How HR tech is transforming recruitment

HRD spoke with Jaya Dass, managing director at Randstad Singapore, the top recruitment firm in our annual Service Provider Awards 2018, to get insights into how HR tech is transforming the realm of recruitment.

HRD: How can HR technology help leaders tackle key recruitment challenges?
JD: 
The number one feedback that recruiters receive is the lack of communication and updates to jobseekers in what seems to be a lengthy and emotionally-taxing job search process.

A large company typically receives hundreds or thousands of CVs a month and it is very probable that some of them are overlooked due to limited time or human error.

This is why there is an emerging trend of using innovative HR technology to automatically process these applications and shortlist suitable candidates for the job.

The two simplest reasons why recruitment agencies leverage digital solutions are to improve efficiency and productivity, as well as deliver a superior customer experience.

For instance, technology can help us better manage the large volume of candidates and ensure all of them are followed up on. It can also help source, screen and qualify candidates quickly and efficiently, greatly reducing the time needed to match candidates to a job opportunity.

With HR technology, we can automate routine and time-consuming tasks so that our consultants can be freed up to provide a more personalised touch and higher value services for our clients and candidates.

Having more time away from routine tasks means we can now focus on data collection and analysis. This allows us to better understand candidates’ underlying career motivations and improve the quality of our talent engagement and recruitment marketing efforts.

Digital tools have enabled us to improve the candidate experience during their search process by providing them with timely career advice and updates, or automatically redirecting them to similar jobs so they stand a better chance of securing a job more quickly.

The integration of HR technology into the recruitment process has significantly helped companies redirect their time to higher impact activities, standardise the job matching process to increase the quality of hire, collect data to identify hiring trends and adjust strategies, as well as free up the recruiter’s time to determine the candidate-client culture fit.

HRD: When implementing new HR tech, what are some factors that professionals should consider to increase its chances of success?
JD: 
The success of HR technology depends on the reason why the company has the algorithms set up, how are they being set up for the users and to what end the user can benefit from them.

Many companies tend to make the expensive mistake of falling in love with the solution first, instead of understanding the problem they are trying to solve.

For example, people are starting to gain more understanding about how artificial intelligence (AI) works and the possibilities it can bring to the business.

However, we have found that sophisticated HR tech solutions might not be the right (or only) answer to their business challenges most of the time. In fact, what they need could actually just be a simple tweak to the workflow, operations or even the way people work.

Furthermore, AI requires heavy investments and a long time for data to be collected and put through the program for machine learning.

Companies would also need to invest more resources into maintaining data integrity to remove any potential biases – because often, the success of any technology implementation is only as good as the people and data quality underpinning it.

At Randstad, we pride ourselves in being a pioneer and advocate of integrating HR technology into our processes.

This has significantly helped us to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks – such as sourcing and screening applicants, reference checking, requesting for compliance documentation etc – and create efficiency in the way we interact with our clients and candidates.

At the end of the day, real connections with candidates and clients take empathy, instinct and intuition. These traits cannot be identified by or reproduced through data and algorithms.

While HR technology may be able to pick up personality traits based on words, tone and facial expressions, it cannot match candidates to company’s talent needs in a fool-proof manner.

This is when recruiters step in and offer professionalism and expertise – to ensure we critically evaluate a candidate’s suitability across all three dimensions: the job fit, boss fit and company fit.

HRD: As technology transforms the HR industry, how can professionals ensure that the “human element” in HR remains central to the function?
JD
: While the world seems fast changing and somewhat unpredictable, what remains constant is how important a job is to someone and how the right talent can impact an organisation’s workplace culture and business growth.

Hiring a new employee requires significant investment in time, effort and resources. Besides the potential risk of not making the right decision, a bad hire could have serious repercussions – by disrupting team dynamics and causing your existing employees to leave.

In addition, our recent Candidate Expectations Survey found that more than half of Singaporeans are frustrated at the overly-automated job search experience which lacks a personal touch.

We strongly believe that HR tech should not and will not replace the entire recruitment process. However, as technology continues to drive our industry forward, we should expect that jobs will no longer remain the same and be open to take on different roles.

In this age where technology has become so pervasive in both our personal and professional lives, we believe it’s the human side of our business that makes the difference.

That’s why we combine the power of today’s technology with the passion of our HR professionals to create an experience that’s inherently more human.

To better serve our clients and candidates, we apply digital innovations to improve our services, offer value-added and data-driven insights, and create efficiencies where possible.

The HR professionals of today will need to dive deeper than what they see on a resume or a job description. Recruiters will evolve to become external HR partners and consultants who immerse themselves into the heart and soul of the company.

Because the personal touch is more powerful than ever, HR professionals will be required to have a deeper understanding of the industry’s hiring and talent trends, long-term business strategies and organisational culture to help companies with their talent management strategies.

HR professionals and recruiters can equally leverage HR technology to generate insights on in-demand jobs, profiles and skillsets, so that they can coach candidates on how to upskill themselves or build a stronger personal brand to improve their chances of being hired.