Most businesses large enough to realize the cost benefits of technological advances to recruitment have implemented at least a few of these options. Applicant Tracking Systems are a prime example of a way employers are streamlining procedures – making paper resumes and hard copy assessments a thing of the past. Social media is another. Where once lied over-the-phone reference checking and newspaper research, now there are social networking sites like LinkedIn.
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) published a short spotlight on how technology has altered the way companies recruit. One of the main differences, cited Staffing Advisors president Bob Corlett, is that new technology has “leveled the playing field”. Smaller companies and recruiting firms now have access to some, if not all, of the same information as the bigger players. Corlett also believes, however, that sites like LinkedIn may have made things too easy: “When social networking venues like LinkedIn began their meteoric rise in popularity: the economy crashed and millions of people lost their jobs. Now, with an abundance of candidates competing for a relatively small number of available positions, technology has also made it easier for companies to be downright rude with applicants. Maybe it’s a dismissive rejection letter delivered via e-mail or a total avoidance of follow-up contact with an applicant, but the reliance on technology has also reduced personal interaction…When the economy recovers, there will be backlash against those companies that used recruiting technology simply to shave costs. Hiring used to be a one-to-one experience. That’s not the case anymore.”
Recruiters need to keep in mind their target audience as well. Certain industries, especially those targeting a wider range of experience levels in their applicants or without educational restrictions for hiring, may not have the need to utilize social networking or other online resources as would an organization hiring recent graduates. Everyone knows Generation Y is online and that’s where you have to go to get them. It’s not true of all candidates, however. The internet is primarily gong to be the most dominant resource to use, but it may need to be supplemented or even replaced in certain situations. It’s all about who you are trying to hire.
Mark Stelzner, principal of Inflexion Advisors, an HR consulting firm explains that “greater transparency in the hiring process and companies’ use of new technology and social media would clear up much of the confusion that arises between candidates and their prospective employers…A lot of candidates have no idea what tools companies are using. Technology can be a great friend to you, or a terrible impediment. If you’re relying on it completely for communication, it only goes so far.”
All in all, as advancements in technology continue to evolve, so will recruitment processes. In order to attain the next best candidates, you may have to use the next best thing in recruitment innovation. We’ve changed our procedures in terms of efficiency, costs, and availability of information, and in doing so we have decreased the level of personal contact and levels of communication. Be sure to include “old school” principles in the improvements you make or you could end up on the wrong side of the economic upturn when it comes to future hiring.
Traci K. is an HR professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.