The Robots Are Already Here: How Automation Will Shake Up Recruiting

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 8, 2018
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Jon Bischke, founder and CEO of Entelo.

​People have been talking about automating recruiting tasks and workflows for years, but recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are starting to make that talk reality.

These technologies allow talent acquisition teams to automate processes that they previously performed manually, eliminating inefficiencies and boosting productivity.

Recruiting automation can be found at all stages of the hiring process, from candidate sourcing and engagement, through scheduling and interviewing, to final selection.

Jon Bischke, the founder and CEO of Entelo, a San Francisco-based social sourcing and job-matching platform, discussed with SHRM Online how automation will change recruiters' jobs, the downsides to the technology and the long-term impact for talent acquisition.

Entelo is hosting a summit on recruiting automation June 13-14 in San Francisco.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

SHRM Online: How will recruiting automation change the day-to-day for recruiters?

Bischke: As the talent acquisition industry begins adopting recruiting automation, we see recruiters getting the much-needed time back in their days to think creatively and strategically. I've never met a recruiter who told me they got into this business because they like the manual work involved. But today, recruiters are spending a significant portion of their time doing manual, tedious tasks that take them away from the more human parts of the job like engaging with candidates. Sourcing alone requires recruiters to spend hours diving down various rabbit holes to put together a complete picture of what a candidate has to offer.

Imagine a team has to fill five positions by the end of the quarter. Using traditional methods, each recruiter will spend approximately a third of their work week manually sourcing candidates. That breaks down to nearly 170 hours of manual sourcing, per recruiter per quarter. Recruiting automation technology can decrease that time to about 30 minutes per week, or six and a half hours per recruiter per quarter. This means your recruiters will have more than 12 hours a week back which they can spend strategizing to get the high-quality talent your company needs in the door. Recruiting automation technologies are also intelligent enough to uphold quality control, only surfacing and engaging candidates that match search criteria, meaning the quality of hire is in many cases improved.

SHRM Online: How difficult will these tools be to adopt for less tech-savvy recruiters?

Bischke: Whether tech companies are developing products for consumers or businesses, it's absolutely vital that those products are intuitive to use, or they will have a difficult time garnering a user base. Recruiting automation tools shouldn't be viewed as a hurdle but rather as a helping hand to make hiring practices easier and more effective, and they should be as easy to use as your average social media platform.

I predict recruiting automation will be a common practice in five years or less, similar to sales automation and marketing automation. Marketing teams today would never dream of sending individual e-mails each time a lead took an action on a landing page, nor would sales reps manually track the progression of their prospects through the sales funnel. Soon, recruiters will consider automation tools a need to have, not a nice to have.

SHRM Online: Are there any downsides to recruiting automation?

Bischke: Automation works best when used to augment the work of people, not replace it. AI and humans working in tandem have already proven successful in the medical industry, where psychiatrists can better help their patients using apps that can detect declines in mental health and physicians can get assistance detecting cancer with advanced screening technology. This has proven true over and over in other industries, but the downside is that those who will fail with automation will be the ones who rely on it to do the things people are better at than computers. Recruiting automation tools aren't designed to be robo-recruiters that take over the role of a recruiting team by having conversations with candidates or getting to know them. Recruiting automation produces the best results when it is used to automate tasks that are better done by computers, and allows room for humans to do the work better suited for them.

SHRM Online: What are the long-term impacts of these technologies?

Bischke: There will be a new emphasis on hiring and retaining high-quality, strategic recruiters. Because so many of the more manual tasks will be taken care of by recruiting automation tools, recruiters will have the opportunity to drive impact through relationship building and their deep understanding of nuance. Ensuring that you have the talent that brings the human element of recruiting to the table will be the key to your company's success.


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