Without a doubt, technology has impacted the recruitment process. Gone are the days of sifting through endless candidates CVs, arranging and conducting interviews, regretting unsuccessful applicants, requesting references, putting together a job offer and so on and so on.
Recruitment is historically labour-intensive. Following what can only be described as an inefficient time-consuming process, no wonder HR departments and recruiters have embraced innovative timesaving technology so enthusiastically. New technologies have changed almost every industry, and recruitment is no exception. From changing the nature of the candidate pool and increasing touch points between recruiter and candidate to reducing bias, technology continues to improve countless aspects of the recruitment process.
Communicating with the right candidates
Online recruitment through social media channels and professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, has clearly transformed the way that recruiters and candidates can connect. A study found that 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site. Ease of access through mobile devices and tablets allows potential employees a virtual insight into a company’s culture, ethos and branding. It’s an important tool for businesses to use to self-promote by showcasing favourable images of the workplace and attractive company perks and benefits, creating a sought-after place to work, sometimes even before a job role has even be advertised.
In the past a recruiter would blindly post an advert in the job section of the local newspaper. Nowadays job roles are advertised in a more targeted manner by sector, industry and location. The internet has transformed the ease of access that potential candidates can search for and apply for job roles. Online job boards have turned what was once a local recruitment search into a global one. Recruiters can now source candidates online from a more diverse pool of talent, allowing them greater control in the selection process.
Programmatic recruitment uses technology to place adverts using data and analytics ensuring job adverts are seen by the right candidates. Essentially it uses automation to specifically target suitable employees: Programmatic software uses data such as keywords, location, and industry to place job ads onto a range of relevant sites to ensure that they’re being presented to the most well-suited candidates. Not only that, the software will also measure where job ads receive the best response and then favour those platforms over others.
Another effective method of AI technology in recruitment are chatbots: a software application designed to mimic human conversational abilities during the recruiting process. By using these as part of the screening process, the recruiter can learn more about the skills, qualifications and experience of prospective employees. It also efficiently collates the necessary information required for the interview selection process in a time-efficient manner. Chatbots achieve a connection between the recruiter and employee, albeit an ‘artificial’ channel of communication, but better than no communication at all.
Removing unconscious bias
As a recruiter, with the best will in the world, it’s simply not possible to remain open minded and unbiased. It’s natural to be drawn to someone who shares your common interests. Candidates may fail the interview process if they can’t form a connection, even if they could be fantastic for the role.
It’s important to remember that first impressions count! According to Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, in his book ‘Work Rules!’: “Most interviews are a waste of time because 99.4% of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first 10 seconds…most of what we think of as ‘interviewing’ is actually the pursuit of confirmation bias.”
Studies show that gendered wording commonly employed in job recruitment materials can maintain gender inequality in traditionally male-dominated occupations. Society is starting to accept that job roles are gender-neutral, with male receptionists and female plumbers more common. Yet it’s still important to promote gender equality and diversity in the workplace to avoid ending up with a homogenous talent pool that lacks diversity in skills and problem-solving methods…detrimental to a company’s productivity and growth.
Technology, when programmed correctly, can act in a completely unbiased fashion, with algorithms designed to remove factors such as race and gender. By digitising the selection process and eliminating bias, workplaces are more diverse. The Worksome platform, for example, uses AI to match job profiles to its database of candidates based on a number of determining factors: “The algorithm always finds the best person for the job, no matter their age, gender, or race,” says Worksome’s co-founder and COO Mathias Linnemann. “Hence, bias is not even an option.”
Handling data effectively
Recruiters now have access to so much data using AI, but it’s up to them how effectively they use it. Analysed data can determine whether a candidate is suitable for a position based on their experience, how long they have stayed in a role etc.
AI and analytics programs are becoming more intelligent and can now reduce large piles of resumes to just a few qualified candidates. Big data insights help recruiters find the right candidates who better fit the job description. This saves time and resources for recruiters.
The importance of the human touch
LinkedIn’s 2019 Talent Trends Report states: In an era when automation, AI, and technology has become more pervasive, important (and frightening) than ever, the big issue companies face is about people: how we find and develop soft skills, how we create fairness and transparency, and how we make the workplace more flexible, humane, and honest.
For no recruiter can be entirely reliant on data analysis for a candidate’s suitability. They might ‘look their type on paper’, but actually are they a good fit for the company?
Technology can’t negotiate a salary or persuade a candidate to consider a role. Or detect when a candidate might be stretching the truth. It won’t take into account passion or enthusiasm. So non-traditional candidates, or those that don’t fit the ‘programmed criteria’, may not be considered for a role. But in a person-led selection process they would be.
It’s important to remember that recruitment technology is designed to aid the recruitment process,
With companies like McDonald’s pushing boundaries in the use of technology, launching a voice-initiated job application process that works on Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, its certainly clear that innovative technology in recruitment will continue to evolve in the pursuit of attracting the top talent and streamlining the selection process.
Here at Luminous PR we’ve seen first-hand how start-up and scale-up companies are using technology to transform what were once historically long-winded and time-consuming processes through the use of innovative tech solutions. From making the recruitment process more transparent and efficient to reinventing HR processes such as payroll. The workplace is currently undergoing a significant period of change and HR and recruitment functions need to evolve with it.
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