Talent acquisition: How software-led processes are improving the experience

Charles Hipps believes that the right technology is key to streamlining – and democratising –  the talent acquisition process. 

With the race for talent intensifying, recruiters are feeling the pressure to increase velocity and win the hearts and minds of qualified early talent candidates sooner – be this through an intern program or a more dedicated college recruiting exercise. 

The fear is clear that a poor and inefficient recruiting process risks affecting candidate quality. More importantly for recruiters, getting it wrong leads to extended administration time and duplication of effort, not to mention mistakes, including good candidates being missed. This process stretches all the way to the onboarding stage to complete the hiring cycle and get a candidate prepped to be an employee.

Millennials and in some countries Generation Z are shaping up to be the largest workforce ever and the largest living generations. Millions of them have already joined the workforce, and, currently, they make up an astonishing 36% of it. By the year 2025, three out of four workers will be millennials.

Hiring new talent is gruelling

It’s because this talent pool is so large that the battle to secure a position as an apprentice, intern or a freshly qualified college student is gruelling. For recruiters, the hiring process, which is very different to other talent acquisition activities, has never been so overwhelming. Building a pipeline of college talent for internships and entry-level positions takes a tremendous amount of work including: 

  • Hosting information sessions, workshops, along with attending career fairs — campus recruiters attend more than 150 live events per year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and Institute of Student Employers (ISE).
  • Vetting the mountains of CVs, then tracking, assessing and managing candidates – NACE & the ISE estimate that every job posting generates an average of 250 resumes!
  • Coordinating interviews and offer decisions for large groups of candidates, while working with a myriad of alumni school team members within a company – compared with the typical scenario of just one hiring manager for the rest of talent acquisition.

As if all that pressure on recruiters is not enough, they are vying for candidates from a generation that is less focused on work as a top priority, less concerned about salaries when considering a job, less likely to stay in a job for more than two years, and more focused on training and advancement than their previous generations of college graduates.

When it comes to determining which candidates might catch the eyes of many, current recruiting processes are imperfect, elitist and exclusionary.

These candidates are also prone to getting frustrated by the amount of time it takes to receive an offer after their initial application and the lack of communication during their journey.

Intelligent blind recruitment can ease this pain

Top recruiters might receive over 150,000 applications a year and rising from a mixture of core and non-core schools and not have time to sift fairly. Employers can first screen for the components they determine as most important to be a good fit for a business (67% of companies polled recently by NACE/ISE admit to screening candidates by their grade for example).

Once they have whittled down the applicant lists, intelligent blind sifting can ease this pressure helping to instantly and automatically review all applications globally and flag up to 33% of all candidates they will end up extending an offer to.

In so doing, it is possible to free up significant amounts of recruiter resource each year – time which could be spent on adapting better engagement techniques to ensure a leading candidate with many offers at their disposal is more likely to buy into the culture, mission and vision of the firm.

Automated recruiting to identify the best intern and college talent using blind sifting like this is essential to democratising the identification of great fits for any organisation. When it comes to determining which candidates might catch the eyes of many, current recruiting processes are imperfect, elitist and exclusionary.

These concerns make it important that recruiters consider new ways to attract people from all backgrounds. To do this, there is a need to ensure that nothing in the recruitment process puts up barriers that prevent the best talent from joining a firm. Blind recruitment can be a platform to achieving this.

Good application tracking systems can help recruiters to work in this way. Under blind recruitment, the personal information that will be concealed, during the sifting phase, are:

  • age
  • title
  • first name
  • last name
  • preferred first name
  • employee number
  • candidate email address
  • address details
  • telephone numbers
  • nationality details
  • immigration details

By removing the candidate’s name and other personal information, such as their nationality or the university they attended, an employer can ensure that people will be judged on merit and not on their background, race or gender.

This also has the potential to widen the spread of candidates and open up talent pools to diverse groups of talent, thereby avoiding with challenges around elitism. The technology can automatically flag to a recruiter, candidates that have all the key indicators of success they’re looking for, but that didn’t get a qualification from the likes of Russell Group campuses.

All of this is done by simply using digital transformation to replicate collective decision making, which in turn reduces the influence of bias by individuals or processes.

Harnessing the potential means you’re not just dismissing elitism theories but you’re also identifying & quantifying any historic bias reducing the potential for new bias in future decision making.  It means you can mitigate the influence of disparate impact and focus on just winning great hires.

Fail to engage with millennials at your own peril

But that’s just the start. The recruiting and hiring process is now one that doesn’t stop when a candidate is offered a job – it’s a fluid process that’s undefined, meaning recruiters must create opportunities for candidate conversation, curiosity and research long before a job opening becomes available where they fit the bill. 

Recruiters that are planning for and attending so many on-site events or vetting piles of resumes, can easily lead to communicating with students falling by the wayside or ending up last on the list of priorities. Whether it’s time delays, poor communication with applicants, or a bad online user experience,  recruiters risk losing qualified candidates. As recruits are left in the dark, they consider other offers.

The only way of seizing the mantle to ease these pains is to focus on better candidate engagement in a digital era that demands continuous interaction. Recruitment marketing is the new norm. Providing relevant content at key moments of candidate receptivity can help to build trust.

It also demonstrates an understanding of candidate needs via personalisation. This can be achieved by amplifying existing marketing content with contextual placements. For example, you can maximise existing career site real estate in a cost-effective way.

At every stage of the process good automation will facilitate two-way conversations so that candidates can give feedback on what they think of the process, and receive feedback in return. The aim is to help them in their career regardless of whether they are hired or not.

Rather than the elongated manual processes some recruiters still have embedded, the race is on to expedite processes and keep candidates better engaged to better match the high-touch process of finding, evaluating, and landing talent, which is more likely to simplify processes and increase hiring velocity.

Essentially, by alleviating the administrative burdens of recruiters, you are better able to personalise processes and interact more frequently with highly sought after qualified candidates in warm, authentic and meaningful ways such as including others involved in the recruiting process and updating candidates on the status of their application or sharing results from an assessment.

Part two of this feature will be published next week.


About the author

Charles Hipps is founder, CEO and Chairman of Oleeo.


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