Making Technology Part of a Recruiter’s Every Day Life
It was Bill Gates who famously said that the “advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don't really even notice it, so it's part of everyday life.”
This is so true now more than ever in the world of recruitment, where consultants are today spending more time in front of their tech stack than they are in front of their clients and candidates.
Is that wrong? In an industry built on the premise of human interaction?
I don’t believe it is.
Because what the right technology enables us to do is to ensure that those human interactions that our consultants do have with clients and candidates are simply better - more targeted, more specific, more effective – and that can only be a good thing for everyone involved.
First word of warning here – technology should enhance, not replace, the human interaction we have with our clients and candidates, so always be careful that what you end up building from a technological standpoint doesn’t dumb down the relationships we have with our customers, nor make our recruiters lazy.
The phone is still the best bit of tech in any recruiter’s toolkit!
Face to face meetings are still the best way to nurture relationships and do business!!
So, the question is not really one of should or shouldn’t we be a tech-heavy industry, or how much tech should we employ in our businesses. But instead, the question should focus around what technology will enhance each of the different components of the recruitment supply chain for both our recruiters (efficiency) as well as our clients and candidates (user experience).
This is less about reducing our technology spend, and more about maximising our technology ROI.
Decide what is essential and what is desirable, what is cosmetic and what is functional, what will create the biggest ROI… and prioritise accordingly.
My second word of warning - if you are on a journey of reviewing, defining, or even redefining, the technological make-up of your business (which I recommend you should be doing regularly to maintain the appropriate cadence) then don’t get distracted by the myriad of shiny new tech offerings in the market (we’ll come back to those shortly and I would be very happy to give anyone reading this an insider’s view to the various tech vendors and products out there).
Instead, start by breaking down your business into a series of workflows (from sourcing to account penetration, marketing to sales, front office to back office), that together make up your core operating model.
Draw out an end-to-end process map to understand each component of those workflows and how your business currently functions (and should function). Each component across each workflow should deliver a minimum output standard that you define, benchmark and improve continuously.
Each component should ensure your business is on a journey of continuous improvement (if you’re not familiar with the concept of Kaizen then go and check it out) and allows you to truly understand the intricate make-up of your business (how do you actually generate revenue and profit?), so things like…
- How do your customers like to engage with you?
- Where do you get the most success from?
- How should your consultants be sourcing and searching?
- What is not happening enough of in your business?
- How much time is spent on non-core / repetitive activities?
- How much wastage exists within your business currently?
- Where is that wastage?
This will present to you a series of Gaps (to reduce wastage) and Opportunities (to increase efficiencies and effectiveness) based on what you currently do. That’s a good start.
However, and I am coming on to my third warning now – be careful you don’t build your tech stack based just on what you do today. You need to take one very lengthy leap into tomorrow to define where your business is going and what it will need to be able to do when it gets there.
- What is happening in your market and how is it evolving?
- Is your offering progressing from just standard search and placement services into other service lines to maximise customer yield?
- Will you be expanding your delivery to other geographical territories?
- From one site or multiple sites?
- Will your internal org charts change (perhaps 360 to 180 / 120 models or offshore delivery)?
- Will your customers’ needs change?
- And so it goes on.
Recruitment businesses really need to understand the trajectory that both your market and your business is on and develop a tech stack that will be an enabler of that, not an anchor.
Looking into the Future
So, what excites me right now about technology and where I think it is going.
I am excited by the increased commitment of recruitment businesses to invest in technology that nurtures and puts their Data to use, internally to encourage both critical and curious thinking and externally to educate their customers (at a potential cost).
I am fascinated by the trajectory of the use of Video technology and how that will soon shift deeper into the world of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), where recruiters can give candidates immersive tours of potential new workplaces from the comfort of their local coffee shop, and employers can real time interview and assess candidates in virtual reality from anywhere in the world.
I like the idea of making the often gruelling process of searching and applying for jobs becoming more fun for jobseekers, so know Gamification will play a far bigger part in how recruiters attract, assess and engage talent in the future.
I am in love with Automation and how it can improve the efficiency, consistency and speed of how a recruiter works to allow them to spend more time in front of clients and candidates, doing the human thing.
I am intrigued by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) and the part they could play in reducing bias and discrimination throughout the screening process.
I am cautiously fascinated by the emergence now of Intelligent (Smart) spaces where our homes, our offices, that local coffee shop are becoming increasingly connected, allowing work to be done on demand anytime, anywhere.
But overall, I am really excited that recruitment business leaders are embracing technology more so than ever.
The events of the last 18 months or so have given us a unique time to review and assess our businesses like never before. We are forensic when it comes to looking for wastage. We now expect greater ROI from every part of our businesses. We are fixated on efficiency and maximising performance.
And we are in a time where the opportunity to capitalise on the market buoyancy is intrinsically linked to a recruiter’s capacity (to deliver). This is where technology, the right technology, can give you the edge.
And to create that edge, we should build our future strategies around tech intensive workflows that enable and enhance human capability.