Just listen to any “old-timer” – say, someone who was recruiting 20 years ago – and they’ll be quick to tell you how it used to be in the not-so-good-old days.
Paper resumes. File cabinets. Phone books. Rolodexes. Fax machines.
Recruiting technology has definitely improved and evolved your process.
However, it's possible to turn potential candidates off in an instant with something as simple as a poorly crafted message or one that feels too impersonal. The old adage “with great power comes great responsibility” can be applied to us as recruiters as well.
In some cases, we must make wise choices about when to take advantage of the powerful technology and automation solutions available to us – and when to take a more “old school” and personalized approach.
When technology and automation can be used for good:
1. Job postings and distribution. Just a few years ago, job seekers (mostly active candidates) had to wait until Sunday to view the Help Wanted ads in the local newspaper to find out about job opportunities.
Today, technology provides us with the opportunity to share job openings almost immediately, and in multiple places at one time. This increases the possibility that our job openings will be seen by more candidates who may be a match, as well as by passive candidates who may come across them through automated job notification feeds or while on social media. This is a win for both recruiters and job seekers!
2. Parsing data from resumes. Back in the day, recruiters — after waiting two or three days for paper resumes to arrive in the mail — often had to set aside a day or two to go through the resumes to make decisions about which candidates to put in the “yes” pile, and which ones to relegate to the “no” pile. This process lacked both objectivity and speed.
Today, using technology solutions, resumes can be quickly and objectively screened to ensure that neither bias nor the postal service add ambiguity and delays to the process of selecting the best candidates to evaluate for job opportunities. Once again, everybody wins!
While technology has changed so much about the recruiting process – often making it faster, more effective, and scalable – we must never forget that we’re dealing with humans. Humans aren’t machines, and humans make choices based off of feelings and emotions. Humans like to work with (and for) other humans that they know, like and trust.
Here are three times you need to get personal:
- Candidate responses. Respond to applicants to let them know their application was received – and inform them about the next steps in the process/expected timing. Sure, this step can be automated, but it can still be personal. And the fact that your company does this – when most do not – will set you apart.
- Emails. Personalize email communications with candidates – and let them know why you’re reaching out to them specifically. Many active and passive candidates are turned off by mass emails, and they’re exponentially more likely to respond to a personalized approach – even if it’s to say “thanks, but no thanks.”
- Contact info. Once you’ve interacted with someone (pre-screen, in-person interview, and so on), make sure that they have contact information where they can reach a real person to get information or ask questions – even if their question is to check on their status in the process.
Technology is the gift that keeps on giving for recruiters, and it has definitely improved the recruiting and hiring processes for all involved. But I encourage you to take some advice from this “old-timer”: The best recruiters will always be those who understand the importance of connecting and engaging with candidates early and often in the process.