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How Managers Can Embrace Automation In HR

Are you ready for programmatic? In a recent Paycor survey conducted by Harris Poll, hiring managers said they believe technology will shift toward automation in a big way by 2022.

And it's already happening. Recruiters agree; they're embracing automation, and they're confident that it will help them work more efficiently.

The rise of automated processes in talent acquisition revolves around efficiency. It will help you focus more on candidates. With the candidate-centric hiring climate, it couldn't have come at a better time.

Data-Driven Recruitment in a People-Focused Industry

It can be a bit of a conundrum. Recruiters and HR professionals tend to have amazing people skills, but they're swimming in increasingly important data. The more focus is placed on data; the less can be devoted to people. But the less focus that's placed on data, the more important metrics can slip past.

It's a balancing act.

Jennifer Kim, talent coach at Mission Driven, writes on LinkedIn that many recruiters would prefer to avoid data, metrics, and reports but that's becoming more of a challenge.

To be competitive, you need the benefits of technology that others are using. Tech and people skills are very different, but recruiters and HR need a way to manage both. Applicant Tracking Systems were a good step, but they're not as dynamic as they need to be.

Kim says the solution to a people-focused industry isn't to avoid technology, but to find better tools than the ones you may already use. In another LinkedIn article, she says, ''It's close to impossible to give your best to every single touch point with a candidate if you're spread too thin..." Automation helps avoid that.

Recruiters and HR Tend to Want the Benefits of Automation

For busier recruiters and HR personnel, the volume of data is overwhelming. VentureBeat says the number of applications and interviews ''generates an absurd amount of data,'' which has to be processed. But humans aren't as efficient at it as technology.

According to the 2017 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report, recruiters and HR think automation will produce better results in less time, and most of them are happy to give it a shot.

Here are a few recruiter stats from the report:

  • 43 percent of recruiters surveyed think automation will improve their jobs
  • 7 percent think it could make their job worse
  • 56 percent of recruiters over the age of 50 think automation is a good thing
  • 49 percent of Millennial recruiters agree
  • 49 percent of tech recruiters have a positive outlook on AI/automation

Artificial intelligence and automation can handle data with ease because that's what it's designed to do.

Some technology aspects operate similarly to the way Netflix works, says VentureBeat. But instead of getting a movie recommendation that's based on data analytics, you get a better and more predictable job candidate type without personally drowning in data.

Automation handles that part for you. You can focus more on your talent pipeline because you know that your technology can handle its job.

Automation is Always Working for You

Automation is always on the job, and it never needs vacation time. That means no matter when you work, you always have the benefit of the most up-to-date material at your disposal.

Your talent acquisition pipeline is a living thing, which means it never stops, either. Automation can connect with great candidates on your behalf with that important first contact. Maybe it could be an SMS message at the right time, which results in a great candidate for the pipeline. Once they're there, you can take over with personal interaction to engage those new candidates.

For that matter, your job ad placement could also stay on the clock. Automation lets you take advantage of the most current data when it's available, which produces better results. Machine learning helps it perform better every day.

That's not a job threat -- it's much-needed support.

Talent Acquisition is Still Evolving

Many people in talent acquisition-55 percent-think no jobs are in jeopardy through automation, says JobVite. The concerns grow when survey respondents were asked to look toward the future. About 22 percent expressed concerns that automation might replace them. But that's not the direction technology is heading.

Hiring, says JobVite, ''must evolve.'' It's still a full-employment economy. There's still job growth, and recruiters still compete for top talent. The thing is, technology isn't what candidates remember. What resonates with them is the personal connection. Automation frees you to give more of that.

When asked if they believe they need to change the way that they work, 72 percent of recruiters agreed. Most said routine or mundane tasks take too much time. Their skills would be better used for developing and implementing new, candidate-centric strategies. They're eager to ditch monotonous tasks and get down to business with improving human interaction.

Related:  Artificial Intelligence: A Game-Changer for the Recruitment Process

Recruiters in finance held the strongest opinion, with 80 percent sharing the belief that they need to change their approach. In professional services, 66 percent agreed and said that automation is the solution.

Recruiters and HR Have Strong Opinions About Where Automation is Needed

How much more could you accomplish in a day with mundane tasks off your plate? You wouldn't let automation take over a personal phone call with a job candidate. But you'd probably welcome automation that can analyze complex data sets. About 96 percent of talent professionals agree.

Here's what some recruiters had to say about it in the Paycor survey:

  • 47 percent of businesses will rely more heavily on data in the next five years
  • Talent professionals want more ''small data,'' which are the useful chunks of information that technology can draw from big data
  • 48 percent believe data-focused technology will handle ''many core functions.''
  • 82 percent agree that HR will become more focused on soft skills
  • Many believe that technology will help them develop ''people-centric models'' for recruiting and retention, which enables a more hands-on approach for implementing improvements in both areas
  • Many also believe that by 2022, technology will help HR gain the freedom to focus on training, development, morale, and retention

According to the Recruiter Nation report, talent professionals talked about where they wanted automation to take over:

  • Background checks
  • Reference checks
  • Data acquisition
  • Metrics analysis
  • Interview scheduling

There's Plenty to be Gained From Automation Right Now

While many in the talent industry still see automation in maturity a few years away, there are plenty of benefits to embracing it now. One of the most important is the competition element.

With the candidates you'd most like to hire already in an employment situation, you need every angle possible to find them, capture their attention and tempt them with something better. The more great people you have in the pipeline, the better. Automation technology that's data-based helps you accomplish it.

Your people skills are only as beneficial as the candidates you find to connect with. You can spend time sourcing, or you can let automation do that for you. Automated technology gets a better match because it's based on data, the stuff you'd probably rather avoid. The Recruiter Nation report revealed that most recruiters would welcome an automated candidate sourcing process, too.

As far back as 2012, Smashfly talked about the potential for automation insourcing. It has changed dramatically since then.

Technology can now source candidates more intelligently than with a mere keyword search. It's a deeper and more specialized dive now based on data.

Data-based sourcing can identify candidates on the usual factors, such as basic qualifications, education, years of experience and whether or not their social media profiles send up any red flags. But it can also capture much more subtle nuances that help a candidate fit the organization.

Beyond standard sourcing, hiring managers can get a better job ad match with automation in real time. Real-time job matching finds the shortest and most efficient path between an employer and a job candidate. Programmatic job distribution is a fully-automated job campaign management system that zeroes in on the candidates you most want to hire. You don't have to know that they're there, technology will know, and it will take the right action on your behalf.

Automated matching might not be what you think it is. It's not a dressed up keyword search. Real-time job matching works in two directions.

It uses self-learning technology to compare and contrast job candidates and employers with each other. It tends to source a candidate match that's 14 times more likely to apply for the job in question, and that you're much more likely to hire.

That's candidate sourcing on a whole different, automated level.

Automation is still blooming. But the longer you wait to find your groove, the more of your fantastic people skills you'll keep on hold. Now is the time to take automation into the talent acquisition fold. The sooner you do, the sooner you can peel away the layers of tedious work and use the best of your skills where they'll be the most beneficial: connecting with people.

 

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Carole Oldroyd

Carole Oldroyd is a writer and graphic artist living in East Tennessee. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, LegalZoom, and numerous other magazines, websites and blogs. When she isn’t writing, she can be found restoring her historic Victorian home piece by piece.

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