It is fascinating to see how technology has influenced the way recruitment is done today. Imagine if you were a recruiter in the 1970s or 80s, and, your boss asked you to sound out that sales manager opening. The possibilities before you were ads in print media, employee referrals, or, maybe someone known in a closed network. Phones were rare and internet was not yet publicly available, so the concept of telephonic or virtual interviews was simply non-existent. Tough would be but a mere understatement!
Come the 90s, and, we started getting some local candidate databases. The phone infra had improved, and hence some interviews could be managed on phone. Though it was tough, it was far better than how it was a decade ago.
The turn of the twenty first century yielded some good news. Easily accessible candidate databases improved a recruiter’s life. Mobile phones were pretty much in everyone’s hands, and thus, even the candidates were accessible. Things were beginning to move more briskly. Searches began to fetch a long list of candidates, giving organisations several options to choose from. The latter part of the 2000s also saw the advent of video conferencing, thus bringing in greater efficiency.
Cut to the 2010s, and mobiles have transformed into smartphones. The swelling databases have offered recruiters with a choice before choosing candidates. Candidates on the other hand are accessible through multiple channels – phones, social media, videos. Most importantly, this is in an era where people have started talking about the next big disruption by delegating a part of the hiring process to bots/algorithms that can identify, and screen out potential candidates from a large set of possibilities. Technologies like AI, blockchain are being explored and experimented to remove glitches in hiring, making it faster and accurate at the same time. Therefore, it is up to us to imagine what we would like to witness in the next decade viz. the 2020s. While the journey thus far has indicated that technology has already transformed the hiring landscape in a positive direction, hiring remains to be a perennial problem for organisations.
Putting the house in order
Before we approach external factors such as the availability of talent pool or the right compensation, it is important to keep the house in order. It starts by acknowledging the fact that hiring in an organisation involves multiple internal stakeholders exchanging information at different stages. The success of hiring is dependent on the coordinated and timely action of all these players. Industries such as banking are making use of Business Process Management (BPM) to solve the problem by using solutions that drive adherence, timeliness, and accountability in processes. The availability of several BPM solutions has made it important to identify the one which is right since certain applications offer only partial features, leading to organisations hoarding several such hiring related tools and applications. Fully integrated solutions that solve the challenges holistically and yet simple to use are therefore the best bet for any organisation.
1. Information Asymmetry
Then comes the talent pool/market at large. Search entails going through a large number of candidates using the defined job specifications. However, the problem with such a search is that it may not comprehensively cover the entire talent pool owing to the prevalent information asymmetry. The demand for a particular kind of talent may not have reached those sections of the supply talent pool. There is nothing which attempts to reduce this asymmetry. Technology should be able to leverage the digital networks and ensure that the demand is disseminated to the talent market uniformly. Some job boards and recruitment marketplaces address it to some extent, however, there is scope for more innovation and new models are coming up to address this problem.
In Quotes “Technology should be able to leverage the digital networks and ensure that the demand is disseminated to the talent market uniformly. Some job boards and recruitment marketplaces address it to some extent, however, there is scope for more innovation and new models are coming up to address this problem.”
2. Clearing up the underbelly
While technology has provided solutions to various problems, it has also introduced newer ones. Technology has provided an avenue for various practices that have allowed people to play with the system. E.g. Rigging the CVs to get through the initial screening. With increasing electronic searching and limited reference-based hiring, the rigging of CVs have increased in the recent years. And, this is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The good news, however, is that we can utilise technology to find a way through such clutter. E.g. Experts are discussing how blockchain technology can be applied to solve this problem. Blockchain technology is the driving force behind various crypto-currencies like bitcoin. At the simplest level, blockchain can be viewed as a block of data that stores data/information (in the current context – CVs) which has been validated by several people. Since the data is validated, the credibility of information is very high, and, it is virtually impossible to forge or manipulate any record. Similar principles are being applied to validate CVs.
3. Data Intelligence
Organisations are sitting on top of a data goldmine which can be leveraged to draw out valuable hiring related insights. However, very few companies have the right tools and technology to make sense of the data. The nearly infinite computing power available today has virtually brought to life the long-discussed technologies of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. These are already making inroads into the recruitment industry with algorithms helping recruiters to identify the best fit on the basis of large data accumulated by organisations over the years.
4. Disrupting cost
In the last two decades, all key sectors/areas have experienced a major cost disruption which can be attributed to technology. E.g. Mobile data and voice. Voice and data today cost a fraction of what they used to cost a couple of decades ago. However, the recruitment industry has not had the luxury of witnessing any disruption of such nature. In fact, the cost of hiring has actually increased, while newer technology tools are being launched almost every day. And, none of these tools have been able to drive down the cost of hiring. The next few years should see innovative tech and business models evolving to help organisations hire in a more cost-effective manner.
The biggest challenge to the widespread use of technology in hiring is user adoption. History tells us that while technologies eventually develop, technology adoption is immensely hard to achieve. The recruitment ecosystem will need to evolve and mature to embrace technology, and, this in itself may turn out to be a bigger challenge than the very development of the technology. CHROs and HR leaders need to drive this change in the teams. There is a difference in knowing the path and actually walking the path. While everyone acknowledges the importance of making use of technology, there are very few progressive organisations where every team member is excited, and is willing to make their life easier by using technology. The hiring value chain has several challenges. There are several products in the market to solve problems in the hiring value chain. However, very few of them look at the problem holistically and offer a one-stop solution.
Key considerations while evaluating hiring technology are: -
1. Simplicity/Usability: Simple, easy to use solutions not only render tasks easier, they also drive adoption.
2. Cost Effective: Wide availability of products at different price points requires that one compare the features available in these products.
3.Integration: An important aspect of modern day tech products is the ability to integrate with other products which makes the solutions more comprehensive and usable.
Hiring technology is in a very exciting phase with newer concepts, innovative products and business models. However, the success of such tech applications is in the hands of the users who need to open up and look for ways to get better at what they do.
In Quotes “Hiring technology is in a very exciting phase with newer concepts, innovative products and business models. However, the success of such tech applications is in the hands of the users who need to open up and look for ways to get better at what they do.”
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