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Do the perfect recruitment strategies need to have a blend of both technology and people?

Opinion from Charles Hipps, CEO, WCN

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Look up automation in the dictionary and it’s immediately apparent that the term has a negative connotation attached to it. The Oxford English Dictionary declares it to mean “the use or introduction of automatic equipment in a manufacturing or other process or facility” which is acceptable, but the example offered is perhaps the more stereotypical perception - "unemployment due to the spread of automation".

It’s a common myth not helped by Hollywood’s portrayal of machines taking over the role of human workers – but actually Automation is a powerful and essential way of making recruitment work well.

Far from removing the recruitment manager and HR team altogether, it actually has the potential to quicken up the recruitment process, enhance the candidate experience, and effectively add to the time that recruiters can spend with potential hires.

Recruiters shouldn’t fear it as a big obstacle to their careers. Remember, humans still have to understand how it’s being used.  Data in itself will not get you a decision, you need to have data, you need to be able to generate insight and you also need to be able to link that to action.  So therefore the humans should never be taken out of the equation as the actual technology itself is just an actual enabler. 

Alleviating the administrative burdens of recruiters enables better personalised processes so recruiters can interact more frequently with highly sought after qualified candidates in health & safety. With more time made available using an automated system, recruiters can create warm, authentic interactions with top candidates for bespoke posts. Equally, it can speed up processes for more generalised posts without jeopardising on quality. One multinational retailer uses a WCN automated e-recruitment solution to hire shop floor staff in branches across the country over a three day period from application to the employee receiving their uniform and starting work for example.

WCN has created this infographic to debunk the myths around automation and explore its benefits in more detail.

Technology is not standing still either. Automation will continue to evolve and employers need to be keeping up with changes. Staff can be onboarded on the e-recruitment systems they applied to for example, undertaking any procedures that can be completed pre-joining or simply providing information to ensure they have equipment and/or uniform ready for their first day. The same systems can be used to securely host contracts and other HR forms that the employee must sign up to as part of company terms and conditions.

Over time, the brains behind the technical excellence offered by e-recruitment specialists such as WCN will continue to evolve the intelligent algorithms that make up the sophisticated filtering and shortlisting capabilities provided through automation. The process will be enhanced to help truly eradicate potential for bias and help streamline HR delivery in effective and efficient ways.

Introducing AI to the recruitment process has the potential to help tackle the problem of unconscious bias blighting the decisions human hiring managers make, but that all comes down to who is responsible for training them and the data they are fed.

Recruitment is already in the high 80/90 per cent region for online applications against paper CVs and covering letters and this has been proven to reduce costs – one retailer has reported 30-40 per cent savings using a WCN solution.

Automation can help improve consistency, efficiency, reduce costs and align your organisation’s recruitment process in the long run although the level of automation undertaken will vary dependent on the industry, type and volume of roles. It empowers recruiters putting them in control of more effective processes for key challenges such as the need for greater velocity in recruiting, better quality candidate experiences and a push towards ensuring a service that facilitates more engagement between candidates and businesses throughout their application experience.

In essence, the technology is playing a central role in helping with the development of sophisticated talent strategies to reach and secure the very best candidates before a competitor. Done well, it can ensure consistency of image and practice across an organisation, providing the desired level of attention needed to be considered an employer of choice.

So, far from being the scary word it might first appear, automation is actually a mechanism that can be very effective in volume recruitment. Running without it is simply delaying the inevitable.