Since early 2000s business process automation (BPA) has penetrated one sphere after another. As a result of this, corporate managers started facing a new big issue: before, they had concerns about their business processes being imperfect, and now they're concerned that their business processes aren't aligned with modern technologies at all and, thus, they're lagging behind other market players.

These concerns have finally reached HR and recruiting, with more in-house departments and staffing agencies realizing the benefits that technology can present. In this blog post we'll explore how BPA can help streamline online recruitment and significantly improve business HR function.

At first, let's review the main challenges facing today's recruiters across their main tasks:

Gather job requirements and create job descriptions

All technical recruiters are bombarded with client requests such as "get me a super cool programmer!" While it seems obvious what needs being done to find a programmer, it's really hard to understand what is meant by "super cool". Therefore, to get a clearer picture about the role sought, recruiters have to interview clients or internal PMs / IT leaders about skills and other job requirements and create compelling job descriptions to throw their nets wide and catch more fish.

Process definition

Every professional recruiter knows that each job opening requires own process of candidate screening and selection. Besides standard steps such as candidate search, preliminary selection, interview, background / reference check (aka vetting), there're specific processes recruiters can take advantage of. Advanced technology knowledge or soft skills assessment for a programmer or special cognitive and attention tests for a QA engineer are just some of the examples of specific recruiting processes. And it's up to a recruiter to determine what additional steps should be made to verify the candidate and avoid making false negative or false positive decisions.

Candidate search

It's a classical problem of any recruiter. To find an appropriate candidate, recruiters search for resumes online, post job announcements in social networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook, search within their professional networks, apply headhunting for high-profile positions, outbid competitors and use other non-trivial methods. Finding a true stellar candidate is a very big challenge regardless of the industry vertical.

Screening

This is a #1 problem for many recruiters. Screening implies scanning resumes for keywords and key phrases, selecting those who match job search criteria, calling them up to check their overall adequacy and inviting for the first round of interviews. Given some recruiters receive up to 300 applications for one position per day, this mechanical work can be a nightmare!

Interview planning and scheduling

In this step recruiters have to synch schedules of many people to be involved in an interview. This task requires attentiveness to avoid overlaps and make sure each interviewer is ready and knows time of their interview. It's just another seemingly no-brainer task that is very important indeed! A human error can result in messed up schedules and dissatisfied managers and job seekers.

Candidate assessment

Today, recruiters have a huge variety of tools to use for candidate assessment, from checklists to apps designed specifically to facilitate and manage this task. However, recruiters are challenged to find the most appropriate tool for handling this task in the most efficient way.

Progress tracking

One of the most typical issues recruiters are facing today is the absence of a comprehensive monitoring of a recruiting process and, as a result, their inability to predict to the search result or change job requirements in a timely manner. A typical comment recruiters provide in their CRM notes reads as follows: "Search is still in progress. I had two candidates, called them up but couldn't reach any, then I found 3 more, could only reach one, invited for the interview, all candidates were rejected."

Many HR teams and staffing agencies have already automated their online recruiting processes. Implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) allows organizations to keep track of and monitor job applicants across all hiring stages: from job opening view in a social network to application to interview to job proposal. It helps recruiters better understand what channels deliver best matching candidates and where to invest more.

Let's say your ATS data show that your potential candidates are "larks". It'll make more sense and be more effective if you plan your job ads or a job fair for morning hours.

Machine learning algorithms are able to support hiring decision making and other HR functions. They can prompt recruiters to which candidate to hire, whom to promote, who can potentially resign next month and how much it'll cost the company. All recommendations are based entirely on data gathered by ATS and machine learning algorithms.

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Human factor

There were times when job ads were put on pillars and building walls and took ages to bring in a candidate. Then Monster appeared and disrupted recruiter's job by facilitating communication between a job seeker and a potential employer.

But what could disrupt recruiter's job today, in 2016? A neurointerface that would deliver vacancies straight to potential candidates' brain, I guess. And this innovation is evolving slowly yet steadily.

Social networks as recruiter's tools

In the past 5 years headhunting has become so complicated that recruiters have to not only look for and attract talent, but also make friends with them, motivate and retain.

"The war for talent is over and the talent won" Josh Bersin (@Josh_Bersin), Corporate Talent, HR, and Learning Analyst

All those methods that work well for maintaining positive client - provider relationship are actually applicable to modern recruiting where your brand and corporate culture act as a service and job seekers are perceived as clients. This brings the role of business communication to the forefront and social networks are a great tool to initiate and manage it.

According to Intersog HR estimates, recruiters who don't use social media channels for talent acquisition lose up to 70% of connections they could make use of.

Using social media monitoring tools, recruiters can better attain their headhunting goals. Let's say you've been trying to entice a guru employed by your competitor to join your company for a while with no success (they're fully happy with the current job or just don't want to change anything in their life). All of a sudden, you get a system alert saying that your sought-after candidate has just complained about his job or employer in Facebook. Smart recruiters will use this information to reach out to the candidate and propose a job once again. This time, the chance is high that the offended or under-estimated specialist will give you a positive answer.

"Uberization" of recruiting approaches

Today, more portals emerge where freelance or indie recruiters can work directly with corporate clients and make money (sort of Uber for drivers). Client sets its own price for a recruiting assignment, recruiters apply, client chooses one or several executors and the chosen recruiters start working on the vacancy. Up to 5 recruiters can be working on the same request and the one who hires candidates faster than the others or whose candidate passes a trial period successfully (it's up to the client to decide) gets a fee. All documentation and transactions are stored and managed within the system to ensure data privacy and no scam. This model significantly simplifies client - recruiter relationships, as both parties don't have to sign any additional agreements or memos. Accepting service terms and conditions would suffice!

This model adds more clarity to recruiting and is better than traditional (or offline) recruiting because:

  • it eliminates endless cold calls and junk mail
  • several recruiters can be working on the same vacancy, which increases the chance of finding a matching candidate and closing a vacancy faster than traditional staffing agencies (faster time to hire)
  • it removes bureaucracy from recruiting

Uberization can definitely kill traditional small agencies, but this will only happen if such HR marketplaces are able to protect recruiters from unfair clients and online fraud. Otherwise they won't be able to completely replace traditional staffing agencies, according to Intersog COO Kate Goldberg. Also, uberization of recruiting will be great for mass hires when no in-depth background, reference and skill checks are required (e.g. building a team of junior specialists with little or no experience in subject matter).

"Of course, many HR and recruiting processes are already fully automated, but far not all," says Kate Goldberg. "Most resumes we find on job portal and sites are still formatted as text or pdf, while modern tech allows for creating superb, beautiful and compelling video resumes. No secret that every employer cares about each employee's professional and interpersonal skills and video is a great format to better express yourself to the potential employer. While there're many video resume creation services out there, not all major job portals support such formats. The same applies to job candidates. In most cases they can only judge a potential employer by employee reviews on 3rd party sites, social media accounts and corporate websites. Brands should add more interaction to their job ads promotions and build virtual 3D tours or special web and mobile apps to make job application process easy and fun."

Take a look at an employee self-service app we built for the Michigan Catholic Conference!

Further, many organizations today are still missing electronic resume storage and management systems to keep track of every single resume they deal with. Many corporate HR departments are still using Excel spreadsheets as their resume databases. They don't gather any insights or stats about proportion of inbound vs outbound resumes or candidate pinging, nor do they measure other important KPIs. As a result, they waste a huge portion of their work.

While we can't imagine modern sales teams without CRMs and other automated tools like mass mail campaign builders, a lot of HR departments still work without any process automation. And that's a bummer!

Do you use recruiting automation in your organization? If yes, what are your favorite tools? If not, what's holding you back? Thanks in advance for your feedback!

 

Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to Business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other IT portals. You can contact him directly on LinkedIn.

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