Hiring new staff is a vitally important task undertaken by HR and recruitment teams.
It ensures organizations have the right talent to meet core business objectives and ultimately stay ahead of the curve in competitive marketplaces.
Regardless of its importance, job recruitment isn’t an easy process. It comprises many different components, from the initial search for potential employees to the onboarding of successful candidates. Combined, these steps can take up significant time and energy in the day-to-day working lives of HR professionals.
But just like other areas of the HR department, technology is rapidly changing the way businesses find and recruit talent. Whether it’s automating manual processes or identifying unconscious bias in job adverts, let’s explore the powerful role HR technology plays in recruitment.
Streamlining the recruitment process
Once upon a time, job recruitment was a time-consuming and complex process. But this is no longer the case thanks to the advancement and introduction of new recruitment technologies in recent times.
Jill Morris, senior HR business partner at Hitachi Vantara, says: “Attracting, hiring, and retaining talent has never been a simple task and HR professionals from across industries are looking for new and innovative ways of streamlining these processes. As a result – and particularly over the past year – many have turned to technology.”
One of the technologies disrupting the recruitment process is artificial intelligence.
It’s not only allowing HR professionals to fill vacant positions quicker than ever before, but is also helping them tackle issues such as unconscious bias. “Rather than sifting through hundreds of applicants, businesses can instead enable automated hiring systems which screen candidates based on the job application criteria,” explains Morris.
“Beyond saving HR teams time identifying the most suitable candidates for interview, AI-enabled hiring systems remove the ‘human element’ of bias, which often occurs unconsciously. AI tools can also be used to ensure the language used on job listings is inclusive.”
Jill Morris, senior HR business partner at Hitachi Vantara
Despite the benefits of automated recruitment technologies, they’re not perfect and have room for improvement. Morris admits that HR teams can find it challenging to test and train these systems so that they flag and remove any bias in datasets.
“And because AI-powered systems make decisions based on the data inputted, there’s a very real possibility that these systems will develop human biases too,” she warns.
“Addressing these challenges may require third-party support or specially recruited data scientists, which may not always be a cost-effective solution.”
Massive benefits of HR tech
Technology is transforming how HR teams attract, assess, and onboard new employees fundamentally, according to Accenture UK and Ireland recruitment director James Jenkins.
In particular, he believes technologies that enable HR teams to increase transparency through data and improve the candidate experience should be at the forefront of modern recruitment strategies.
“These also drive more robust and reliable hiring decisions and enable HR to positively contribute towards inclusion and diversity by creating opportunity for all.”
Jenkins says organizations are increasingly containing their HR tech stacks in a broader HR ecosystem that creates a single journey for individuals.
He tells UNLEASH: “This ecosystem enables HR to manage the individual experience from the point a candidate first engages with your employer brand, right through to their full lifecycle as an employee.
“This enables organizations to tie in role performance with go-to-market strategy and assessment methodologies.”
“It also increases the reliability of decisions with actionable insights that enable recruiting strategies to be continuously improved alongside the candidate experience.”
While recruitment technology is constantly evolving and might be a new area for some HR teams, it offers numerous advantages for businesses, employees, and potential talent.
“The technology we have open to us now actually enables organizations to innovate in such a way that enhances the human experience,” explains Jenkins.
“And from an HR perspective, it also provides the opportunity to move up the value chain, deepening insights and relationships whilst adding value to the importance of your role. The challenge is navigating the pace of change, investing carefully in what’s meaningful rather than just what’s new.”
HR and IT must work together
Technology has an important role to play in recruitment, according to VMware head of industry solutions and strategy Richard Bennett.
“There are two key considerations for HR managers when recruiting. The first is around employer branding and understanding how you want your brand to be perceived by prospective candidates,” he says.
“And secondly, the software and tools that you use to bring them in. Most applicants want convenience, so legacy processes often hinder or affect a potential candidate’s decision when it comes to applying for a certain role.”
In the fast-paced job market of 2021, many candidates are using social media platforms such as LinkedIn to discover potential roles and apply for them via convenient one-touch application processes.
Bennett says: “It enables a prospective candidate to find a company they might be interested in working for, see the job advertisement, and apply with just one touch.
“When HR recruiters simplify the ability to take the applicants data through an app or through a one-touch process, it can become more appealing to candidates. It’s about simplifying the application process and highlighting to the candidate they’re applying for a role at a forward-facing company.”
Increasingly, the best HR leaders are having important conversations with the IT department and identifying innovative ways technology can improve the recruitment process.
For instance, Bennett points out that they can use augmented intelligence to see if applicants tailor their resumes when applying for specific roles and identify any plagiarism.
Bennett adds: “Ultimately, the ability to attract and retain talent has always been difficult, but technology is the cornerstone to addressing traditional challenges associated with recruitment.”
“What is essential is the interlock with HR and IT, such that the needs of the HR recruitment innovation can be jointly defined to meet the expectations of a modern candidate.”
Key considerations in choosing technology
There are four key areas when using technology to attract and hire employees, according to Gartner HR vice president Lauren Smith.
First, HR leaders must develop an in-depth understanding of the talent landscape and how technology fits into this picture.
“To source talent in a competitive job market, organizations are using technology to understand talent supply and demand, and to target their sourcing and branding efforts effectively,” she explains.
“For example, technology that looks at where other companies in a particular industry are looking for talent, or what skills they are prioritizing in their job descriptions, can help companies remain competitive.”
Once businesses fully understand the talent landscape, they can utilize technology to automate arduous but crucial hiring processes.
”During the pandemic, many recruitment teams were downsized, and while they’re currently being rebuilt, HR leaders have an opportunity to think about what tasks can be automated,” says Smith.
“For example, a chatbot can handle a higher volume of candidate interactions, questions, and scheduling, freeing up recruiters to spend time on more specialized activity. Gartner research finds that candidates value efficiency early in the hiring process, and the desire for in-person interaction increases deeper into the candidate journey.”
Given that so many people are now working remotely, HR leaders must also take steps to virtualize the interviewing and onboarding stages of the recruitment process.
“Due to the transition to remote work, activities such as interviewing and onboarding became virtual for many organizations. This required HR and recruiting teams to incorporate technology to provide a seamless experience for candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers while maintaining the in-person experience,” continues Smith.
“With organizations having reaped the rewards of ease and efficiency, virtual interviews will be maintained for many roles, particularly in the early stages. Onboarding is a much more difficult process given the need to create personal connections, and so businesses need to evaluate how to complement virtual onboarding.”
Finally, she advises businesses to identify internal skills offerings as part of technology-driven recruitment strategies. She says: “Identifying internal skills offering: Internal mobility is not technology-dependent; it should be weaved through an organization’s culture and talent management lifecycle. However, companies looking to advance internal mobility strategies can consider building internal talent marketplace technologies.
“An internal talent marketplace (ITM) is a platform-based system for supporting an internal gig economy inside an organization. The platforms match people to work assignments or projects, based on inputs from employees, managers, and enterprise systems.”
Getting the most out of recruitment tech
Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, urges organizations to remember that recruitment technology use cases and results vary exponentially.
“Tech is probably most useful at the start of the recruitment process, where pre-application assessments and chatbots can be used to reduce the number of unsuitable candidates for roles. It’s likely that one of the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 will be an increase in tech that allows remote selection and onboarding of employees in the future,” she advises.
In order to get the most out of recruitment technology, McCartney recommends that organizations ensure each solution is implemented carefully, complements their brand and values, and provides a great user experience.
“They also need to ensure that any tech is properly tested first, so it isn’t introducing bias or disadvantage and is easily accessible for all candidates. Employers mustn’t fall into the trap of relying on technology alone to help reduce bias during recruitment,” she says.
“They must add more rigor, consistency, and challenge into all aspects of the recruitment and selection processes. Finally, organizations should be continually evaluating their use of tech by asking candidates and hiring managers for feedback – and acting on it.”
Job recruitment was once defined by largely manual processes that took HR professionals a significant amount of time to complete. However, HR teams can fill roles with the right talent much quicker and easier by leveraging new recruitment technologies.
But, of course, organizations shouldn’t simply rely on technology when hiring new employees as recruitment is a highly personal experience that requires human interaction.
And recruitment technology will unlikely yield success overnight. Rather, the best recruitment technology strategies focus on the needs of both employer and candidate. At the same time, they’re carefully planned from the outset.
Sign up to the UNLEASH Newsletter
Get the Editor’s picks of the week delivered straight to your inbox!