While technology was already becoming more widely used during the recruitment process before the pandemic, since 2020, its use has been ramped up significantly. In 2021, those involved in talent acquisition and recruitment are turning more often to technology solutions like artificial intelligence (AI), video interviews, and Zoom interactions than ever before. That represents both opportunities and challenges.
Opportunities Through Technology for Recruiting
Automating the hiring process can save significant time for organizations, including HR/recruiting professionals and hiring managers. AI, for instance, can be used to evaluate and screen applicants—not just their application documents but also video interviews.
Automation also saves money for companies that might have previously paid for applicants in remote geographies to come in for face-to-face interviews. Increasingly, these interactions have been defaulting to the online environment during COVID-19, demonstrating that this may be a viable option long after the virus has passed.
Another emerging opportunity for employers is the ability to think differently about the recruitment pool they draw from. If it’s not necessary for employees to work out of a physical setting, they could be based literally anywhere around the world. This provides organizations with new opportunities to recruit, especially when seeking highly skilled employees for hard-to-recruit positions who may not be available or interested in working on-site.
However, automation does present some challenges, as well.
Challenges to Be Aware Of
While automation can be a boon for recruiters and HR professionals, it does represent some challenges.
As Jon Hill, Chairman and CEO of The Energists, an executive search and recruiting firm, points out, “AI can be very useful for HR departments looking for ways to streamline their hiring process but in many cases it adds an unintended bias into the hiring process. One common example would be screening based on education or over-weighting the rank preference for certain degrees.” This, he says, can impact applicants’ ability to get fair consideration, even if they’re better qualified for the position based on skill sets and knowledge than the degree-holders who do get an interview.
Another challenge: assessing candidates’ soft skills in a virtual environment. Rachel Neill, CEO and Cofounder of Madison, Wisconsin-based talent acquisition firm Carex Consulting Group, says that on video, problem-solving skills aren’t always apparent. Yet, recruiters can still screen for this skill by asking questions like “Can you provide an example of a recent technical or software challenge you had and how you solved it?” for instance. It’s a matter of carefully considering what soft skills are important and how to frame online questions and interactions to best assess these skills.
Recruiting is definitely different today than it was just a year ago. The new environment is offering both opportunities and challenges for employers. But one thing is clear: Technology is offering the ability to both streamline and broaden the talent acquisition process.