The Rise of the Recruiting Machines

 In Recruiting, Talent Management, Vermont Human Resources

Robots have automated manufacturing. Workflow software has automated clerical tasks. Could selection and hiring be next on the automation hit list? As the New York Times reports, a number of start-ups are betting yes.

robot-handshakeThese start-ups (there are at least five) believe that their algorithms and software will result in a faster and lower-cost recruiting and hiring process. What’s more, they remove the conscious and unconscious bias that are almost impossible to strip out of our current practices. Therefor, they say, automation will offer more diverse candidate pools and better hiring outcomes.

The start-ups do have a point. Despite years of research, how many hiring managers do you know who still swear by their gut-feelings, chemistry, and so-called cultural fit? The results are predictable. These managers hire people who are a lot like they are, with something like a 50% success rate.

We’ve made a good start down this recruiting and selection automation road already: on-line applications with job-specific screening questions and key word searches of resume databases. These tools quickly narrow down the candidate list. They save time and money and allow a single recruiter to handle a larger load of reqs and resumes.

The cost, though, has been a dehumanizing candidate experience. As an applicant, you toss your on-line application into an automated black hole. Maybe you receive an initial automated acknowledgement, but don’t expect much beyond that. Resumes from qualified candidates who aren’t savvy enough or lucky enough to include the necessary key words are never seen by a living person. At some point, if it hasn’t already, the black hole will become a black-eye.  Let’s just say the company won’t be an employer of choice.

So the question is, how can we take advantage of automation, while providing a positive applicant experience?  And if we find that balance, can we make it a competitive advantage?