Sector Report

Recruiting Tech Is Expanding, Unlike Recruiters’ Willingness to Use It

Studies show companies are struggling with implementing and enhancing hiring practices.

After years of advances in recruiting technology, it appears that progress has stagnated. “Not much has changed in the last year,” said Holger Mueller, an analyst with Constellation Research. While the technology itself continues to evolve, recruiters and talent managers aren’t adapting their hiring processes to take advantage, he said. “Best practices have not caught up to innovation.”

Predictive analytics, video interviewing, social media networking, automated chatbots, passive candidate pools and other technologies can all help companies speed their assessment process and make better, less-biased hires, but only if recruiters and hiring managers take full advantage of them, Mueller said.

Yet industry studies show a consistent disconnect between understanding the potential benefits of these tools and actually implementing them. Despite years of talking about the value of social networks for recruiting, only 28 percent of companies believe their use of social sourcing is “excellent,” according to Deloitte’s 2017 “Human Capital Management” report. And while video interviewing has been touted as a significant time saver, only 16 percent of candidates participated in any form of video interviewing in 2016, according to HireVue’s 2017 “Candidate Experience Research” report.

More concerning: The majority of executives say improving candidate experience is a top priority but only a third have taken steps to do anything about it, according to Aptitude Research Partners.

That’s not to say companies aren’t sampling some of these tools to wade through the initial deluge of applications, but they are still following a traditional “post and pray” approach to hiring when they should be rethinking every step in the process, Mueller said. That includes building internal talent depth charts to understand who on staff might be perfect for a job, tapping employees’ social networks to look for promising candidates, and writing more

specific job descriptions before ever posting to a job board. “It is not how it is done now but it should be,” he said.

There is room for improvement, and many tools to help recruiters get there.

Dan Shapero, vice president of talent solutions for LinkedIn, believes the industry is on the precipice of a new era in recruiting technology. “The last 10 years have been all about passive talent recruiting,” he said. “The next 10 years will be about intelligent recruiting.”

That requires greater use of artificial intelligence and algorithms to analyze existing talent data, more clearly defined characteristics of a good hire and automated tools that can identify signals suggesting talent might be open to recruiting based on their social media posts or changes in their online profiles.

Companies are also focused on making better use of internal and market data to narrow the potential candidate funnel at the front end, and to find stronger connections between candidates and culture fit, said David Mallon, vice president and analyst for Bersin by Deloitte. “Companies want to hire people who fit the company, not just the role,” he says.

The use of analytics-driven solutions — should they eventually be adopted — will shift the entire hiring environment, Shapero predicted. “Talent managers will spend less time on day-to-day recruiting activities, and more time acting as talent advisers, using data to support the broader talent management goals of the business.”

But to get there, companies still need to take the time to ensure the quality and consistency of their talent data, to integrate their talent management systems and to take advantage of the rich talent data sources that exist outside of company databases to improve their selection process.

“This is already being done informally, through employee referrals but we need to make it part of the formal recruiting process,” Mueller said. He predicts that the vendors who deliver solutions for harnessing existing data and social networks to transform the recruiting process companywide will be in the best position to thrive going forward. “It will happen, it’s just a matter of when,” he says.

Mallon warns that no one piece of software will solve the recruiting challenges that companies face today. “You have to be willing to do things differently before you can find technology to help you get there.”

Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in the Chicago area. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.