One of the most iconic ads of the 20th century was the Yellow Pages 'Let your fingers do the walking', something everyone who sat behind a desk had to do in one form or another to do their jobs in those days. Legs too had to do their fair share, walking from one office to another to filing rooms, mail rooms and photocopying rooms in dank basements.
A 21st century version of the same ad might now read: "Let your fingers do the clicking' as technology has literally cut down much of the legwork needed to accomplish the same task right across the business sphere to the point where it's no longer an added tool, but a necessity for growth.
With most departments within an organisation being run by technology, HR cannot afford to overlook its growing importance to recruitment. While an accounts department may acquire an automated system that will service them well for years, recruitment must react more quickly to its own industry, which is non-static and often at the mercy of external factors such as changing behaviours in the jobs market.
Also as technology is responsible for bringing in more candidate applications, it is also the only solution to that development.
The need for speed
Today, no organisation can afford to have an inefficient recruiting process. Here's why:
- Candidates who are in high demand will not stick around long if their applications are processed slowly. Millennials especially are used to moving fast in a fast-moving world. Competitors who are quick off the mark will snap them up first.
- If in the event they are still in the running, they may already have spoken to other employers and then an organisation can find itself dragged into a salary and benefits bidding war that could have been avoided if HR had acted more quickly to secure the hire.
- Believing that 'slow and steady wins the race', and that by taking time to gather everything needed to make a correct decision which will all result in acquiring the best candidate, will, these days, only leave an organisation with the runt of the litter. Everyone else will have moved on. The aim should be speed and efficiency, not one at the expense of the other.
- The longer it takes to hire, the more productivity and morale suffer, and by extension revenues, if customer relations deteriorate as a result. Leaving a post empty for a prolonged period is not a salary-saving benefit, it's short-sighted and counterproductive.
- An organisation's employer brand can be damaged by a slow hiring process which can lead candidates to have a negative impression of how the company is run, a big turn-off for working there. The knock-on effect from this will be a reduction in future applicants.
There are countless ways in which technology can help speed and efficiency in recruitment as much as any other department within an organisation and much of the process can be automated easily without impacting on the personal HR touch if done properly. Using technology means spending less time on admin, data can be processed and retrieved faster without wading through mountains of paperwork, it reduces time to hire and thus lowers recruitment costs, and creates an easily accessible talent pool. Here's how:
- Job posting: Technology today offers multi-poster systems where an ad can be simultaneously posted on a number of different web platforms and job boards with a couple of clicks.
- ATS: The most time-consuming part of any recruitment process is sifting through CVs to come up with a short list. Anyone who has had to do this manually can testify to the hours and hours needed. Technology offers both speed and efficiency to the process by matching candidates with requirements.
- Automated email response: These systems allow recruiters to contact candidates at the push of a button to keep them up to speed with the applications process or to send e-mail and text messages confirmations and reminders.
- Screening: Another time-consuming and often costly job that newer technologies can have a huge impact on in terms of efficiency. Some systems can incorporate internet and social media searches, which helps build behavioural profiles.
- First round interviews: More and more organisations are turning to video technologies to speed up this part of the process. It can save countless hours of admin.
- The candidate experience: No recruiter really has time to send out responses to those candidates who failed to make it to interview but it is an important move when it comes to employer brand to do exactly that. This too can be done through an automated system and even personalised.
Eye on the prize
Choosing the right technologies is important when it comes to recruiting, and requires planning based around an organisation’s current and future needs. It is important that one system be used across the organisation where the data is centralised and accessible and should be easy to navigate.
The system should also ideally be mobile so that HR personnel can access it from remote locations and react quickly to developments. Time is money, as they say, and time out of the office doesn't have result in delays by having to be physically present at the PC to move things along more quickly.
An organisation must also make sure their tech systems are modern, secure and fast. Glitches and problems only cause frustration among employees and slows down the work, leading to productivity losses. It is also imperative to keep up with the new technologies that are driving the way in which the jobs market is behaving or where it is heading, and adjust accordingly. This will become particularly important as people analytics and algorithms develop in the very near future and are set to change the whole face of recruitment.