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Keeping Things Personal: Automation in Recruitment


In the wake of the pandemic, which accelerated the pace of digitisation worldwide at an unprecedented rate, technology has revolutionised businesses in every sector.

The recruitment industry is no exception. The developing capabilities of technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and applicant tracking systems (ATS) help automate the most time-consuming recruitment tasks and allow employers to more efficiently refine candidate shortlists.

As a result, recruitment technology is now being implemented on a broader scale to help employers and recruiters stay on top of correspondence and manage candidate pools. However, some elements of recruitment cannot — and should not — be replicated by a machine.

So, how can employers make the most of technology’s many advantages without sacrificing the personal approach that is so integral to securing the top candidates?

What are the limitations of automation in recruitment?

There are several benefits to the intelligent tools now available to recruiters. Supported by data and AI, recruitment technology can help cast a wider net, facilitate remote hiring, and generally expedite recruitment processes. There are also AI-powered interview tools on the market that use psychometric tests and algorithms to evaluate candidates based on their responses to automated interview questions, cutting out the need for a human interviewer at this stage entirely.

However, as efficient and innovative as this technology may be, its reliability is limited. Recruitment requires interpersonal skills and nuance that computers do not possess, and technology cannot build a holistic impression of a candidate to accurately measure their suitability for a role purely based on science.

For example, ATS and AI systems pick out applications that mention the key attributes, skills, and qualifications required for a position. Although this can help employers refine their initial selections, the software will immediately reject less formulaic CVs and may fail to measure variables like writing quality or design.

Plus, savvy applicants can play the system by filling out their CVs with keywords from the job description that are not a genuine representation of their skills or experience. So, employers and recruiters risk overlooking suitable candidates — or misguidedly hiring the wrong ones.

Additionally, these systems can be subject to bias, limiting the inclusivity of hiring processes and the diversity of applicant pools. Although technology can help eliminate unconscious bias from some recruitment processes, employers risk excluding groups of qualified people based on discriminative descriptors or algorithms that learn to favour particular ages, genders, races, or locations. As a result, it is crucial that businesses ensure they do not become overreliant on technology for their recruitment needs.

Should businesses embrace automation for their recruitment needs?

Vacancies remain at a high level in the UK, and in a candidate-driven market, speed is of the essence when it comes to recruitment.

A recent candidate experience survey found that almost 58% of candidates expect to hear back from companies regarding their initial application in one week or less. Yet, screening CVs using conventional manual methods can take as much as 23 hours for every hire, wasting valuable time and resources — especially considering that most applicants are usually deemed unsuitable.

With this in mind, recruitment technology and software can help HR departments and recruiters quickly refine selections, manage the administrative tasks associated with interview scheduling and candidate sourcing and automate emails and feedback to ensure consistent communication.

However, accepting an offer to join a new company is a personal decision, not a mechanical one. Employers can use technology alongside traditional recruitment methods to support basic administrative tasks, but recruiters must be personable to be persuasive.

As such, prospective employers must personally engage with applicants throughout the recruitment process to stand out from the competition, ensure they understand candidates’ individual goals, and make offers that align with their expectations.

The best way for businesses to streamline recruitment and secure the best employees for their organisation is to enlist the help of a recruitment agency. With specialist industry knowledge and expansive professional networks, these external teams can alleviate pressure on HR departments and hiring managers by taking over the responsibility for sourcing and liaising with applicants to guarantee the best results for clients and candidates.



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