Auckland central business district in New Zealand. Source: Shutterstock

SEEK deploys its own AI model to help NZ job hunters

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is constantly touted as the most powerful emerging tool in the digital age. 

That might be true, but the key to really benefiting from the tech — and laying the groundwork to scale it up — is to identify where to focus it to make an instant impact.

In fact, it’s often ‘homegrown’ AI that really proves its worth, as it’s built to specifically address certain issues or achieve specific operational goals — whether that’s unburdening staff or enhancing customer experience.

SEEK, New Zealand’s biggest employment marketplace has done exactly that. In a bid to heighten the relevance of its job listing results, SEEK has built an AI-powered search engine to help job seekers and recruiters find the right roles. 

The company believes that building its very own AI capabilities would give them an upper hand in the competitive recruitment sector — they can develop specific job-search features and tailor the program’s functions to deliver desired results.

“Developing a bespoke search engine from the ground up, instead of relying on ‘off the shelf’ technology was a big challenge and required significant investment and demand on employee resources required to be successful,” said SEEK’s ANZ director of AI and platform services, Grant Wright

Putting challenges aside, he said it was all worth it, seeing how much the capability has enhanced users’ experience.

Coined as ‘Smarter Search’, the intelligent tool can help users find better matches when they search for either job opportunities or employment candidates. SEEK’s AI essentially predicts users’ top matches thus enhancing their overall search ‘journey’.

According to SEEK New Zealand General Manager Janet Faulding, “The introduction of our Smarter Search capability, has helped candidates discover and apply to all the relevant opportunities in less time, aligning to their preferences and behavior.”

For recruiters or headhunters, Smarter Search helps them to curate clear and concise employment ads to attract the right candidates. As a result, the response rates by job seekers have improved alongside a shorter time-to-hire — and these are not the only impressive results the platform has witnessed.

Since its launch last year, SEEK has managed to attain a double-digit increase in job application submission in each month starting from February 2019.

“In the last 12 months, SEEK placed more New Zealanders in jobs than any other source and Smarter Search has significantly increased the number of job applications submitted per session, meaning we’ve helped even more Kiwis find meaningful work this year,” exclaimed Faulding.

SEEK’s AI platform is a testament to how dedicated the company is to deploy innovative solutions, with the goal of providing more seamless and convenient experiences for their users. 

At the core of it all, it’s important to understand that with advanced technology, it can sometimes be the best direction for companies to try to develop the capability on their own to be able to drive the results they need.