The relationship between recruiters and technology can sometimes feel a little uneasy. On the one hand, as recruiting technology evolves, companies have an increasing number of tools at their disposal to improve how they source, engage, assess, and interview candidates. This technology can automate some of the more time-consuming tasks associated with talent acquisition, like sorting through piles of resumes to find the most qualified candidates and providing recruiting teams with accurate analytics and insights to make the best hires. But on the other hand, some HR experts wonder if these new technological developments could eventually eclipse the role of the recruiter completely.
This has been a hot topic, even spawning a recent Washington Post article, saying that computers are really good at selecting talent, but that HR can get in the way, preventing the best candidates from being hired. According to the Post article, computerized job tests and algorithms are best at predicting who will be successful, but once recruiters step in, they introduce bias and impact a company’s ability to hire the right people.
We disagree with this assumption. Why? It neglects the fact that recruiting is a deeply people-based function and will always need living, breathing humans to drive its success.
Recruitment Practices - A balance between people and technology
True, technology—particularly an applicant tracking system—is a great resource for supplementing aspects of the recruitment process. For one, it helps you sort through mounds of applications and pinpoint the best-fitting candidates. But, there are personal elements of your candidates beyond their skills and accomplishments that can’t be measured by a computer, such as distinct morals, values, personal motivations, career aspirations, and more. You need an actual person—a recruiter—who is an expert at determining an individual’s cultural fit and gauging how they will perform if hired. These types of human instincts can’t be measured by technology.
You also need a human to reach out to candidates, active and passive alike, to communicate the employer brand and to convince these candidates why the company is right for them and their career paths. And when the time comes to interview candidates, a computer will be unable to ask and assess a candidate’s responses to those crucial behavior-based interview questions (e.g. how they generally cope with change in a professional setting, or what they learned from a particular experience where they failed to communicate effectively).
Still, technology clearly plays a role in the recruitment process. A recruiter who is supplemented by technology to streamline and automate key tasks is better equipped to make critical hiring decisions.
And for greatest impact, they understand the technologies that are most beneficial in the recruitment process. You, too, should be familiar with and taking advantage of these capabilities:
1. Structured interview guides
Many hiring managers still perform interviews on the fly, without much advance preparation. But a structured interview solution (by which all candidates are asked the same questions and assessed against the same criteria) will ensure recruiters and hiring managers are on the same page and gain the detailed information they need to make the right hiring decision. By putting all candidates through the same interview process, you’ll be able to compare apples to apples and select the best-fitting candidate.
2. Candidate profiles
Robust candidate profiles will help you easily track candidates throughout the pipeline, including measuring how long they’ve been in each stage of the hiring process. This will enable you to advance, reject, or move candidates on to another stage. You can even move them to a different job for which they are a better match, or tag candidates by specific groups, such as those with a master’s degree, to access these qualified candidates later on.
After conducting an interview, it is important to consistently collect structured, written feedback from the interview team to help you compare candidates more easily and consistently. A feedback collection process also gives interviewers—who may or may not be in the same department as the role in question—a better impression of the skills, traits, and competencies needed for the position. Having interviewers fill out scorecards immediately following the interview can help you do just that. Interviewers can easily “score” their impressions of the candidates, including strengths, weaknesses, and cultural fit and make additional comments on their pros, cons, or areas for follow-up. Scorecards allow interviewers to give an overall yes or no recommendation, and the whole team benefits from having a single data point to help ensure the strongest candidates are advanced.
Having access to comprehensive yet easy-to-understand data around the recruitment process is key to successful recruiting performance. Understanding factors like hiring speed, offer acceptance rate, and candidate satisfaction can provide the meaningful insight recruiting teams need to understand their current practices, what is working well, and where they can improve. Without access to the analytics to continually measure recruiting performance, it will be difficult to understand the sources that deliver the best candidates, the interview processes that help identify top talent, and ways to continually enhance how you interview.
Tying it all together
Recruiting is a people-centric activity, and as such, it needs critically thinking humans to ensure a thoughtful and effective approach. Although technology will continue to improve and revolutionize the hiring process, nothing will replace the human touch and personal connections needed to find and engage talent and keep them warm throughout the process.
So, the question isn’t whether computers will replace human recruiters, but rather how technology can enhance their work and help them find the best talent possible.
Want to learn more about recruiting technology and which features and qualities you should look for when sourcing it? Check out our ebook, A Buyer's Guide to Applicant Tracking Software, by clicking the button below!