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The Amazing Ways How Unilever Uses Artificial Intelligence To Recruit Train Thousands Of Employees

While this may seem like 'using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut,' the technology which has been developed could well go on to be used to monitor food for freshness, helping to solve the problem of food overproduction and waste endemic in society.

As well as these smart, public-facing initiatives, though, artificial intelligence is being put to use behind the scenes to help screen and assess the more than one million people per year who apply for jobs with Unilever.

Referring to the video interview analytics for their future leaders program, she tells me: “Every screenshot gives us many data points about the person, so we work with a number of partners and use a lot of proprietary technology with those partners, and then we select 3,500 or so people to go through to our discovery center.” After spending a day with real leaders and recruiters, Unilever selects about 800 people who will be offered a job.

Robots to help you settle into the job After making the grade, another machine-learning-driven initiative is helping new employees get started in their new roles – adapting to the day-to-day routines as well as the corporate culture at the business.

“Unabot doesn’t only answer HR questions, questions about anything that affects employees should be answered by Unabot, and it is now the front face for any employee question – they might ask it about IT systems, or about their allowances – so we are learning about what matters to employees in real time.” Through interacting with employees, Unabot has learned to answer questions such as where parking is available, the timing of shuttle buses, and when annual salary reviews are due to take place.

“It’s a new way of working,” Nair tells me, “We never go in and say it's perfect so let’s roll it out in all countries,’ we learn what we can in one country and roll it out in the next one.” Currently, all of its data comes from internal sources, such as company guidelines, schedules, policy documents and questions asked by the employees themselves.

But an employee tends to ask questions in very simplistic ways – how does this impact my life, where will I find this, what can I do?” Machine learning – particularly NLP – can overcome this due to its ability to detect which questions are repeatedly asked, even if they are asked in different ways, and present the right information.