Don't Forget the Human Element when Embracing Automation in Recruiting

The past few decades have seen a relentless march to automate almost every aspect of business! And human resources functions are no exception. Automation benefits not only workers but also the organizations that recruit and manage those workers.

Repetitive tasks that just take time are always good opportunities for automation. And human ingenuity ensures that we will continue to see advancements in every area of our work lives. 2021 certainly saw plenty of technological improvements and 2022 will undoubtedly follow with more. 

Businesses looking to shore up their defenses against the loss of workers are increasing wages and benefits, but they’re also turning to more technological solutions. McDonald’s is looking into automating cooking processes and Taco Bell is investigating an ordering process that almost completely removes human interaction from the equation. 

Don’t get us wrong, the fast-food industry isn’t the only one that’s witnessing technological achievements! HR organizations have explored solutions for automating payroll and benefits management and tracking job candidates throughout the hiring process. AI technologies are being applied to remove human bias – particularly for selecting job candidates who are more representative of the world at large. The broader corporate world has seen its fair share of advancement too! From Zoom calls to remote collaboration tools to project management software, almost every facet of our work and lives has been changed by technological advancements, helping us to move faster, to be better. 

When it comes to recruiting, we find that needs can be pretty different because automation that ignores the inherent human element of discovering and closing the right talent doesn’t really work. While many technological advancements help recruiters speed up or enhance what they are already doing, by sorting through candidates faster or looking for key skills— current technologies aren’t really helping recruiters to actually reach the right candidates in a repeatable and predictable way. 

One big reason that we haven’t seen more automation in sourcing candidates is that the process itself has radically changed over the past few years and rapidly accelerated during the pandemic. Whereas recruiters once posted jobs and reasonably expected their pick of qualified candidates we’ve now reached a point where workers considering a job change may not look at job posts at all. 

While job descriptions are of course crucial for defining and approving roles on the inside of companies, job seekers are increasingly turning to social media to learn about hiring companies and jobs. And for social media, job posts just don’t fly. Engagement is the name of the game: boring posts and ads don’t move job seekers, and a focus on automation and resume parsing can’t help that. 

So, what’s the best way to think about automation for sourcing candidates?  

A big point to consider is how behaviors have changed, particularly among Millennial and Gen Z job seekers. Even though Generation Z and many Millennials grew up with technology, in front of screens, they value face-to-face connection more than any generation before them. They seek connection, which is why social media is their first place to check out companies and career opportunities. 

Another necessary insight is that video is the preferred way for this generation to learn about almost any topic including potential companies and jobs. Research shows that digital media and video in particular are the go-to sources for research. 

Okay, let’s cut to the chase and get specific about how video can help automate the sourcing side of recruiting.  

Part of the magic of video is that so much more information can be communicated through video than through text or pictures. Video can actually reduce overall effort while making it easier to engage with more potential candidates. Video for social media engagement, in tandem with video accompanying job posts, seems like the way forward. 

1. Video helps to make job ads feel more personal, more authentic: Video helps job seekers to feel they have a one-to-one connection within a company (even if that’s not the case). 
2. Millennials and Gen Z value culture more than any generation before them: A lot of companies have similar perks or benefits- so how can you really stand out just using words. New technologies should allow you to show candidates your culture not just tell them about it. 
3. They have more choice: it is more important than ever to stand out as an employer. With remote work broadening the pool of candidates and a worker shortage to boot, standing out is crucial- but how do you do that when you’re using the same solutions as everyone else? Using video helps you stand apart from the rest. 
4. Gen Z and Millennials trust what they hear from friends and people they know. And when they want to learn something new, they often look for videos on those topics of interest. 
5. Time is another consideration – Video allows viewers to learn when they want to, not at a defined meeting time like career information sessions or online meetings. 

It is easy to get caught up in the wave of automation, and don’t get us wrong, automation is great for SO many things. But please think carefully about how you automate the sourcing side of recruiting where engaging on a human level with candidates is what counts.  

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