Recruiting strategies: How do companies manage to win over AI experts?

Marc-David Rompf - 13. March 2020

A total of 40% of European AI start-ups are not making any use of AI technology (KI Survey von MMC Ventures) ), a phenomenon which AI innovation project freelancer Dr. Hakan Duman perceives as a risk in terms of communicating with AI talent:

“When companies put a massive emphasis on AI in their own marketing, that shouldn’t conflict with the actual AI competence level in their own team. Fake AI is harmful to your reputation – whether among customers who expect better products or services, or among employees who are keen to develop their own AI expertise.”

Last but not least, this pretense can can quickly turn into a deal-breaker for AI talent getting acquainted with a potential new employer. Here are the TOP 4 tips suggested by our interviewees for a recruiting strategy designed to score highly with AI champions.

„Fake AI is harmful to your reputation. Dr. Hakan Duman, AI innovation project freelancer

TOP 1:
Draw up an AI roadmap!

  • What role is AI really playing? Many German  companies are experimenting with AI at a department level, but only a minority are pursuing a uniform, company-wide strategy. And yet among the top echelons of AI talent, precisely this is an important advantage at US companies or start-ups. One way to start is to do away with silos and spread the value added by AI across all departments. To do this, apart from AI and IT skills, companies also need team competence with regard to change management and transformation.
  • Purpose = meaningful and challenging tasks are essential. Talented AI specialists want to work for an organization that is having a positive effect on the world so they can realize their own potential and make an impact.

TOP 2:
Be authentic!

  • Is there a match between talent and team? That depends on the degree of AI maturity – but both sides need to be honest. For a company, it pays to make transparently clear what has been achieved in the field of AI and what data there is to fall back on. Those sitting at the table at a job interview should include precisely the experts who are already part of the process and have information to contribute: What is at play? What funds are available? Is there empowerment in place to push ahead with these topics?
  • Top staff attract great people: Managers with technical know-how can do more than just set an example for their teams. They can also correctly assess, evaluate and emphasize the potential in the solutions their AI specialists are developing.

“AI must be approached as a team hiring process. It’s not the lone wolf that gets the best results, it takes an ecosystem of thinkers and doers.”
 Dr. Andreas Liebl, Managing Director, appliedAI Initiative

TOP 3:
Go for stable relationships!

  • Create emotional ties to the product or company and the AI project: In cases with a directly perceptible relationship between the work of an AI expert and the final product (e.g. in-car applications, customer service tools), this strengthens the sense of identification with the company.
  • Are you in the right place? According to our interviewees, this comes down to a neuralgic point: when the AI expert is sure that his or her employer has a genuine = serious, data-driven AI strategy and is pursuing noticeable cultural change. For example, when the traditional top-down decision-making process is actually redefined by recommendations from AI tools such as neural networks.

TOP 4:
Offer the prospect of development!

  • Talented AI specialists do not work in isolation: An environment is called for in which both the area or department and the individual can develop. The implementation of an AI roadmap should therefore always be approached as a team hiring exercise. If you start out with one or two positions, these people should have the freedom to set up an ecosystem in which they operate. Isolation is a cardinal error which will rapidly drive AI talent away from the company.
  • Interact with the AI community: All of our interviewees stressed the great importance of this aspect. There are many formats to choose from, starting with trade fairs and events with outstanding speakers, even hackathons, to joint ventures with the global community, especially open-source development and targeted cooperation with universities and research institutes.

The horizon of expectation


Expert impulse


State of the market