquisition (TA) organization and discovered low candidate conversion rates, inefficient processes, and opportunities for enhanced candidate experience. Although there was significant web traffic to the organization’s “Careers” page, the 1.2 million unique visits translated to only 220 applications. A customized and dynamic landing page was needed to create a better first impression for candidates. With the high volume of hiring, there was a need to streamline and automate components of the candidate screening process. Further, recruiters were overwhelmed with manual scheduling efforts, and a solution that enabled seamless interview scheduling was desired. Finally, TA leadership wanted to improve the candidate experience by incorporating real-time engagement with artificial intelligence (AI) to answer basic candidate questions. The combination of solving these challenges could elevate the talent acquisition team and move the needle on hiring efficiency, recruiter productivity, and overall candidate experience. As a next step, the ScottMadden team was tasked with identifying a best-in-market solution that would check these boxes.

How We Helped

Part 1 – ScottMadden Assessment and Requirements Gathering

To find the digital solution that would solve the client’s challenges, ScottMadden began by gaining a deep understanding of the client’s processes, metrics, business models, and demands. Additionally, ScottMadden gathered information and needs from TA’s customers – hiring managers, TA subject matter experts, and HR technology administrators and owners. This combined information was used to develop requirements, which focused on specific functionality to resolve the identified challenges and aligned with the organization’s HR technology roadmap. The team decided to concentrate on technologies that served as point solutions, with a narrower and more specific focus. Part of the strategy was to identify solutions that were experimental and scalable, with low implementation efforts that could quickly yield a high value.

ScottMadden facilitated a comprehensive vendor selection process, from issuing the request for proposal through final vendor selection, due diligence, and implementation planning. Paradox, the leading conversational recruiting assistant, was selected. Paradox met and exceeded the functional requirements and the client’s expectations. Most notably, what separated Paradox from the competition was its customized, agile, and collaborative approach that helped address the complex needs of a decentralized business with more than 80,000 annual hires.

Part 2 – The Paradox Solution

The organization realized the value of the Paradox solution almost immediately. Shortly after establishing a relationship with Paradox, the organization was hosting one of its in-person hiring events. Similar hiring events were regularly conducted to quickly hire large volumes of employees. On this specific morning, the scheduled event had confirmed more than 2,300 attendees, but inclement weather forced a last-minute cancellation. Prior to Paradox, this would have involved an all-hands-on-deck effort with recruiters individually calling and rescheduling attendees. This effort would have taken multiple days and the majority of TA’s resources. With Paradox’s support, a few key leaders crafted a detailed message and at the push of a button, Olivia, the conversational AI assistant, notified participants that the event had been canceled. In the same automated conversation, those participants were invited to reschedule for another event the following week. This just-in-time solution achieved a more than 80% successful rescheduling rate. With Paradox, the organization was able to achieve unprecedented levels of responsiveness and agility.

Having Olivia reach out to individual candidates has been super helpful for our hiring managers.” – TA Partner

Talent Acquisition Challenges-Leveraging AI Technology

In partnership with ScottMadden, the organization collaborated with Paradox to develop a roadmap to expand the use cases and scale the adoption of the new technology across the enterprise. In March 2020, the pandemic accelerated adoption, and the suite of Paradox products proved effective in helping the organization quickly adapt to the volatile pace of hiring. The organization quickly pivoted to Virtual Events and could successfully host online recruiting and hiring events anytime, anywhere. With Care, candidates visiting the careers website were able to experience tailored conversations and content, hear dynamic brand stories, and receive immediate answers to any of their questions about the application process. Another early product adopted by the organization was Capture, which decreased recruiter sourcing and screening time by allowing candidates to apply and complete the screening process via text. A later add-on for the organization was Schedule, which automated scheduling and rescheduling of any type of interview, again giving recruiters valuable time back in their day.


The Paradox solution continues to provide advantages throughout the TA process. To date, the organization has hosted more than 400 events nationwide and has scheduled interviews with nearly 30,000 candidates in less than three minutes per candidate. More than 300,000 messages have been sent to candidates, and more than 25% of job seekers apply through Olivia.

ScottMadden and Paradox continue to help the client move toward automating additional pieces of the hiring process. As the organization’s technology roadmap evolves to adapt to the ever-changing labor market and the increasing need for more flexibility, ScottMadden and Paradox identify opportunities to expand the solution while prioritizing continuous improvement enhancements to advance the TA function.

In the past, it’s taken so long to get people hired. This year, it’s just been easier with Olivia.” – HR Manager

Talent Acquisition Challenges-Leveraging AI Technology Stats

Lessons Learned

There are four main lessons learned from this client’s technology implementation:

  • Thoroughly define functional and technical requirements upfront. Ensure the organization’s unique needs are addressed in the initial requirements gathering stages. As part of requirements gathering, consider the overall functional technology roadmap.
  • Plan for significant change management. Emerging technology means a new way of doing things. Oftentimes, a new and innovative solution for an organization can lead to a steep learning curve. The change management efforts to educate and equip end users and customers shouldn’t be overlooked and can take longer than anticipated.
  • Maintain realistic stakeholder expectations. Implementing an emerging solution can lead to increasingly high expectations that it will solve many, or even all, pain points. There is no silver bullet solution, and it takes time to evaluate and address challenges. Challenges or issues should be prioritized to ensure that the most important problems are addressed first.
  • Continually evolve and evaluate use cases. Organizations can get trapped in the initial use case. It’s important to remember technologies will need to be adapted to market demands. Solutions such as Paradox can significantly increase the agility of an organization. If leveraged correctly, organizations can react to changes much more swiftly and efficiently than previously.

One of our managers asked, ‘what is your suggestion for hiring in COVID-19.’ It’s simple: I call it the Olivia meet and greet.” – HR Director

How We Can Help

If you are interested in improving your talent acquisition infrastructure and streamlining and automating components of the candidate screening process, contact us.

ScottMadden can help by fulfilling organization-side AI requirements, developing user profiles, building reporting and analytics, revising roles and responsibilities, developing new processes, and executing change management. Talent acquisition teams can combine recruiting fundamentals with innovative technology to produce powerful results.

Visit this page to hear ScottMadden Director, Chris Schmelzer, discuss the evolution of HR technology with other HR leaders from Paradox and Hacking HR.

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