We recently spoke to Hung Lee, the Curator of one of the world's most influential HR and recruitment communities, Recruiting Brainfood. He discusses COVID-19, candidate expectations, and automation's impact on the ever-changing recruitment industry.
Hung Lee is the Curator of one of the world's most influential HR and recruitment communities, Recruiting Brainfood. He discusses COVID-19, candidate expectations, and automation's impact on the ever-changing recruitment industry.
The main challenge I hear about regularly from the recruiters in my community is increasingly demanding candidates. A significant cause of the candidate shortage is that people expect much more from employers than before Covid-19. The pandemic and the necessary mitigation policies such as working from home have changed the game in terms of what people think is a fair deal. Candidates are looking for better pay, increased flexibility, and more control over their working arrangements – recruiters have to match these high expectations, making it more challenging to match people to a role. It also makes the hiring landscape much more competitive – with the rising number of vacancies and the dwindling number of candidates, recruiters are all vying for the attention of these demanding job seekers.
As automation is becoming commonplace across many industries, recruiters are acknowledging the value of automating their admin-heavy tasks to save time. Any ideological opposition against tools like chatbots dealing with job seeker FAQs and automated interview scheduling has almost disappeared. We're no longer contesting whether these are good ideas or not and have moved on to thinking about when we should implement them. The candidate shortage for recruiters is accelerating this. There are too few recruiters, hiring for too many roles, and automation is considered the only way to increase recruiter productivity without burning them out.
There's really no negative. There were perhaps initial concerns that 'over-automation' could lead to poorer candidate experience, but these have since been mitigated by improved understanding of the psychology of job seeking. People want timely updates on the status of their application – it doesn't matter whether it's a human or machine that delivers the news. In fact, there is some data to suggest candidates may prefer to deal with a non-human for parts of the process. The benefits are also obvious – recruiters can deliver more efficient processes, giving them more time to focus on the higher value parts of the recruiting process, such as candidate sourcing and relationship-building.
Automation is still relatively new, so it requires an element of change. Many organizations will have invested heavily in their existing systems and processes and may think the switching costs are too high. However, vendors are increasingly providing impressive solutions that are ready to use. The easier it gets to trial or pilot, the quicker those blockers will dissolve.
Any recruitment process that requires repetition, coordination, accuracy, and speed should be automated. As I mentioned earlier, chatbots for answering candidate FAQs are invaluable, as well as automated interview scheduling. Interview scheduling is one of the most time-consuming tasks for a recruiter when done manually and can result in frustrated candidates. Automating this task improves the life of the recruiter and the scheduling experience for the candidate. Additionally, interview transcription, process updates, stakeholder coordination, report production – so many areas of the recruitment process would benefit from being automated. It will be exciting to see more recruitment departments put all of this together.
The problems recruiters have with interview scheduling usually center around their relationships with hiring managers. Not giving feedback, not responding to interview requests, and not being available for a briefing on the job are common complaints. These obstacles could be due to the recruiter's poor relationship management, but a lot of the time, it's down to inefficiencies in coordination and communication. Automation can significantly help these areas and improve the working relationship between recruiters and the business.
It will go one of two ways. Recruiters will either shrink in value if they continue with a business as usual approach or grow in value if they can increase the scope of their roles. A big part of achieving the latter will be through taking advantage of the increased capacity automation provides.
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