Technology and Recruitment - Cracking the Code to Attracting Talent

By Swati Thakur August 7, 2019

Article based on a Fireside chat between Sashi Kumar, Managing Director of Indeed and Atul Sahgal, VP - Talent Acquisition at Infosys SHRM HR Tech APAC 2019 on the intersection of technology and recruitment, and its implications for organizations like Infosys. They discussed the extent to which technology can and is pushing the boundaries in talent acquisition, and the pressing need to strike the right balance between humans and machines. Here are the key insights from this Fireside Chat.

HR and recruitment have seen major changes in the last decade mainly owing to the development and evolution of HR Tech, and the IT sector in India has especially seen a drastic technology-led transformation in HR and recruitment. One of the key areas has been in applicant-tracking software.

The Blackhole phenomenon in recruitment

When jobseekers apply for a job, their applications often disappear and they do not hear back from the company. This is known as the black hole phenomenon. India produces several hundred thousand engineers each year, however their employability is low. "If we look at it from the recruiter's point of view, it is difficult to proactively reach out to every candidate to tell them the application has been received or that there is no matching job. With the number of job seekers significantly growing in India, the recruiting industry needs to scale up and gear up to deal with these numbers. We must go back to every single applicant who is interested in and has applied to the organization," says Atul.

Nabisco (manufacturer of Oreo Cookies) has a policy of replying to every single job applicant. They do so because everyone consumes their cookies regardless of whether they get the job or not.

Infosys also believes in the same philosophy. Each day close to 5,000 job seekers apply for jobs at Infosys and not every application is relevant. However, they believe that the applicant is important, as they become brand ambassadors and can refer other candidates if they have a positive experience.

Technological innovations in the recruitment space

"The cost per hire has reached its lowest in the history of Infosys through the adoption of technology," says Atul. He believes that they can bring down cost per hire by another 20% without compromising on quality and candidate experience through technology such as:

  • Automated screening, which enables accurate screening and shortlisting of large volumes of applications
  • Automated interviewing, where the candidate answers questions online and responses are recorded and evaluated manually when there is a need. The responses can also be evaluated instantly through automation, and the list of candidates is presented according to the ratings.

Will automated interviewing and other HR Tech make recruiters irrelevant?

Atul Sahgal strongly believes that there is a future for recruiters. Technology is an enabler that will remove unproductive, time-consuming, monotonous tasks and enable them to focus on qualitative tasks.

By saving time and effort recruiters are able to spend more time on employer brand building. "Recruiters will be in a strategic position to collaborate effectively with the IT and HR teams to build a strong employer brand and craft enhanced and seamless candidate experiences," says Atul.

Why is employer brand building important in India?

Despite having a wide choice of candidates in India, it is critical for employers to hire the best talent with the right organizational fit, which only a strong and unique employer brand enables. The organization needs to be effectively marketed by showing candidates how working in the organization is good for their careers. Several organizations in India are actively building and enhancing their employer brand to convert passive candidates into active candidates.

Leveraging technology for effective brand building and attracting the right talent   

At 40%, employee referrals are the largest sourcing channel in India with over 70% applications coming through that channel. Atul believes that "referrals will be high only if employees are actively engaged and have a positive experience working in the organization.  Existing employees are also excellent brand ambassadors."

Infosys uses an HR App to improve the EX and strengthen the employer brand. Employees can referrals candidates anytime, anywhere. They can also seamlessly raise requests to HR through the App without logging in to their PCs or laptops.   

Analytics on the App have also helped reduce the dependence on paper reports. Atul has a team of 110 employees. Using the app his team can generate real-time reports online. "They can walk into business meetings with just the app in hand and share the reports by simply sending the link," adds Atul.

Organizations used to control the brand narrative until about five years ago. Today, social media and online review sites are influencing recruitment as well. Organizations must accept all feedback and reviews, including those found online, and take corrective action. "These kinds of reviews definitely create an impact with thousands of people building their perception out of it. So, we must take the feedback and come back with a renewed strategy," shares Atul.

Here are 3 key things for companies to keep in mind when hiring in great volumes in 2019 and beyond, according to Atul:

  1. Accept that technological changes are going to happen and embrace these changes.
  2. Keep it plain and simple. Identify and understand what your process is and be compliant.
  3. There is no one-stop-shop. You need to evaluate multiple products, identify those that suit your needs best and stitch a solution around your priorities as the only two options are to either change your process or customize the product.

Swati Thakur works as Associate - Advisory Services, SHRM India



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