Why AI is the differentiator in today’s experience market 

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Experience is everything. From what we buy to where we work, everyone is seeking a more intuitive, personalized experience surrounding all that we do. The best user experiences feel effortless, offering instant recommendations that give us what we want without requiring us to spend valuable time providing our preferences. Think of any light-touch, data-rich experience leading you where you need to go, offering you something you didn’t know you needed or connecting you to the solution you were looking for. 

Though everyone is familiar with the experience, not all understand what works behind the scenes to make it possible: artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence is the oxygen that breathes life into those extraordinary user experiences.  

Why do I say AI is oxygen? Because in all those instances, the AI is invisible — and that’s how you know it’s working. AI takes the data based on user preferences every day and turns it into engaging experiences. 


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All organizations exist in an experience market. When it comes to talent, everyone is competing to offer an experience that attracts the best-fit candidates and retains employees. Savvy companies understand that combining AI with people is the winning combination to deliver amazing experiences.

People want personalization 

In the past, we viewed personalization as a “nice to have” feature — a touch as simple as getting the customer’s name right in a marketing email. However, as the pandemic accelerated digital transformation, user expectations rose, too. 

Faced with increasingly digital interactions, users encountered many obstacles: hard-to-navigate sites, incomplete contact pages, and frustrating support processes. They’ve told us loud and clear that instead of a clunky, one-size-fits-none experience, they expect relevant recommendations, customized interactions, and tailored messaging reflecting what they are interested in or applicable to them. 

According to McKinsey’s “Next in Personalization 2021” report, 7 in 10 consumers expect companies to offer personalized interactions, with 76% expressing frustration when those interactions don’t deliver. Companies getting personalization right discovered that 3 in 4 users make a purchase — the same proportion likely to repurchase products or services, and recommend the business to others.

While personalization drives an average 10 to 15% increase in revenue, data-focused companies saw revenue growth closer to 25%. Those outperforming companies shared several personalization-focused qualities, including agile operating models and AI-driven decisioning.

For talent acquisition, it’s all about delivering relevant job recommendations and content based on a candidate’s preferences and background, including skills and geographic location. The faster employers can deliver work opportunities that align with each job seeker, the more likely they are to apply. For talent management, it enables employees to develop their skills and identify new opportunities and career paths for internal mobility within their organization. 

Data powers better experiences 

Companies already have the key ingredient necessary to build hyper-personalized experiences: data. They’re just not using it to its full potential, according to Phenom’s sixth annual State of Candidate Experience report. This annual benchmark report audits the candidate experience across Fortune 500 companies to evaluate each organization’s career site experience and use of AI in hiring.

The vast majority (88%) of Fortune 500 career sites did not present job recommendations based on browsing history or a created profile. In other words, nearly all job seekers voluntarily providing their background information and creating accounts on a company’s career site saw no improvement in their experience. 

In addition, only 10% of companies had an intuitive job search and application process, while 87% did not use a recruitment chatbot on their career site to facilitate self-service — even though most users prefer to solve problems independently.

The bottom line is this: Users are entrusting organizations with their behaviors and preferences data, but companies fail to act as good stewards of that information and they’re missing out on crucial opportunities to provide personalized experiences that stand out.  

Continuous improvement strategy

By infusing intelligence across talent data sources rather than relying solely on periodic, quantitative surveys with rigid questions, organizations can gather better feedback quickly and adjust their candidate experience in real time. This continuous improvement strategy is one of many ways companies can use experience-driven AI to differentiate themselves from the competition. 

It’s time for companies to apply the benefits of AI to the candidate experience, using the lessons learned through successful personalized consumer experiences. Over 1,000 executives that responded to PwC’s annual AI survey said they’ve increased their company’s investments in AI. Organizations already on board with AI cited a better customer experience as the greatest benefit of their investment, followed by improved decision-making, product innovation, cost savings and increased productivity.

Automation and personalization through AI deliver the same experience to candidates and align with the high expectations resulting from their everyday interactions with online retail and streaming brands. Automation and AI also have dramatic positive outcomes for recruitment teams who can automate mundane tasks, freeing them up to focus on tasks that AI is not good at.

Enterprises will either flourish or flounder based on the experiences they deliver to their key stakeholders, including candidates, employees, recruiters and hiring managers. Job seekers remember their experience going through the job search and hiring process — and it can make or break their decision to apply and join a company. AI powers the personalization required to offer a smoother, better experience.

Mahe Bayireddi is CEO of Phenom 


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