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Why is a personal touch is important in recruitment?

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

We know that technology has had a massive impact on the way we communicate. A survey from Deloitte predicts that in the office, we’re seeing less phone conversations, texting and face-to-face meetings, combined with an increase in the use of work-based social media, instant messaging and collaboration platforms.

In recruitment, technology is also changing the way companies engage with potential Employees. It’s become incredibly important for hiring teams to provide the best Candidate experience and to streamline interview processes so that companies don’t miss out on the opportunity to hire top talent. Therefore, we’re seeing a growing trend towards using AI-powered tools, applicant tracking systems and video interviews – to name a few of the many options available on the market.

There’s no doubt that all of these can be incredibly useful. To give you an example, business services company Pitney Bowes, hit the headlines after introducing a chatbot to aid the pre-selection process, helping them to reduce the time to fill positions by 10 per cent. Introducing AI in the early stages of recruiting can particularly advantageous when managers need to hire in high volumes.

That said, human skills and technology should always work hand in hand. Both of these things are valuable if used appropriately, at the right stage. It’s true that, given the increase in new technologies, recruiting is becoming more targeted and data driven, but we’re a long way off automating the recruitment process entirely. Now that we have so many technological options, it’s important to remember that hiring is as much about the people as the process.

Our Clients and Candidates tell us that one of the best things about us is our ability to listen, to understand what they’re looking for and find the best match based on skills and experience, as well the ability to adjust to each place’s unique office culture. Being able to do this, and to meet face-to-face is still incredibly beneficial for us and for the people we work with.

In some respects, technology can be used to provide a human touch. During a busy hiring time, a chatbot could be used to provide timely response to Candidates, giving them quick, easy answers to their questions. However, this only goes so far, and must be used appropriately. A blanket approach, which relies too heavily on these methods, can be risky.

As a business, we know that Candidates and Clients value face-to-face meetings. Research shows that the latest cohort of workers, Generation Z, actually prefers this – despite the fact that these Employees are incredibly tech-savvy. Meeting people in-person helps you to build a relationship with them as a recruiter or a potential Employer, it keeps them engaged in the process and demonstrates commitment. After all, if someone has taken time out of their day to see you, you’re less likely to see ‘ghosting’, a new phenomenon where applicants  mysteriously disappear later down the line.

We put much of our success as a recruitment agency down to the relationships we’re able to build with people. It’s great to see a Candidate we’ve placed come back to us for hiring advice as a Client. Whether it’s sending a good luck card to someone on their first day in their new job, or a thoughtful present to say congratulations on your new office, these small gestures help people to remember you, they show that you care about them personally, as well as professionally.

In today’s job market, when many Employers are facing a talent skills shortage, the personal touch is more important than ever. To attract top Candidates to your business, take the time to sell the many opportunities you can offer them in-person. There are so many things that a face-to-face meeting can offer, which an on-screen message can’t, from body language to tone of voice. Giving potential Employees the chance to meet the team, view the working environment and see your enthusiasm for the company in-person will create far more of an impression.

At Allen Associates, we have a wealth of information and experience to bring to the table. To get the most out of this, we do our very best to ensure that Candidates and Clients meet us face-to-face. After all, a CV only goes so far and human interaction will provide so much more useful information for a job search. How many times have you forgotten to mention something until prompted by a question in conversation? These small details can sometimes be crucial for successful placements.

Of course, to remain competitive, every business has to adapt. Now more than ever, companies need to keep abreast of new technologies, scanning the market and testing software which may give them a competitive advantage. However, you also need to find the balance that’s right for you, for the jobs you handle and for the people you communicate with on a daily basis.

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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