“The KTP’s enabled us to undertake projects that we wouldn’t otherwise have had the resources to do. We’ve managed to bring AI capability into HR GO to create better recruitment matches. We now save time in some areas, so we can focus on where we can add the greatest value, like really getting to know our candidates and clients and understand their needs’.
John Parkinson, Director and Owner of HR GO
HR GO is a UK-wide recruitment agency serving many sectors. Their team of 200 recruitment consultants manage a million candidates looking for work each year together with a network of 1,000 recruiting clients. Despite working with such a high volume of candidates, they want the process of looking for a job with their agency to be as positive as possible.
The recruitment market is evolving and moving away from hiring employees based on prior experience. Instead, employers are starting to recruit more based on candidates’ skills and potential. However, the recruitment software that was available matched candidates using overly simple criteria, almost solely based on previous work experience.
The business saw current employment trends as the catalyst for pioneering a solution that would make more accurate matches between candidates and jobs at the scale they needed. Additionally, they wanted the solution to help ensure every candidate received application/interview feedback – even if they were unsuccessful.
HR GO decided to pursue a KTP with the University of Kent that would focus on introducing AI capability to their way of working. With a KTP, businesses receive significant funding to work with academics on a strategic project to deliver growth. HR GO accessed matched funding to develop AI capability, and this ensured more value for money on their R&D spend and a greater return on investment.
Choosing the University of Kent
John Parkinson, Director and Owner of HR GO, had learnt about the University of Kent after attending certain events and recruiting Kent students as summer interns. The business had recently worked with the university on two smaller projects which had introduced them to Dr Anna Jordanous, senior lecturer at the University of Kent’s School of Computing.
John felt that the university’s values matched those of HR GO, especially in terms of delivering a consistent experience. Another important factor was that the University of Kent had a 100% success rate in securing KTP funding. HR GO successfully applied for funding for a KTP, allowing them to collaborate with Dr Jordanous on a longer-term basis. The administrative burden of this process was facilitated by the valuable guidance and experience of Clare Witcher, Business Relationships Officer at the University of Kent.
The KTP has brought the business and academics together, helping them to form connections and build long-term relationships. Half a day a week of academic time is dedicated to HR GO’s KTP, which keeps the project focussed and ensures it has the right resources in place.
The Kent academics have been crucial in helping HR GO hire a proactive KTP Associate with the skills that their business needed. Not only did they assist with the search and interview process, but they now supervise the Associate – which is valuable since SMEs typically don’t have the capability to recruit or manage an employee researching something as specialised as machine learning.
The Associate has access to all the relevant University of Kent resources, and being based within the HR GO teams means they get great insight into how the business works. If the KTP is successful, the business has the option to hire a valuable new member of their team who has been ‘tried-and-tested’ during the KTP.
KTPs help businesses access cutting-edge academic research to achieve their goals, such as increasing productivity and profitability. The technology being developed at HR GO is helping them take control of the transactional and neglected parts of the recruitment process. This creates time for their consultants to focus on areas where they can add the greatest value, such as understanding the personalities of candidates and the needs of clients.
HR GO’s KTP started in 2022 and is now delivering exciting results with some of the technology already embedded into HR GO’s website, helping to improve the accuracy in candidate job searches. The KTP has produced a ‘glass box’ AI model, which gives candidates the transparency to see how, and on what basis, they have been matched to a position, providing them with instant feedback.
Additionally, this KTP has created a strong relationship and understanding between the business and university. HR GO invests time and resources supporting university events, which are valuable networking opportunities, and the university recommends university candidates for positions at the agency. HR GO are passionate about continuing the relationship and working together in future.