Technology and Human Roles in Recruitment Staffing

In the first two weeks of a nineteen-week recruitment period this past spring, more than 78,000 applications were received for the Mars One Settler Project. While this overwhelming level of enthusiasm for a job is not commonplace in too many industries, there are nonetheless valid arguments to be made in favor of automating some aspects of the recruiting process.

Many large organizations use automated processes for at least the first round or two of candidate selection, including many government bodies, educational institutions, and corporations, but widely available and more affordable human capital management (HCM) solutions these days means that organizations of any size can make use of automation in the recruitment process. HCM technology can be employed in recruitment to eliminate many repetitive and manual processes, as well as to provide a space for more efficient collaboration between technology and HR staff.

HCM software can automate many of the day-to-day record-keeping processes that HR staff utilize—it can provide a framework for the management of benefits administration and payroll, map out succession planning, and document such things as personnel actions and compliance with industry and government regulations. In addition it can assist employees with career planning and learning requirements.

With the rise of automated recruitment technology, industry research confirms that the impact of automation on both the quality of hires and the quality of the hiring process has been an overall positive one. Candidates that are hired with the help of fully or partially automated recruitment systems are, generally speaking, a better match for the organization than those selected through more traditional methods. Also, organizations are better prepared to welcome these candidates and get them up to speed quickly.

Perhaps using impartial technology tools in the assessment of candidates could even help level the playing field for potential candidates, as these days (and likely throughout recent human history) “what you know” oftentimes plays second fiddle to “who you know”. Thus, if the talent acquisition process were to become more automated, maybe it would become a more equitable process!

But the question remains (and it is a critical one)—how are these automated technologies really being used to achieve results in terms of hiring better talent, and improving the recruitment and hiring processes? No doubt, technology has evolved to perform an important role in the recruiting cycle, but technology has yet to master the entire recruitment process and completely replace human interaction.

In fact, while the human component has been reduced and/or eliminated in certain instances, the tasks that have not been “outsourced” to technology can be critical to achieving success. These include a manager’s evaluation of a candidate’s motivation, commitment, and “fit” for a certain role or within a certain team—all things that are more subjective than objective, and thus difficult to assess accurately with an automated assessment procedure.

Looking at the tools and technologies that are most commonly used for recruitment, the picture that emerges points to specific ways in which technologies and HR staff can collaborate to achieve better results in terms of hiring better talent and improving the recruitment process.

A few of the more critical tools include:

  • tools that help get the message out, turning job requirements into opportunities for both internal and external candidates (career portals and communication tools);

  • tools that allow organizations to have a centralized location where applicant information is stored, as well as the ability to automate things like notifications;

  • tools that allow HR personnel to be connected to sources that provide the best quality candidates (recruitment agencies or Web sites, for example);

  • tools that offer capabilities to cultivate relationships over the long term—even when the organization has no current job openings (social media, for example); and

  • analytics, which can continuously reveal relevant information with respect to the most successful sources and types of candidates.

The use of automation tools alone cannot guarantee an infallible process where all new employees will work out, or become the next superstars in your organization, but technologies that automate certain aspects of the hiring process can help with finding ways that are closer to both candidate and company needs and that can ultimately deliver quality candidates. The key is knowing which processes of the hiring procedure are suited to being automated, and which are better left to real people.

When it comes to the very important task of talent acquisition, the tools have changed, but, essentially, the goal has not.  It remains, quite simply, about knowing what the organization needs, knowing where the talent is, and being able to match the two quickly, efficiently, and in a way that benefits both the candidate and the company.
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