Without a doubt, you have heard of LinkedIn. Likely, you have used their platform to apply for a job, or at least network with friends and business connections. But you probably don’t stop to think about the science behind the world’s foremost business networking tool.
Meet John Jersin, VP of Product Management for LinkedIn. He’s responsible for LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions and Careers product teams which develop offerings for companies to plan, hire and develop talent, and all of the job seeking experiences on LinkedIn. His focus is on pushing technology forward to help companies grow, and help people find jobs. He’s speaking at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition on a hot topic - and one that is often misunderstood - artificial intelligence. I’m looking forward to attending John’s session “How AI Is Changing The Way We Hire” and learning more! Read to the very end for something that surprised me, and a great reason (as if you needed another reason) to attend John’s session.
Hi John. You have built a career - at LinkedIn and at previous companies - upon matching people to jobs. Why is this so important to you?
Two reasons - one is I found it to be a problem that is meaningful to people. Getting a new job is a life-changing event. In most cases for many people, it is really, really important they find their new opportunity, and that they do that quickly and efficiently. It makes a huge difference in terms of how fulfilled a person feels. At the same time, I think that there is a historic opportunity to change the way hiring is done because of the way AI is impacting hiring as well as the fact that hiring is becoming more important to companies. We are in a transition in the economy where we’re moving from a lot of somewhat repetitive, somewhat tedious tasks becoming more automated, and we’re shifting towards more and more knowledge based work. As we go through that shift, companies are placing a greater importance of getting the right people, so they’re willing to invest, they’re willing to change that process, they’re willing to push harder to get the right person into the role. And that shows the capabilities of artificial intelligence, which is really just a set of tools and techniques that allow software to optimize for a certain outcome. In this case that outcome can be getting the right person into the job. So these are the things that made me feel like this is a compelling thing to do with my time. Really, there’s a big opportunity to change how it’s done.
Tell us a little about what your team does at LinkedIn.
The team serves two different constituents. One is job seekers. The other is our large customer base that uses our products to find their next hire and continue to engage their employees after they select that person. And what we are really focused on is the ability to predict how those matches in what we call the hiring marketplace will occur. We try to make these matches as efficiently and as quickly as possible and we also try to take a more holistic view of how we can continue to improve the relationship between job seekers and employers as well as employees and employers. And we’re spending more and more time on that.
Your talk at #SHRM19 is focused on AI in the hiring process. HR professionals, particularly in smaller companies, tend to be slower to embrace new technology tools. Why is AI so important to understand, and how can it impact the hiring process even in smaller companies?
Even though AI is a little bit complicated and at times can feel fairly opaque, it is important to understand what it is actually doing and what it is capable of, and that it is already changing our industry. We see that in our own products. We see that by intelligent use of artificial intelligence, we cut the hiring process for our customers of our flagship product, meaning half as many interactions with candidates to get the right person to hire. AI is an incredibly powerful technology that really is reshaping our industry and changing the way work is getting done. And it’s important to understand both how to capture the power of AI and how to utilize it to help your company succeed in this new and increasingly competitive environment in talent. It is also important to make sure that you understand how it is impacting things like diversity, or how it might even get you outcomes that are not perfect for your organization. And how you can make sure that AI is being deployed the right way and having the right impact as opposed to doing something you don’t understand.
What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
I’m going to be talking a lot about how AI is already impacting the industry. But I think more importantly, trends that are going to be playing out over a long period of time. And there’s a next generation of AI that’s going to come out that I think few people have a clear understanding of. I view it as critical to my job to understand how these waves of technology are going to impact our customers. So one of the things I’m looking forward to doing is sharing with people that attend the talk, how their companies should start preparing for the next generation of AI and how they can think about it before it fully exists yet.
Be sure to attend John’s session on Monday!
June 24, from 4:15 p.m. - 05:15 p.m.
Learn how AI is impacting recruiting and HR today, the data companies need for AI to successfully inform workforce decisions, and what the process looks like in companies on the leading edge of the trend.