Hiring a new employee is both a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Recruiters say the amount it costs to bring in a new employee is at an all-time high in the midst of a very tight job market. And completing that search can take an average of 32 to 68 days, depending on the job level.
A new generation of automated recruiting software has emerged to help talent acquisition professionals save time and money when seeking the ideal hire. However, the software doesn't fully automate the process and can create new headaches for recruiters.
Before your company invests in a new recruiting software, it's important to consider the pros and cons, as well as why it's still crucial to emphasize the human touch.
There Are Many Pros
"Good recruiting software helps keep recruiters and HR teams organized, especially when dealing with high-volume hiring," said Natalie Fell, an HR professional in Philadelphia. "It also helps you track a candidate throughout the hiring process, which allows you to stay on top of communication."
Leveraging software to manage the basic aspects of recruiting is a time-tested strategy, and with software evolving to take on more of the back-end tasks, it has become a core ingredient of the search process, said Bruce Martin, Boston-based global talent acquisition director at Emburse, an expense management company with 1,000 employees.
"It's most useful when integrated with an existing, stand-alone recruiting platform and/or an applicant tracking system," Martin added.
At Peterson Technology Partners, an IT staffing and recruiting firm in Chicago, recruiters utilize an artificial intelligence assistant that reviews and scores candidates and helps them identify the best applicants, said Nick Shah, founder and president, who oversees 300 employees.
"Recruiters can customize requisitions using multiple criteria—skills, experience, employment type—and the software will use metrics, such as skill strength, job title similarity and profile match, to rank candidates in order of suitability," he explained, adding that his team also leverages a mobile app that provides access from anywhere. The AI software's resume aggregator makes it simple to post requisitions, Shah said, and its technical assessment tool integrates with all assessment platforms.
Another benefit of selecting a recruiting platform that provides end-to-end solutions for common recruiting challenges is the time savings it provides, Shah noted. He said most recruiters, especially those in tech, need to review hundreds of resumes every day, sometimes for a single requisition.
"This can eat up hours of the recruiter's day, time that could be better spent on more important tasks," he said. "AI will review these resumes in a matter of seconds and help recruiters identify the best candidates with the highest skill and requirement match."
Additionally, good recruiting software will stay on top of candidate communication by scheduling interviews as candidates progress along the hiring chain.
"Hiring is an expensive process with many hidden costs, and a bad hire can set you back by thousands of dollars," Shah noted. "Using AI software will help companies avoid these costs by identifying best-in-class candidates from any given talent pool."
Consider the Cons
The biggest challenge with some automated recruiting software is that it doesn't integrate well with other systems, including a company's human resource information system (HRIS).
"[This] can cause headaches, especially when it comes to onboarding new hires," Fell said. But more importantly, automated recruiting software cannot be relied on for every aspect of the hiring process.
"Recruiting talent and bringing new people into an organization will always be a human-centric job," she added. "Trying to automate too much of this process can make a company seem cold and aloof, which could turn off top talent. While technological advancements have certainly helped streamline recruitment processes, HR teams shouldn't rely on it to replace human interactions."
Martin echoed a similar sentiment. "[The software] doesn't eliminate the interview process or the process of selecting the right candidate from a skills or culture fit standpoint," he said. "Candidates can appear to be perfect on paper but not a good fit [in person]."
Another concern is that automated recruiting software can make a mistake. "It may reject people on the basis of keywords used, favoring candidates familiar with the technology and able to optimize their resumes around those keywords," said Kendra Janevski, SHRM-SCP, director of HR at Vault Consulting in Washington, D.C.
"This bias can impede the recruitment of diverse talent, including those with nontraditional experiences and education, as well as those with international backgrounds," said Janevski, who manages 65 employees.
Remember the Human Touch
As much as automated recruiting software can accomplish, recruiters say it still has a long way to go to be completely efficient. In the meantime, it's critical for HR professionals to stay on top of the hiring process.
"We require contact and connection, and automation cannot replace that," Martin said. "Candidates feel more included, plus good mentally and emotionally, when we maintain the human element in the hiring process."
Janevski agreed that when recruiters get to know candidates, they often discover interesting things about them, such as unexpected hobbies or other information that lies outside the bounds of a conventional resume.
"Unless programmed to do so, machines scanning resumes won't appreciate this information," she said. "Human intervention is crucial to having a diverse pool of talent."
To improve upon the recruiting process, HR professionals should anonymize all candidate resumes before the resumes are shared with hiring managers, Janevski advised. To do this, remove all references to personal details, such as names and other identifiable information, which will reduce bias and ensure that recruiters focus on characteristics that are crucial for the job and culture fit, she said. Recruiters also should use software that allows them to override filters and includes a feature that helps write and manage job ads.
"Attracting good candidates starts with good ads and relies less on tracking," Janevski said. And even though it may require additional time and effort, it's worth looking briefly at every candidate resume.
"It should be a best practice to go through every applicant that applies to a position," Fell recommended, "just in case someone great falls through the cracks."
Kylie Ora Lobell is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.