Article: Can technology mitigate the challenges in recruitment?


Can technology mitigate the challenges in recruitment?

There may be lack of transparency in the understanding of the goals of the organization for the year and recruiting may not be completely aligned from the strategy to the hiring plan. This leads to many challenges. Does technology really solve these problems?
Can technology mitigate the challenges in recruitment?

The first set of challenges begin when inputs from the recruiting function are not considered during the organization planning and budgeting for the year. There may be lack of transparency in the understanding of the goals of the organization for the year and recruiting may not be completely aligned with the strategy to the hiring plan.

Recruiting requires an integrated approach

Operating as a silo, a recruiting agency may not even have done research and data collection (including the availability of such skills as talent heat map, current salary levels etc.) on the needs of the organization through the year and historical data will always have a conflict with the operating leadership and budgets thereof.

External factors might include the following - changes in technology, changes in laws unemployment rates, shifts in population, shifts in urban, suburban and rural areas and competition.

Once the forecasting data are gathered and analyzed, the HR professional can see where gaps exist and then begin to recruit individuals with the right skills, education, and backgrounds. This leads to recruitment strategy and the hiring plan.

Inaccurate job analysis leads to inaccurate job descriptions and this leads to a lot of time wasted in sourcing inaccurate candidates to finally realize that a revision in the job description becomes inevitable to meet the business requirement. Video job descriptions help in communicating strongly the relevant asks. 


The law of the land including the immigration restrictions need to be factored in as part of the planning and recruitment strategy. There would be other demographic requirements of the job and also a responsibility to offer an equal opportunity that would comprise the framework. These are usually not considered important enough by management and they realize the price of non-compliance and resistance/protest by the community at large hurt the brand eventually.

Executive Search without an accurate brief leads to exposing the company to non-targeted communities and affecting candidate experience.

A not clearly laid out budget for recruiting becomes a hindrance in utilizing the appropriate channels for various types of hiring needs of the year viz. Executive Search firms, temporary staffing, corporate recruiters, campus recruiting, website, social media, hiring events, specific interest groups (including professional associations) and employee referrals. All channels have an impact on cost per hire.

Screening – the largest time consumer

The choice of social media, the communities where the roles are published and the form of posting (look and feel) directly result in the effectiveness of a number of relevant applicants from this channel.

The hardest part of recruitment is screening candidates from a large applicant pool. Filtering tools which are extended offerings by a job board provider and database aggregator do increase the productivity. 

Unqualified resumes directly impact time taken for screening resumes. The “Great on Paper but not in reality” challenge has plagued recruitment productivity for past three decades. Recruiter too should know well on the job requirement as much as business and spend a couple of hours with business/floor.

A lot of recruiters primarily rely on keyword searches which are inefficient resulting in too many False Positives. Candidates are known to resort to keyword stuffing to ensure their resumes come up in recruiter searches and even False Negatives, viz., candidates might slip through the cracks because exact keywords were missing on a resume.

Some automation by way of Interactive Voice Response systems can help a basic level of filtering. 

Gaps in the selection stage

The next steps include the selection criteria development for applicant screening, interviewing, test administration and making the offer.

Lack of a robust Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can result in non-availability of preparation notes for the interviewer, job details, resume and a scorecard for her/him to record their assessment and ratings. 

Use of test administration could be on an Automated Online System, involving technical or non-technical aids in increasing objectivity and removing bias in the overall assessment of talent. Assessments bring down interviewing time and also allow for Hackathons and coding platforms to improve targeting the right aspirants. 

Running assessments without validating business relevance also lead to a lot of wasted time and resources. There is a range of assessments that can help choose specific topics, custom questions and custom design of delivery of questions – random, quiz, essay type, voice, video, computer program etc.

Interviewing practices

Lack of clear instructions in interview coordination leading to non-preparation by the interviewee can lead to poor candidate experience and delayed cycles of completion of assessments.

Non-availability of panels is now a very prominent observation in many organizations. Having outsourced pool of interviewers is a handy solution at least for the initial level of screening, if not for advanced levels. There are automated platforms for interviewing available for one-way and two-way interviewing that can include questions from a question bank presented randomly to candidates by a BOT. Candidate responses are collected including tracking the keystrokes used by the candidate to track plagiarism. BOT assistance can help get started with questions from Compensation expectation, relocation etc. and save recruiter time.

 Video interviews are the next generation platforms that allow virtual interviews, where a reviewer can watch the entire interview or skip excerpts of various sections of the interview to save time and decide to shortlist candidates – again, interviewers here could be outsourced to save on the bandwidth of the employer.

Not clearly defined interview panels being used for specific competencies and levels of positions for which the interviewing is happening can result in inaccurate candidate assessment and a poor experience for both the interviewer and the interviewee; viz. a junior resource interviewing for a much senior role.


Using social media signals to track behavior pattern of the applicants, their areas of interests by observing the subject/topics that they are consuming or contributing to aids in the assessment process. In fact, there are service providers who are mining a range of patterns on the social footprints of professionals and using the filtering criteria are able to offer targeted messaging of career opportunities resulting in a higher conversion of talent – more so with passive talent and for niche roles.

Glassdoor and other social platforms are popular references for candidates to learn about a new employer. 

Generally, cognitive bias is a feature affecting hiring the right resource for the right role. Bias affects diversity in hiring as well. Interviewers want to hire candidates from their own colleges, their own branch of disciplines, people who are known in their network and who are coming with certain specific technical skill or regions etc. 

Training on breaking bias is a global solution and advanced organizations are tracking strike rates of the interviewers and the final outcomes of selection and thereof rating the consistency of interviewers and pulling them off for lack of it or providing them more training to align them to increase their consistency in assessments. 

Effective Candidate Management and Experience can be guaranteed by automating hiring status update and to keep the candidate informed and updated and measuring candidate experience at every stage of the process.

While favouring automation, don’t forget the importance of basic human interaction and emotional intelligence. The balance between innovative technologies and human interaction is a delicate one to achieve.

Extending an offer

Not making a clean offer is another challenge that impacts the offered to joiner ratio in many an organization. 

Utilizing automation and templates and standardization practices on compensation design, job titles, pay ranges by way of benchmarked surveys and following the rigors of sign-offs from diverse functions viz. finance and business are ways of mitigating that risk.

Besides, communicating a clear offer as a follow up of extending an offer and getting a sign-off on the understanding of the offer by the selected candidate is a key best practice in removing surprises.

Pre-Onboarding engagement

Engaging candidates who accept offers between their acceptance date and joining date – also called the notice period that the candidate needs to serve his current employer is a great practice.

Some of the pre-onboarding engagement can be automated by way of sending them anniversary greetings, finding some of their social preferences, providing latest news happenings from the company in the form of alerts, getting candidates to input their details and advance documentation procedures all add up to the pre-onboarding experience.

Submission of their employment and academic documents for background verification by way of using online tools is also another form of increasing the probability of the candidate joining the company.

Know more about such trends at the People Matters Talent Acquisition League Annual Conference 2018 on 30th May which will seek to address the most poignant talent acquisition challenges, what’s next in TA, and how AI and machines are becoming matchmakers for recruiters today.

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Topics: Recruitment, Talent Acquisition, Technology, #TAL2018

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