Just because a recruiting function can be automated doesn’t mean it should be, according to a 2015 survey of 1,400 employers and 13,000 candidates by Allegis Group® Inc. Although the benefits of using technology to automate hiring functions are clear — like a wider audience for hiring organizations or easier navigation of the application process for job candidates — organizations must carefully evaluate the positive and negative impacts of embracing technological improvements and shortcuts.

It may seem as if automation offers only benefits; more candidates, faster response times and the benefit of having searchable, easily organized digital files, for instance.

But the best recruiting processes, the survey shows, emphasize the “human” in “human resources.” Hiring managers, recruiters and candidates all must communicate in-person at times to ensure the new hire is a great fit and a successful employee.

Here is how hiring organizations responded in the survey:

  • 71 percent say the recruitment process has become more automated
  • 60 percent say they have encountered unintended consequences or drawbacks because of the increased use of technology in the recruiting process
    • 54 percent claim more difficulty in judging culture fit
    • 46 percent claim more difficulty in judging skill fit
    • 33 percent say that their recruitment process was actually slower due to automation
While technology will continue to improve and evolve recruitment practices, like with automation, it can create new challenges. Leaders recognize that technology must be used advisedly and that face to face communication should never be fully replaced, since there is information and context that only presents itself in human contact.

Jillian Dregalla, an Aerotek recruiting expert who has years of experience in professional recruiting and training agrees. “We are in the business of people, not products, so losing that human element with automation can take away the critical relationship building needed in a business partner, and negatively affect the customer experience. The business we offer will impact people’s lives and careers — providing education on the market, resume feedback, interview coaching — and those things are not possible through automated solutions.”

When technology is the answer

The recruiting process often requires parsing large amounts of data: job descriptions, job posting locations, response rates and applicant data. Imagine trying to sort through even just 100 resumes and cataloging their information for comparison. Automation helps hiring managers to easily measure and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), service level agreements (SLAs) and reporting.

Job boards and applicant tracking systems (ATS) are important tools that streamline the process. “At Aerotek, our applicant tracking system can provide exceptional speed-to-market delivery of great candidates for positions because of how it is automated and organized,” notes Dregalla. “We are able to automatically match candidates with potential careers as a function within the database and we can easily identify candidates who have successfully worked at our clients before and received great recommendations so we can put them to work quickly.”

Talent acquisition leaders should take a close look at the technology tools used within the organization to make sure each tool is contributing to recruitment goals. Compare how many tools are available for specific tasks and consider minimizing the number to achieve a more consistent hiring process.

When person-to-person communication should be used

Human contact is still crucial for significant events and transactions during the hiring lifecycle. Always use person-to-person communication to qualify new requirements, discuss HR hiring challenges or hiring manager rejection trends and to provide interview feedback to candidates. Overreliance on automation can have a negative impact on relationships because of the lack of the human touch when handling the more delicate components of the hiring process.”

Top recruiters are mindful of the challenges as well as the benefits of using technology solutions. By using the tools strategically, they can save their organizations time and money. But they also remember to leverage the benefits of face-to-face communication when appropriate to achieve the best outcomes.

Want to know more? Check back next week for Part 3 of 5, or access a white paper with the full results of the survey.