Technology Is Changing Job Recruiting Beyond Recognition

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Feb 16, 2021

Feb 16, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

The recruiting business has always been about human touches: firm handshakes, polished smiles, professional banter.

There remains a place for the human element in recruiting. For now. But like so many other aspects of business, recruiting is changing fundamentally as a result of rapid, dramatic technological advancements. Today’s recruiting processes are already almost unrecognizable to industry veterans. We can only imagine how different recruiting will appear in 10 or 15 years.

“HR technology is changing the face of employee recruiting,” writes Daily Invest News. “Businesses are compiling [recruiting] data at large rates that cannot be analyzed quickly enough without the use of AI.”

Let’s examine the changes with the greatest potential to affect recruiting processes and professionals, and look for ways that businesses and HR departments can adapt to the inevitable changes.

3 Ways HR Technology Is Revolutionizing Recruiting

Recruiting is changing, fast. These three trends are responsible for much of the disruption in the space.

  1. Crunching Prior Applications to Surface the “Best” Candidates

One of the technology-enabled recruiting trends Daily Invest identifies involves evaluating or rating archived applications. Amazon designed its own application rating program that looked at every application the retail and hosting giant received in 10 years — way too many for its human HR staff to look through. The idea was to look for patterns that would help Amazon hire the best possible candidates in the future.

What seemed like a good idea turned out to be anything but. Because most Amazon employees and a clear majority of managers were men, the program concluded that male candidates were always preferable to women. In other words, it was hopelessly and fatally biased. Amazon quickly shut it down for obvious reasons.

  1. Automated, Multi-Organization Application Flow Programs

Some HR automation tools, like onboarding software that completes important new hire tasks before the first day of work, are welcome in a business with lots of “busy work.” 

Others have technical or ethical limitations, like application management programs that exhibit some of the same biases as Amazon’s internal tool. AI gets more sophisticated every day, yet there’s still a risk that generalized algorithms using broad keywords or arbitrary experience criteria will fall short in identifying the best candidates for specific roles at specific companies.

  1. Face and Voice Recognition and “Evaluation” 

Face and voice “evaluation” is a promising but clearly problematic aspect of the emerging HR tech suite. Developers market these tools as confidence-boosters for hiring managers that can identify highly competent candidates that might not look the best on paper. It’s easy to imagine being built into and reinforced by these tools.

5 Things Employers and HR Professionals Can Do to Stay Ahead of the Game

What can employers and HR professionals do to adapt to the changes rocking the recruiting game and stay one step ahead of their competitors, who are eager to hire the best and brightest in their fields? These five measures need to be part of their strategy moving forward.

  1. Actively Work to Identify and Correct Recruiting Bias

This is an important early step for all employers and recruiters to take. We all have biases, whether we acknowledge them (or are even aware of them) or not. Internal training and continuing professional education can help control them.

  1. Hire Nationally and Make Location Independence a Feature, Not a Bug

One positive aspect of recruiting technology is its potential to tap into a truly national or global talent pool. This was once impossible for smaller organizations without the resources to hire across state and national boundaries; a similar story can be seen in choosing the best stocks for a portfolio using freely available technology. But it will require a shift in thinking from “old school” employers, and specifically an embrace of location-independent work.

  1. Stop Looking for “Purple Unicorn” Candidates

The labor market is tight at the moment. This makes it more important than ever for employers to stop looking for the best of the best, or what SHRM calls “purple unicorn” job candidates. Recruiting technology might help you find higher-quality candidates faster, but when your competitors have the same advantage, does it really make sense to put all your efforts into hiring them?

  1. Shift to Focus on Retention, Not Just Recruitment

Preventing good workers from leaving is a better use of your resources than constantly hiring new workers to fight the churn. It’s less expensive too.

  1. Give Humans Veto Power Over the Algorithms

Finally, give your human recruiters veto power over algorithms and their biases. At the very least, let experience and gut feelings break “ties” that find your HR team at odds with its tech tools.

Buckle Up: Change Is Coming

Okay, let’s be honest. Change isn’t only coming to the recruiting business. It’s already here. In the near future, it’ll become impossible for HR professionals and their bosses to ignore.

They can start by implementing the five measures we’ve discussed here but should have no illusions that this is all that’s necessary to adapt to the coming HR paradigm. What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning, a preview of the main event. Recruiters need to buckle up and prepare for what’s coming — or prepare to be left behind.