Recruitment and Technology
Ever since the turn of the digital age, technology and recruitment have been inseparable. If your aim, as a recruiter, is to “stay on trend” in today’s economy, you will, without a doubt, need to integrate and keep up with the rise of technology, and there are definitely some benefits of doing so.
The Rise of Technology in Recruitment: from spreadsheets to ATS
As pointed out in a recent article by the business-technology website Information Age, recruitment and technology share a long history. The relationship between the two industries formed after the invention of the computer and blossomed once the World Wide Web was established; the emergence of online job boards meant recruiters could move away from the traditional newspaper advert and get “on board” with the digitally-governed, global marketing strategy that is online advertising. This “digital switchover” did not, however, just occur within the recruitment marketing process, as it was not long before recruiters turned to technology to manage their companies, particularly in relation to daily office operations and the hiring process.
At the start of the digital age, Microsoft created the spreadsheet software Excel, and it was a massive hit with many recruiters. Often used in conjunction with email, the spreadsheet was, and potentially still is, used by recruitment agencies to log and manage candidate data. The computer software was deemed a key recruitment tool when it first launched, but it did not stand up to par once new technologies, e.g. applicant tracking systems (ATS), emerged. Such systems brought to light the faults of spreadsheet recruitment management. For one, there is the risk of human error when using Excel. The non-automated approach means recruiters have to spend a considerable amount of time copying and pasting all candidate and/or company data onto spreadsheets.
Over time, this repetitive task would undeniably become tiring, thus increasing the risk of human error. This can all be avoided with ATS. Designed to ensure effective recruitment management, applicant tracking systems enable recruitment agencies to easily keep an eye on and organise candidate and/or company data while also manage other phases of the recruitment process. And the best part? ATS is automated. Less human interaction means a much lower-no risk of human error. In addition to this, since such systems are purposely designed to store candidate and/or company data, there is no need for recruiters to manually input every single detail; there are features already in place that are created to relieve any recruitment-associated, time-consuming tasks like the one aforementioned. With ATS, recruiters have more time for more important tasks, e.g. sourcing and hiring the right talent. The benefits of ATS do not stop here. These systems can be used to help improve the entirety of the recruitment process. From aiding recruiters in the organisation of CVs to tracking job ads, ATS is essentially a recruiter’s best friend.
How Technology can help with Recruitment
According to Bullhorn’s 2018 UK Recruitment Trends Report, nearly half (48%) of UK recruitment agencies are looking to increase their levels of technological investment over the coming years. This statistic alludes to the positive impact that technology is having in recruitment, and ATS is not the only modern technological services designed to improve the recruitment process:
The Job Board
Despite being one of the first digital recruitment services to come out of the digital age, the job board is often not the first thing that pops into everyone’s minds when discussions about the impact of the internet on recruitment arise. Created in the 1990s, the online job advertisement website made the process of candidate attraction considerably easier. Advertising vacancies in newspapers, billboards and posters is now a “thing of the past”, and even we have taken this on board; JobsTrackR is Wave’s own job board.
By advertising job roles online, recruiters are able to dip into the web’s global talent pool and attract a large number of potential candidates, and all for a relatively low cost in comparison to traditional print ads. In terms of the benefits that job boards have for job seekers, the site allows users to apply for multiple jobs with just a few clicks; all they have to do is upload a digital version of their CV. It’s a win-win for both recruiters and job hunters.
Social media has had a vast impact on almost every facet of our daily lives and this impact extends to the world of work. Platforms such as LinkedIn have enabled for what is currently known as “social recruiting” in the recruitment industry. In 2016, the recruitment agency search engine Agency Central reported that 92% of recruiters are using social platforms (particularly LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to find and attract candidates, and this rate is likely to have increased since then. Recruiters can not only advertise vacancies on their profiles, similar to job boards, but they can also engage and communicate with candidates. LinkedIn also enables recruiters to go the extra mile with regards to talent sourcing. The platform is dedicated to employers and candidates, enabling employers to search for, and perhaps find, the “perfect” candidate.
Advances in mobile technology have further made recruiters think about how to attract and communicate with candidates in the digital age. With the development of smartphones, we can now access the internet away from our desktop computers or laptops, and this subsequently means that we can now actively search for jobs on the go. Society’s investment in mobile technology has thus led many recruitment-based agencies to optimise their websites for the small screen or create specialised apps. The aim is to ensure candidates have a mobile-friendly job-seeking experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Still, currently in its primary stages, AI has already been used to improve productivity and performance in recruitment. Firstly, the technological tool has been used to automate the process of letting candidates know about the progress of their application. AI chatbots are programmed to answer any common, routine questions that a candidate may have about the company they have applied for and are able to keep them in the loop if they have not been chosen for the job. This technology means recruiters do not have to manually send out unsuccessful application letters.
AI is also being used to screen CVs. Using the data from job specifications (e.g. skills needed for the roles), AI-powered CV readers help recruiters to find the best candidate according to whether or not their skills, qualifications and/or experience match up to what is required for the role.
The Video Interview
Digital services such as Skype and FaceTime have saved recruiters a substantial amount of time in the candidate interviewing process. Having to carry out interviews can be stressful for both employer and candidate, so remote interviewing can be much more relaxing. By using either one of these services, employers can interview candidates without having to invite them into the office. Skype and FaceTime calls can be done anytime and anywhere, enabling flexibility.
But with all this tech, where does the “human element” of recruitment fit in?
With almost every aspect of the recruitment process becoming automated, many have questioned whether robots will one day replace the need for human recruiters. Are some jobs at risk of being computerised? If so, does this mean the death of the recruiter? These are questions are unanswerable right now as there is no way of knowing how advanced and powerful new digital technologies, one being AI, will become in the next few years. Another successive problem that arises from the use of technology in recruitment is the lack of personalisation. AI chatbots have been criticised for handling each candidate’s request or unsuccessful application letter generally, rather than treating each one as an individual case. CV ranking systems (powered by AI and ATS) are also under fire, as not everyone is happy about robots deciding whether or not they qualify for the next round in the application process.
In spite of the recruitment industry’s investment in digital services, some believe the human interaction side of recruitment can work alongside technology; there is space for both to exist. While technology is a great asset for recruitment agencies, particularly with regards to its ability to help recruiters to keep track of candidate applications and log important information, there are some parts of the recruitment process that works best when they have a human touch. At the end of the day, people, and not robots, should assess people.