Recruiting Technology: Help or Hindrance?

HR managers and recruiters both understand that applicants are spending most of their time looking at job boards like Indeed® and CareerBuilder®. Additionally, applicants are interested in specific companies and spend their time on those companies’ career websites.

Interestingly, the Recruiting Best Practices for 2016 (Recruiting Survey), conducted by the HR Daily Advisor®and sponsored by SilkRoad, found that 75.1 percent of the respondents said they use their company website to find recruits, and 32.9 percent said the company website was one of the most successful online recruiting tools.

Help or Hindrance?

Technology has certainly streamlined recruiting. Most companies have career websites where candidates can search open positions, learn more about the company, and submit an application. Along with filling out the company’s application form online, applicants can attach a resume in electronic form and submit a cover letter, too. These systems can capture applicant tracking information and send automatic email acknowledgments to applicants and rejection letters to the unsuccessful applicants after a hiring decision is made.

But there’s a problem with some automated solutions: They often ignore the candidate experience and can turn off top candidates before the company has a chance to reel them in.

For instance, some companies require any applicant to complete the full employment application online first. Systems may be slow to move from one page to the next, and if applicants click on the wrong button, their work may be lost. Some systems allow applicants to include a resume only after they have typed all of the information into the application form and then by cutting and pasting the resume to a template so that formatting is lost. The same may apply to cover letters.

Use of Online Recruiting Resources

The more things change in the world of recruiting and hiring, the more things stay the same (in some ways). While recruiting has largely gone online, the vast majority of employers are still using low-tech methods. According to the 2016 Recruiting Survey, respondents are using employee referrals (74.8 percent), word of mouth (60.9 percent), job fairs (45.4 percent), print ads (43.8 percent), and staffing firms (35.5 percent).

The majority, however, are using online resources, such as the company website (75.1 percent), job boards like Monster® and CareerBuilder® (69.8 percent), online communities like LinkedIn (50.7 percent), social media (37.1 percent), and state or federal employment services job boards (31.8 percent).

The most important thing to remember is that “one size does not fit all.” When deciding what resources to use, it’s important to first understand the requirements of the job, the key skills, and experience needed for someone to be successful in the job. Once this is done, the employer can consider the resources that will find the best candidates.

Tending to Relationships

When recruiting for highly specialized jobs requiring unique skillsets, a targeted and creative approach is necessary. Making a wide sweep of job boards, for instance, may result in a large number of unqualified applicants and take up valuable time. For these jobs, personal contacts and time spent building a pool of qualified applicants may be the best way to go.

This means that before a vacancy occurs, recruiters need to identify potential employees and cultivate a relationship with them. In addition, recruiters need to have relationships with colleges, universities, relevant professional associations, and other places where superior, qualified applicants can be sourced.

Kelli Dingee, an expert on digital recruitment and engagement, notes the importance of knowing where potential employees spend their free time. For instance, she generally doesn’t find Facebook to be a great place for recruiting, but in one city, for certain types of tech employees, there is an active Facebook page that she has used with success.

Social Media Works Both Ways

Jobseekers have been inundated with advice about creating a positive online presence. Companies need to keep tabs on their online presence as well. The company needs to effectively sell itself not only to customers but also to potential employees and even current employees.

Employers need to maintain social media accounts where they can post career opportunities, share company updates, publish industry trends, and generally present themselves as a great place to work. While new sites can pop up any time, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the main ones to focus on right now.

Employers also need to regularly review what is being said about them on social media by checking websites that collect comments from employees and former employees. Some of these sites may be “trash” sites, but they are helpful in knowing what people are saying.