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The Human Element of Data-Driven Recruitment

October 19, 2019

We’ve always heard that robots will take over our jobs.

Well, by 2030, robot automation will take over 800 million jobs, so it’s not too far off. In the US alone, 39 to 73 million human jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

Recruitment is one such industry that is heavily impacted by technology. The new age of recruitment includes sourcing, screening, and pre-employment testing of a candidate to fit the hiring manager’s requirements.

This means that a significant amount of workload has been taken off from the shoulders of recruiters. The majority of them rely on AI, a technology that can help automate the recruiting workflow, wherein it applies machine learning (ML) to auto-screen resumes. Many more products infused with AI are being introduced to the world of recruitment.

Data-driven recruitment and how to humanize it

Even though AI has streamlined most of the recruitment sector, there are very few reports that observe or suggest AI replacing humans in the recruitment industry unlike telemarketing or retail salesperson.

But, why? Why can’t it replace recruiters? After all, recruitment automation gives the most precise results. It screens the right candidates and saves up to 23 hours of a recruiter’s time for a single hire. It helps a company achieve 4% increase in revenue per employee, decreases the turnover by 35%.

This is because hiring a candidate for a company requires much more than just a machine. It requires human interaction, building rapport, and taking care of the candidate experience. This human element plays a major part in recruiting an employee all over the world. Even in today’s business and data-driven world, human sentiments have the upper hand.

4 recruitment aspects where humanization is crucial

The following four aspects of recruitment are crucial for a human elemental feel. Automation is good, but keeping things humanized changes the entire process.

1. The adamant nature of the recruitment industry

When artificial intelligence entered the field of recruitment, people were sure it would make the job of HR professional obsolete for humans. It was certain that AI meant the recruitment industry would become defunct. However, many years have passed since, and the persistent and unfailing attitude of recruiters has been to make it a joint venture between humans and AI rather than relying on the latter.

AI can never have the same human expertise; it can never deliver on an empathetic level as a living being.

Another reason is, unlike technical skills – interpersonal skills and cultural fit can’t be accurately judged by passing a test or checking a box. Such skills require human interaction to gain the insight needed to evaluate whether the candidate is a perfect fit for the organization or not.

Companies like Amazon have set the expectation to put data as the priority. The world went from sorting out items at a grocery store to sorting out items on a search bar. This model is now being applied in the business world too. This is done to fill more positions faster with the focus moved to relevancy. Just put in the right keywords and you get your candidate. However, this need to fill positions one after the other results in a higher attrition rate as the focus isn’t quality but quantity.

2. Recruitment is establishing human relationships

Placements don’t happen overnight. They are a result of building rapport with the deserving candidates and a machine can’t do that. AI can suggest the best candidates but it can’t go out on a coffee with them or bond with them.

When asked about her recruitment process, an interviewee at Interview Mocha, Lindsay Learn, said something very unusual. She said: “It all starts with the intention of building relationships.” 

Recruiters often are reeling under the pressure of filling up a lot many positions. Considering this, they are eager to find candidates and fill up the job positions at the earliest. Lindsay, however, is a little different.

Despite the pressure, Lindsay cares about the candidates. When faced with a situation, where a job role is not suitable for a candidate (or perhaps if the candidate is overqualified for the role), she will honestly point that out to the candidate. 

This strategy might seem counterproductive for the organization in the short-term; afterall, the positions are not being filled rapidly. However, in the long run, Lindsay creates long-lasting relationships with the candidates. These relationships help her in the long run. 

Related: Read about how humanizing HR tech can transform your candidates' experience with your company, and how necessary it is for building relationships that AI cannot do. 

Read more: Humanizing HR Tech  →

Can a machine do this; can AI do this? The answer is no. An industry like recruitment thrives on human connections. In fact, 49% of recruiters say that technology has made it harder for them to make human connections. Another 81% said in this age of technology, stronger than ever, people skills are needed.

While negotiating with an employee, it is the people’s skill that comes into the picture. How well can you convince the employee if you can’t appeal to the candidate within the package limit set by the company? AI possesses none of these skills. 

3. Fostering human touch for an improved candidate experience

Unsurprisingly, 49% of people said it was the recruiter's responsibility to enhance the candidate’s experience. Even though it’s a joint venture between the organization and recruiter, maximum responsibility falls on the shoulders of recruiters as they represent the organization.

When you humanize the recruitment process, you become sensitive about the candidate’s time. You become prompt towards the candidate and don’t treat them as an option whether they are selected or not. When you tell a candidate “you’ll get back to them,'' you have to make sure to call with feedback within a stipulated amount of time.

Candidate experience starts at the same moment when you post a job opportunity on your preferred recruitment platform. It goes till the hiring process and even extends till you and the candidate decide to part ways.

When you inculcate humanization in recruitment, you’ll hire people who believe the same. Being more friendly, smiling at employees, bonding well with colleagues, and showing hospitality towards candidates who come to your organization will help you find qualified candidates

This, by default, makes the candidate the promoter of your organization, whether they’ve worked for you or not. In that same survey, 80-90% of talent says a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role or company.

4. The human factor post-hiring is important for employee retention

In 2017, the tech industry showed a 13.2% turnover rate. Closing the candidate isn’t the only concern of the recruiter. Retaining the candidate is equally important. This is where humanizing the recruitment process comes into play. Just being friendly or well-mannered doesn’t mean humanizing. It also means making sure the employee feels engaged after they are on-boarded.

Eighty-seven percent of employees in the U.S. are not engaged – they are not involved in, enthusiastic about or committed to their work or workplace, according to Gallup’s latest annual research.

So, how can you combat this? To foster human touch after onboarding companies need to demonstrate inclusion, development, and support. 

  • Inclusion: Nobody wants to work at a workplace where they don’t feel they can voice their opinions. Therefore, make sure you promote communication and interaction within the organization on an individual level.
  • Development: Another reason why people leave the company is that they find a lack of career development in the organization. Therefore, make sure you have a growth plan ready for your employees.
  • Support: No AI can provide physical or mental support to employees. Thus, colleagues must bond well with each other. Also, having a work friend enhances employee engagement. Employees who don’t feel bonded at work are directly linked to unproductivity as per the Center for Workplace Mental Health. Since the recruitment drive is in your hands, you know which candidates align with your vision and will prove to be a supportive employee.

It requires human interference to know if the candidate is a cultural fit for the organization or everything’s going right with the employees or not, and no AI can do it.

How can it be achieved?

As discussed above, AI is playing a crucial role in the recruitment process. However, with the indulgence of technology, human instincts have become secondary, and an industry like recruitment which works on human skills can’t let technology take over.

Make sure AI works for you

Technology was invented to ease human efforts, but recently it has started replacing humans. Initially, recruiters were afraid of using recruitment platforms like LinkedIn because they thought it would take away ownership from them. However, Linkedin provided better market insight and easily candidate connectivity.

Therefore, instead of developing ways to defend themselves from this growing pool of technology, recruiters joined forces with it and started reaching out to candidates on LinkedIn. Now, recruiters have joined all kinds of technology platforms which enables them to dig deeper into the candidate pool and build better relationships with them.

However, even though AI screens the candidate, the authority still remains in the hands of the recruiter to select the individual or not. This is how you make sure the AI works for you without completely relying on it for hiring purposes. 

Related: Recruiters often rely on ATS, or applicant tracking software, to help screen resumes and select the best candidates for the job. This is one way of using AI-powered tools to your advantage. Read all about how tailoring your resume for ATS helps recruiters and applicant tracking software systems more accurate. 

View the Easiest-to-Use Applicant Tracking Software →

It works both ways

It’s a candidate’s market out there, candidates in some cases drive the recruitment process. And with the shortage of skills in the market, why won’t they?

Candidates really care about the experience they go through while giving an interview. In this age of social media, all it takes is one tweet to compromise the reputation of your organization. So, once you’ve considered which candidates to call for the interview, make sure you put in efforts to make the candidate experience better.

The hiring decision works both ways, it not only depends on the recruiter but also on the candidate. The candidates make the decision depending on the job role, their potential boss, their teammates, and the company culture.

Nearly 78% of candidates say the overall candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its employees. Make sure you are prompt and welcoming, and you return candidates’ calls – whether or not they are selected. Remember, this field is all about relationship building.

Human interaction sells jobs

Recruitment is also about how you tell the story of your organization, how you sell the vision of your organization. This helps the recruiter to sell many more jobs than anything else.

A one-on-one interview with a candidate helps both parties to exchange a great deal of information. The recruiter can also learn a lot about the candidates by the gestures and body language. This isn’t something that tech or chatbot can understand. 

TIP: Learn how recruitment chatbots are assisting recruiters with choosing the right candidates for open roles, and then, find the right chatbot software solutions for your company's needs! 

See the Easiest-to-Use Chatbots →

When hiring for digital or technical positions, pre-employment testing can be used to determine the knowledge of the candidate; however, you still need the human element while hiring to understand if the candidate will be a cultural fit or not and to make the candidate understand what the culture of your organization is like.

This human element gives you an upper hand over your competitors as you are double testing the candidate before welcoming them in your organization, once by technology and another by human expertise.

Conclusion

Hiring isn’t about filling vacancies, but acquiring talent fit for you company’s culture with a specific skill set. This can’t be achieved if AI takes over, therefore an industry like recruitment will always need human intervention to make the hiring drives successful. Technology is a boon. But let's not take the human out of human resources. Leverage both to get the best out of both terms. 

Ready to find the best candidate for your company's open jobs? Use our in-depth knowledge hub filled with over 15 recruiting resources, all for free on G2. 

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