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How far is too far when modernising your recruitment process?

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

The recruitment industry is changing fast, and digital innovation has a large part to play. New developments have altered the way hiring teams advertise vacancies, identify talent and interview Candidates. To lead from the front, it’s important to keep abreast of changes, integrating those which can help your business to have that competitive edge. Increasingly, Employers are needing to adapt to appeal to a generation of tech savvy millennials entering the workforce, but for some people, technology can be off-putting. So, how far is too far when it comes to modernising your recruitment process. Read on to find out why it’s important to strike a balance.

The online job search

These days, you’re in the minority if you don’t have a smartphone and this has affected the way people search for jobs - 86 per cent of jobseekers use their phone to look at vacancies and the same goes for social media. At least 79 per cent of Candidates use platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to research companies they’re interested in. In response, recruiters have also upped their activity online. It has become incredibly important to make sure your website, complete with job adverts, is optimised for the mobile phone. Companies are putting considerable effort into the way their brand appears on the internet – and rightly so. Putting a job posting on social media can increase the number of applications between 30 and 50 per cent. However, not everyone is online. If companies focus exclusively on the internet, they could be failing to consider other avenues. There are a wealth of options available, from company Employee referrals to offline advertising, networking events and job fairs. With 80 per cent of Employees stating that networking has been key to their career success, recruiters should remember the importance of face-to-face meetings when it comes to searching for Candidates.

Video interviews

Companies are embracing video interviewing.  More than 63 per cent of HR managers use this method when hiring. Video interviews are a great way to connect with remote Candidates, making the process more accessible. You can see the benefits when you look at organisations like the Post Office, who used this method to review 500 Candidates in two weeks for the first stage of its Temporary Christmas staff drive. As this example shows, video interviews can be a valuable way of reducing shortlists before calling in top performers for a face-to-face chat. However, while some Candidates are comfortable on-screen, others dislike the idea of applying for a job in this way. In some sectors, the ability to present yourself confidently is a must-have, but you should be aware that you may be limiting the talent pool you have to choose from. To avoid this, be open to offering alternatives, such as a phone call. Managers should remember that, on video, some Candidates come across better than others. Great presenters aren’t necessarily the best performers on the job. If a Candidate has an impressive CV, but doesn’t come across well on-screen, it might be worth meeting them in-person.

Using blind CVs

Diversity is a current buzz word in recruitment, and blind CVs are often touted as one way of making sure that you’re removing subconscious bias. The idea is that by taking out details such as ethnicity, sexuality and educational background, HR teams can make decisions based on qualifications and skills alone. When UK firm Ernst & Young introduced this policy, in a bid to avoid educational bias, they found that the number of Candidates from state schools rose by 10 per cent, but in not all cases have seen success. A trial in Australia aiming to reduce gender inequality found that blind CVs actually reduced the likelihood of women being shortlisted compared to men. As it is, this tactic only works at the initial stage of recruitment before hiring teams meet Candidates. It’s now common for managers to check up on potential Employees by viewing their profile online, a practice which somewhat nullifies the idea of a blind CV. There are also concerns that deleting personal details, such as a person’s hobbies, will mean that Employers can’t assess how people will fit in with organisational culture. To this end, blind CVs can only go so far. It’s clear that, if a company is serious about creating a diverse workforce, other initiatives such as staff training, are needed.

Choosing AI tools

Today, AI is used by professionals to guide much of the application and interview process, from writing job adverts, to scanning CVs and communicating with Candidates. Consumer goods company Unilever, for instance, has scrapped the CV and uses AI screening to assess people before they go through to interview. The company says this has increased diversity, resulted in a quicker hiring process and increased final acceptance offers. Technology definitely has its advantages, but to get the most out of AI, Employers should continue to focus on Candidate experience. Swedish recruiters have gone so far as to create a robot to carry out interviews, but how will this be viewed by potential Employees who are more likely to accept a job offer if they receive a warm welcome? Indeed, some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) - which ask people to complete a large form with numerous boxes - have been criticised for making the process timely, as well as inhuman. Some experts are concerned that AI is only as good as the programmer behind it. To quote American businessman Mark Cuban, “algorithms are a function, literally, of the people who write them. Whoever they are, whatever they are, that’s what you’re going to get.” If you decide to use AI, take the time to check the way in which Candidates are being filtered, and the experience you’re providing, to ensure you’re happy with the result and you’re not missing out on top talent.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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