Job Seekers Are Frustrated With Automated Recruiting

Automation is putting off job applicants

Aliah D. Wright By Aliah D. Wright August 25, 2017

A new report reveals that 82 percent of job seekers are frustrated with an overly automated recruiting experience.

That's especially true for candidates who apply for jobs online and never hear back from potential employers about the status of their applications.

Randstad US, one of the largest national staffing and HR service organizations based in Atlanta, released the report in August. About 1,200 respondents from the U.S. were surveyed. While most candidates found value in technology, they said they are frustrated when it supplants the human aspect of the recruiting process.

The report also found:

  • 95 percent said technology should be used to assist the recruiting experience, not replace it.
  • 87 percent said technology has made looking for a job more impersonal.
  • 82 percent said the ideal interaction with a company is one where innovative technologies are used behind the scenes and come second to personal, human interaction.

"The findings reinforce what we've believed for quite some time, that successful talent acquisition lies at the intersection of technology and human touch," said Randstad North America CEO Linda Galipeau, who is based in Atlanta. "If done correctly, the right combination of personal interaction with the power of today's intelligent machines can create an experience that is inherently more human."

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Artificial intelligence (AI) programs may help improve the candidate experience, said William Tincup, SHRM-SCP, an expert on recruiting technology and president of recruitment media company RecruitingDaily.

For example, "recruiters are horrible at letting candidates know where they are in the recruiting process," he said. "AI will make it so that feedback is consistently given."

Too much technology with too few recruiters has hurt the process, said Dave Marko, managing director, On-Demand Analytics Solutions and Information Management for Acumen Solutions in Washington, D.C. Increasing automation without increasing staff creates an imbalance "that forces people to be less personable."

Every touch point that an organization has with candidates is significant, he said. "The goal is to increase candidates. But with all the technology, there's not enough [recruiters] to make that human connection."

Recruiters need to be better at blending new technologies with a human touch, experts say. Traditional recruiting methods can make a difference.

"I think certainly being highly responsive" helps, said Pete Lamson, CEO of JazzHR, a recruiting software company based in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. "Respond back. It reflects back on the employer's brand."

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Recruiting Internally and Externally]

Reputation Matters

"Employers today and in the future will be judged by the experience they create for prospective new hires," said Galipeau. "Job candidates are empowered to provide instant feedback on employers, rating a company's candidate experience just as they would rate a movie. In a tightening labor market, companies cannot afford to lose potential talent due to a poor hiring experience. And in a technology-driven world of talent, it's not only about how a company markets itself but what others say about the company that has a positive impact on employer branding."

Jerome Ternynck, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based recruiting firm SmartRecruiters, called for recruiters to bring back more one-one-one interaction with candidates. The emergence of the applicant tracking system (ATS) has "turned what is essentially a social activity of meeting people into an automated activity," he said. "Recruitment is social, and we have to make it social again"—even if it's just making sure recruiters add personal notes to their communications with candidates or that a company has a portal so applicants can see and track the status of their applications. Better technology might facilitate better relationships.

"You cannot provide a good candidate experience with a bad ATS," he said. Legacy ATSs were designed 20 years ago to turn paper applications into online web forms. "They were never designed for interaction. Start with a great candidate experience and make candidates feel welcome."

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