Where’s the Human Touch in Recruiting?

“Today tools such as AI and machine learning, video and chatbots will enable recruiters to find qualified candidates faster. But they can’t replace the human touch in recruiting.”

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By Sujo John (Business Head ― Monster.com, South East Asia & Hong Kong)

The recruiting industry is at an interesting inflection point. Like every industry, it’s become hyper- focused on data. “How do we make more perfect matches between candidates and employers?” That’s a meaty and exciting problem to solve.

While we work towards it, we must avoid becoming so obsessed with data that we forget the human touch. A heavy reliance on tech overlooks the fact that recruiting is ultimately about establishing connections between human beings. Candidates and hiring managers alike are looking for partners who will help them grow in the long term, and work alongside them collaboratively every day.

In our recent survey, 49 percent of recruiters told us that technology has made it harder to make human connections and a whopping 81 percent say recruiters need stronger people skills than ever. The next generation of HRTech must leverage data and automation without neglecting the human elements necessary to make strong connections.

Large companies have set expectation to put data and tech first in every interaction. We went from a world in which we sought items in stores to one in which we made requests via search bars to one in which a company anticipates what we need or want before we even know it, all thanks to data.

Those expectations are now being applied to human capital. With the need to fill more roles faster, the days of “show me as many applicants as you can” are over ― the focus has shifted to relevancy. Most companies believe some number of searchable elements will find the right candidate, resume keywords, titles, jobs in specific industries, experience at well-known companies.

In the future, the goal is to make the process even more effective ― to develop the anticipation and recommendation engine that comes from having more insight on candidate and employer data. There are countless technologies that could be used towards this end ― AI and machine learning, video, verifications and chatbots, among other things.

Fostering a Human Touch
But tools only go so far. They can’t determine who will be the best fit for the organization. And the human connection makes the difference in closing a candidate ― how you tell your company’s story, how well you understand what levers are most important to the candidate, and the rapport you build.

Half the recruiting process is attracting candidates with the right level of experience, the other half is determining whether the team in place can successfully interact with them.

Tech is certainly an asset in the first half, which it will call “discovery.” In travel, tech helped the discovery process by gathering data to pinpoint what would capture interest. Those who love luxury resort vacations might not respond to a camping excursion but may be thrilled by a yacht tour.

The filtering for the second half of recruiting ― which is largely about culture fit ― needs to be enabled by the humans who will work alongside the candidates. The most successful recruiters will emphasize the human while leveraging technology’s value, and the most useful technology will enable human connections.

What’s disappointing is that HRTech investments have been spent overwhelmingly on tools to support the quantitative aspects of discovery without enabling the qualitative aspects of cultural fit.

So, let’s think about how we could add human touches to both phases of recruiting. Some could be technology-enabled, for example, making an online job ad come alive with video of a human talking to a human. This would allow recruiters to show a fuller picture and enable candidates to self-select, resulting in higher-quality applications.

The human touch of recruiting is how companies make the biggest impact and candidates leave their best impression. While the recruiting process may be built, in part, by robots, it must be geared towards humans.

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