One would think that technology is a good thing. Nearly every company uses some form of technology in its hiring practices today, in order to make things more organized, fair, and efficient. From applicant tracking systems (ATS) to employee onboard training, many aspects of hiring have been digitized.
Yet, there is a growing consensus among career experts that hiring has become less human because we have become too reliant on it.
A PBS News Hour special report on this topic raised the question of whether LinkedIn and other hiring technologies are hindering hiring, or not?
Nick Corcodilos, the host of Ask The Headhunter® and the author of several well-known career books, chimed in about this issue. He reveals in a Wall Street Journal post, a potential ‘hole’ in the job market, whereby there are fewer jobs being filled now.
He advised that the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the United States Department of Labor for July 2016 showed that the number of jobs increased to 5.9 million, but only 5.2 million individuals were actually hired.
Why so many unfilled jobs?
The answer comes down to a few factors. It’s not what you would think either. Some may say it’s that unskilled labor is flooding the market, or that there are skill shortages preventing hires. Others may say that companies are being more cautious about who they hire or have hiring freezes due to it being an election year.
None of these theories can hold any water.
According to Peter Cappelli of University of Pennsylvania Wharton’s School of Business, workers are just as skilled today as they were 15 years ago. The only thing that has changed is technology.
How technology hurts hiring practices.
The truth is, recruiters and HR leaders have leaned too hard on technology for a long time.
There are countless stories of candidates who have fallen through the cracks after filling out online job applications, or after taking an online assessment. Resume screening technology eliminates some candidates from ever being seen by recruiters. Others find the process of even accessing job leads online cumbersome and taking too much time.
How did we get here?
Initially, HR professionals believed they were being inundated with resumes from too many underqualified candidates. This happened mainly during the peak of the recession when unemployment rates were as high as 10% in many regions. Every company rushed to put ATS software in place to weed out the undesirable candidates from the best.
It was fairly effective.
But as the market evened out again, these same ATS became barriers to candidates getting through to the next level, and in many cases, turned them off so badly they refused to apply.
According to John Hazard, who contributes to ZD Net, the technology has not kept up with changes in recruitment.
He says, “The ATS is supposed to be the first phase of resume review, using keywords and contextual search to omit unqualified candidates and produce only qualified candidates who can be vetted for qualities like pedigree and experience.”
But instead, it’s weeding out too many otherwise qualified candidates.
Technology is supposed to work in everyone’s favor and make things more pleasant, right?
Not so fast.
When you think about who invests in the technology and the motivating factors behind it, the technology is a one-way street. It’s not meant to help candidates secure jobs. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s meant to corral all candidates into a shoot, much like cattle are driven into pens.
Each candidate gets a number assigned to him or her, then gets put into a category for future placement.
In the last 10 years, social networks have also gotten into the hiring game.
LinkedIn has stood between virtually every candidate and recruiter since its incept. Job leads are more recent and the ‘apply using your profile’ feature is convenient, but users must pay premiums to use all of the features available in the recruitment suite.
How hard has it been for recruiters to get leverage on Facebook when companies have their own pages, but no links to their career pages?
Company pages may even be faked, which puts candidate data at risk; a growing concern in the job market.
Corcodilos points out that the interesting thing here is there has been little to no analysis of the potential roadblocks that HR software, social media job systems, and others have created. HR doesn’t want to take responsibility so they blame job seekers.
Job seekers complain but are told to just go with the flow if they want a job. Software developers build features that their clients want and what’s most in-demand.
No one even considers that the technology is faulty.
How can recruiters correct the shortcomings of hiring technology?
The best course of action to avoid possibly harming hiring practices is to use good old-fashioned common sense. Your company may have an ATS in place, but you can still use this to locate candidates by other criteria.
It’s possible to find diamonds in the rough this way!
Give each candidate’s resume a good look over, since the system may have parsed some items out or it may look odd. Use email to contact candidates who may be somewhat underqualified, but keep in mind they may have other wonderful merits.
Never rely fully on technology to do your job as a recruiter. Use it as it was intended for, but not to become lazy or complacent about your own tasks.
Take time each day to connect with people online through all your available networks. Get out into the public eye more often and find a place in the community. It’s good or business and it’s good to get in front of those candidates who have been turned off by technology.
Partner with an executive resume writer to find out about hiring events, job fairs, and other things that are coming up in terms of advances in recruitment because they are in the know – having worked with many job seekers.