Survey: Recruiters Not So Worried About Automation

Hiring managers are biggest obstacle in hiring process, ‘cash is king’ when closing candidates

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer November 16, 2017
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​Talent acquisition professionals feel largely optimistic about the changes automation will bring to hiring, despite the many headlines painting doomsday scenarios, according to Jobvite's 2017 Recruiter Nation Report.

The survey of 831 recruiters in the United States reveals their thoughts on the practice of recruiting, including how to close the perfect candidate and dealing with bottlenecks in the process, among other challenges and trends.

About half of recruiters (49 percent) take a positive view of the advent of automation and artificial intelligence when it comes to the impact on their own jobs, with another 42 percent saying they are indifferent. Forty-three percent of surveyed recruiters believe that automation will make their own jobs better, compared to only 7 percent who believe their jobs will worsen.

Recruiters said they would most like to see interview scheduling, background and reference checks, metrics analysis, and sourcing become automated. They would least like to see the interview process, phone screenings and salary negotiations automated.

"Automation of the recruitment process will save time for recruiters, saving them from wading through the multitude of resumes that come in," said Jay Meschke, president of CBIZ Talent and Compensation Solutions, an executive recruiting and consulting firm based in Kansas City, Mo. "I'm a big believer that the human element cannot and should not be replaced when it comes to recruiting. The best and most sustainable organizations of the future will train their recruiters in the art and science of interviewing. They will not fall prey to relying upon a data point used as a litmus test measure of a candidate's worth or value."

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Dealing with the Hiring Process

Over half of respondents (56 percent) said that the biggest slowdown in the recruitment process is caused by hiring managers delaying their feedback and their decisions on moving candidates through various hiring stages. Forty-three percent said hiring managers take too long to review resumes, and 25 percent said that they've witnessed candidates being forced to sit through interviews lasting four hours or more.

"Hiring managers are ultimately influenced by the business environment," said Katie Gechijian, a consultant at Reveal Global Intelligence, a recruitment firm in Charlotte, N.C. "Recruiters often want to personalize the issue and think it's about them, but they should keep in mind that hiring is a business decision, and not just about that one hire, but how that person will fit into the organizational growth plan. If the organization is not ready to make that hire, submitting the most perfect candidate won't speed things up."

Closing Candidates

Once recruiters narrow in on the right candidate, they find that traditional benefits and offering more money work better than trendy perks to close the deal.

"Base salary is still what people focus on," Meschke said. "We've gotten more informed questions about a wide range of benefits than we used to, but at the end of the day cash is king."

Increasing a candidate's salary offer ups the chances of an acceptance, but salary negotiations can also kill the deal. Half of recruiters reported feeling negatively toward candidates who negotiate the initial offer, and it led to 17 percent deciding not to offer the job.

Recruiters ranked medical and dental coverage (69 percent), a 401(k) (56 percent), and flexible work hours (56 percent) as most effective in attracting new candidates.

"Younger workers are starting to understand there is more than just salary," Meschke said. "Some companies are starting to translate the total rewards value of the job at the offer stage."

An open-floor office design (32 percent), free snacks (31 percent) and being pet-friendly (29 percent) were listed as the most overhyped perks, according to respondents.

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