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How A.I. Improves Hiring In Business Process Outsourcing

Adrian Dixon

May 28, 2019

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Have you been struggling to find the right hires for your business process outsourcing operation?

The rise of business process outsourcing (BPO)

For a quick definition: Business process outsourcing, or BPO, is when a company contracts a third-party (external) service provider to handle some of the business needs. Typically, this involves finance and accounting, legal processes, healthcare services, payroll and benefits, etc. Call centers are a notable form of BPO as well.

BPO is growing at a tremendous rate recently; by some measures, it’s at a 25.1% compounded annual growth rate. In some BPO hubs, like Cebu City in the Philippines, we’ve seen a 19% hiring growth in a single month. In India, another BPO hub, it’s the fastest-growing single segment of information technology overall.

The main reason for BPO growth is relatively logical: with the rise of digital and mobile, as well as globalized business models, there is a lot for companies to focus on these days. Work is very busy and moving potentially faster than ever. Many companies can’t handle all of their needs internally, so they outsource some functions, which ideally allows them to focus on core revenue functions. As a result, BPO is growing exponentially because more and more companies are willing to outsource aspects of the business they view as “non-essential” (and, honestly, outsource some they view as essential).

What does this mean for hiring in BPO?

Hiring will only be on the rise in the next 3-5 years, and possibly even longer than that. In fact, here’s a blog post from Interaction Europe (call center staffing) referencing that they made 65 new hires in the previous month; that’s two new hires per day. Now you’re getting into high-volume hiring territory, which is common in BPO hiring.

How do you hire for BPO more effectively at scale?

You would start with the baselines that matter to potential employees, as any hiring process should begin with:

  • Defining the job role and responsibilities
  • Competitive compensation research to be near the top of market
  • Determining where potential BPO hires are best reached
  • Make sure your employer brand is strong online (in terms of what people will find when searching for you)
  • Talk to current employees for referrals
  • Make sure you know how many hires you need to make, and in what time frame
  • Determine if you need any high-volume or bulk hiring events in certain seasons

Those are your baselines to make sure you understand what you’re working towards. Nail down the baselines and, at this point, you’re ready to bring in technology to make this all easier for you. Specifically:

Screening: Humans are great at analyzing reactions and emotions in a conversation, but they absolutely cannot do resume screening at scale in the way that an artificial intelligence program can. If you’re growing and filling roles quickly, AI-powered HR screening tools are your best path. Think of the sheer math: Even if a human recruiter only spends six seconds per resume (an often cited stat), 200 resumes would still take 1,200 seconds, or 20 minutes. 200 resumes can be done by AI in less than 1 minute. Use technology where technology is the better option. In screening, that’s almost always true.

Candidate communication: This is the essential component of overall candidate experience. Humans right now have varied feelings on chatbots, up to and including the VP of Talent Management at Diply. But chatbots can be used in clever ways to communicate more effectively with BPO candidates, especially in terms of FAQ-style questions that can be easily addressed by a bot, freeing up humans to spend more time on interviews and gathering role context.

Brief note on integrations: There are so many different software suites that recruiters use now, this note is important. Whatever you do in terms of maximizing your BPO hiring, make sure any technology partner integrates with the other systems you use. If systems don’t talk to each other, nothing really gets done.

Rediscovery: If you’ve launched BPO hiring campaigns before, you’ve had candidates who “just missed” the cut. Well, since 2016 we’ve been saying that “the next big thing” in recruiting is candidate rediscovery, where artificial intelligence goes into your “dumb tech” ATS and finds previous candidates who match to current open roles. Reach out to them and see if they’re interested. We talk about “the war for talent” a lot, but in reality, no one wants to go fight a war. You can opt out of the “war” by being smarter about finding people, and that includes finding people already in your system.

Hiring most effectively for BPO

Know what you need, know your processes, and know how tech can help. This will allow you to grow your BPO business to unprecedented heights. And that’s a good thing, because there’s always another company looking for your help as they grow.