Article: Re-engineering the recruitment function

Talent Acquisition

Re-engineering the recruitment function

Why is there a gap in adopting new age practices like Social Media, Mobile, Analytics and Video as a mainstream idea in HR?
Re-engineering the recruitment function

In this era of technological advancements, where our mobile phones are the last things we check before we go off to sleep, how long is this age old war-like recruitment process going to hold us up?


For a number of decades now, the recruitment process has been pretty standard. Recruiters send out job descriptions, job requirements, candidates send in their CVs, CVs are shortlisted and the candidates are lined up for preliminary interview rounds. Then follows the testing phase, be it aptitude, psychological, IQ, EQ, etc. Followed by another round of what we call technical interview, HR interview and finally after the recruiters have interviewed over a 100 candidates for 1 job vacancy, they select a candidate and the process is over.

The sole candidate has won the battle, fair and square!

I have witnessed this phenomenon and heard such war stories from my counterparts, victory stories and heartfelt losses from older generations and now the same resonates from the younger generations.

Today, recruitment is highly dependent on the resumes submitted by the candidate. Companies are using the Applicant Tracking System to shortlist candidates. ATS largely shortlists candidates based on the keywords from the job description and matching the same with their CVs. Among the candidates, the desperate ones update their resume based on the job description, thereby outsmarting the ATS while the passive job seekers which many times include the best candidates for the role are ignored. According to job search services provider, Preptel, applicant tracking systems are extremely error prone and they kill over 75% of the candidate’s chances of landing an interview as soon as they submit their resume. But why are these systems still used, despite all its flaws?  According to Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes, “The average number of job applicants for any given job is 118 and only 20% actually make it for an interview.” The applicant tracking systems helps largely in narrowing the 118 to a 24, sharpening the funnel but at what cost?

Unfortunately in terms of the recruitment process, this is where the innovation largely ends.

Some of the proactive HR folks I know have gone a step further and are using online testing tools to validate the candidate a little more. Companies conduct ability tests, personality tests, psychometric tests online making it more convenient for the candidate and finding better means to have a sharpened funnel of right candidates.

But apart from this, where is the innovation really? In this era of technological advancements, where our mobile phones are the last things we check before we go off to sleep, how long is this age old war-like recruitment process going to hold us up? Why is there a gap in adopting new age practices like Social Media, Mobile, Analytics and Video as a mainstream idea in HR? Many businesses have planned and implemented SMAC as a part of their business strategy but unfortunately in many cases HR has lagged behind in even considering it.  

Millennials today are all about doing meaningful work and long term career planning. The paycheck and other benefits are not the only factors that attract an employee towards a particular employer. As an employer you if do not have what the prospective employee needs or wants; well, they may just put up something of their own that accommodates their personal requirements. Not only do recruiters today have to compete amongst themselves to hire the best talent, but they also need to compete with the entrepreneurial spirit of the millenials.

For the millenials, no longer does the company hold all the cards to hire talent. So, as recruiters, what can you do?

Use Social Media: Social media today has changed the way business works. Similarly, it can be used to change the way recruitment works. “Social recruiting” is the new term out in the market. Millenials are an internet raised generation. A survey by Inc indicated that over 66.7% of the first time job seekers look for their jobs online. According to a 2013 study social media is being used by 94% of companies and these companies have reported a 49 percent improvement in candidate quality through this type of recruiting. Those recruiters who have not stepped into this bandwagon need to do so as soon as possible and must make utmost use of social media to engage with the young talent pool. Share success stories of employees. Let prospective employees engage with current employees. Let the potential candidate know everything about the company, its culture, its products and services. In a survey conducted by the undercover recruiter, the results showed that 1 out of every 3 millenials rated social media freedom a higher priority than salary. Need I stress more on the weight of social media in the recruitment and retention of talent?

Employer Branding: According to a research by Inc, 85% of recruiters believe that employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to hire. Millenials, today want to know how they and their work impacts not only the company, but also the world. They want to know all about how the company treats its employees, the company’s culture and work environment. The company culture has to be portrayed as it is to the potentials. There is no working around it anymore. The millenials do not like what they see, they simply quit. Over 43% of the respondents surveyed by the undercover recruiter mentioned that they are confident they will find a new job if they lost or left the current one. It has become essential for the companies to continue selling themselves to the candidates. It is easier to hire a person who wants to work for the company.

Use latest technology tools/medium like Video: Business dynamics are changing. The employer demands and expectations are changing, so is that of the candidate/applicant. As part of an organization, the human resource management team must be able to adapt with the changing dynamics. Today, over 67% of the YouTube users are millenials. However, only 19% of the hiring managers are actually using Video as a medium for job interviews. Why does such a difference exist when technology can make the recruitment process simpler?  Candidates are already comfortable with these mediums as they use these tools in their regular communication, it is time recruiters leverage technologies like asynchronous interviews, video proctored written assessments and live interview engaging with candidates.

Use of Mobile technologies: Beyond all this, what can we do to actually take the recruitment process onto the fingertips of the candidates? Over 66% of the internet browsing is done on smart-phone devices today. 1 billion jobs are searched for every month on mobile devices. However, hardly 20% of the companies have a mobile optimized website and a meager three percent have a mobile application. Companies are enormously lagging behind in terms of mobile technology, which is where a huge talent pool can be accessed. We have the passive candidates, the active candidates, and the busiest candidate all browsing their phones and that’s the right place to catch them. Mobile adoption can help the busiest candidate answer questions using a mobile device, thereby not letting the recruiter miss out on anybody. It helps making the job interview itself portable, just as the application. Not only does it make applying for the job so much more convenient, but also helps improve the overall candidate experience.

What’s in it for the recruiter? Recruiters can work on the go. Mobile optimization will help them evaluate and shortlist candidates without having to actually work from their cubicle. They have a larger scope of receiving applications from various candidates, many who they have missed out if they were to not resort to smart-phone devices.

No strategy works alone. Be it social media, mobile optimization, employer branding. They all work hand in hand. Being active on social media and being mobile friendly, will help you build your brand and improve candidate experience.

There is an old saying, ‘Time and tide wait for no one’ - one we have learnt since school days. We can now add technology to the list. Technology is changing the way business functions every second of the day. It is high time that recruitment process adapts to these changes in technology.

Disclaimer: This is a contributed post. The statements, opinions and data contained are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of People Matters and the editor(s).

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, #Social Media

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