Recruiters Now Balancing Technology and Human Touch

Automation is already transforming the recruitment process. People skills, and the human touch, however, still determine who succeeds and fails in the hiring game, says a new study by Randstad Sourceright. Let’s go inside the latest data and explore five ways to accelerate recruitment with technology.

September 14, 2018 – While they won’t sport bionic arms and legs, recruiters will be empowered like never before by technology that makes them smarter, more efficient and connected. The recruiter of the near future will be able to find the right talent with the push of a button and possess the people skills to engage and convert top candidates into employees and workers. And that’s not science fiction. In fact, a lot of the innovation described is already here.

Tools to automate search and screen are growing smarter and more refined with each iteration. According to Randstad Sourceright’s Q3 2018 Talent Trends report, candidate relationship management (CRM) platforms are like a Swiss army knife for talent leaders, automating many workflows and centralizing data for greater insights. Artificial intelligence is helping businesses personalize and customize candidate touchpoints to create memorable hiring journeys. People analytics deliver past performance data, but also predict future talent needs. It’s easy to assume your life as a human capital leader will become easier. Think again.

“This rapid and powerful transformation may not be a clear win-win,” the report said. “While technology is changing how your business acquires talent, it’s also the great equalizer — your competitors will have access to similar, if not the same, tools. This means technology alone won’t give you an edge. How you use it to accelerate people will. And most of your peers already acknowledge this.”

Randstad Sourceright’s 2018 Talent Trends research, which surveyed more than 800 C-suite and human capital leaders in 17 countries, confirms this. The top four areas that talent leaders said should be mostly or completely automated are: candidate database search (51 percent), tracking HR data/metrics (51 percent), the creation and management of HR analytics (51 percent) and the initial screening of candidates (49 percent).

The Human Touch

“On the other hand, employers believe people skills and the human touch are still important when it comes to other tasks,” the report found. Down-selecting using video interviews (28 percent), interview scheduling of shortlisted candidates (27 percent) and engagement and management of talent communities (26 percent) are the top three functions that employers would like handled mostly by humans. That’s likely because each of these touchpoints provides another opportunity to reinforce personalization during the candidate journey.

“It is worth noting, however, that our data shows mixed feelings about these top areas for human involvement,” Randstad Sourceright said. For instance, while 28 percent said they would like candidate down-selection via video interviewing handled mostly by humans, nearly as many (26 percent) prefer the process to be mostly automated, with some human involvement. The same holds true for interview scheduling, where 27 percent said they prefer humans to manage this process and 28 percent would like to see the process mostly automated, with some human involvement.

Related: CEOs See More Value In Technology Than People

“How much of the human touch is necessary depends on a number of factors, such as role types, urgency, volume and more,” the report said. “For example, an employer may schedule interviews with top candidates personally for the value of direct connection, but prefer to schedule initial interviews for an entry-level position using technology to accelerate the process. In either case, automation can help free recruiters from spending time on low-value tasks, allowing them to create stronger bonds with hiring managers and candidates, and resulting in increased conversions.”

Human Strengths the Solution to Challenges of the Skills
You think robots mean less need for people? Think again. As companies go digital, most will need more people, not fewer. Combining both technical and soft skills will be the best hedge against technology’s effect on organizations, says a new Manpower report. 

Most of the survey respondents believe this as well. Sixty-eight (68) percent said knowledge workers will be freed up to do more advanced work; and 66 percent said human workers will be more efficient, productive and innovative. Sixty-five (65) percent said the candidate experience will be positively affected, and smart technologies will open up new opportunities for talent. This outlook is further affirmed by 73 percent of human capital leaders, who said smart technologies will have as much, if not greater influence, on their organizations this year.

Randstad’s 5 Ways to Accelerate Recruitment with Technology:

1. Optimize your investments. There are many technologies on the market, so choose wisely. One way to ensure the highest return is to consider any acquisition holistically. Thinking beyond time and cost savings, ask how a recruiting marketing platform or chatbot can lead to greater engagement and higher recruitment conversions. When building a business case, account for all the benefits and costs that might result.

Related: Using Artificial Intelligence for Making Unbiased Hires

2. Know when to automate. It’s tempting to automate as many steps in your recruitment function as possible, but technology isn’t always the best option for getting work done. Determine which tasks favor the human touch, such as those requiring empathy, a white-glove experience or subjective interaction. Also, consider that some technologies may be too cost-prohibitive at this point. (Over time this will likely change.) For those that currently don’t make sense, revisit their viability in six months, since technology development is accelerating all the time.

3. Seek help for clarity. Human capital leaders are being asked to be experts across many areas: processes, operations and the business, to name a few. Adding technology to the growing list is just one more demand asked of you. Look for support when it makes sense. You can gain the insights you need from industry analysts, professional organizations, technology vendors, and your talent strategy or outsourcing partners. A recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) or managed services provider (MSP) will likely have deep expertise and the implementation experience you need to help facilitate your investment.

Related: Five Ways HR Can Maximize Data and Analytics

4. Help your teams transition. One of the most promising aspects of smart technologies is their ability to free up your workforce to focus on more strategic and value-added services. Help your workers redefine their roles post-implementation to keep them engaged and productive. Explain how tools will help them shift their focus to create greater value to recruitment outcomes.

Here’s How AI Will Change the Way You Recruit
How often have you said to yourself, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day?” In an industry that moves as fast as talent recruitment, lack of time is a serious problem. Recruiters are spread so thin that 75 percent of applicants never receive a response after submitting a resume.

5. Don’t forget the candidate. If your goal is to enhance recruitment conversions, make sure your technology strategy also accounts for the candidate experience. Tools that enhance communication, make the application process easier, provide status tracking, serve content and engage job seekers in other ways should be part of your investment road map. Not only will these technologies help to create a more memorable hiring journey for talent, but they will surely improve your overall employer brand too.

Technological Innovation

“There has never been a better time for employers to explore the possibilities that technological innovation can bring to their recruitment processes,” said Michel Stokvis, managing director of the Randstad Sourceright’s global talent innovation center. “It is now so much easier to source and screen talent, but at the same time, there’s an added level of complexity. This requires companies to consider the overall hiring experience, and, more specifically, to determine the best mix of tech and touch to improve recruiting outcomes.”

Alya Abdoun senior manager, business process solutions and human resources at Kaiser Permanente, explained that technology is made to support recruitment, not replace that function. “Recruitment tools should help a recruiter to be successful at their role,” she said. “They should streamline processes, allowing for simple engagement and tracking. They should provide reporting tools that not only support larger cost savings initiatives, but that can also contribute to workforce planning and understanding the talent landscape — not just within an organization, but in its talent pool.”

Related: For Executive Search Firms, Analytics Can be a Game Changer

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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