Advances in technology have allowed recruiters to interact with clients and candidates on the other side of the world, opening up many business opportunities and giving us access to a global talent pool. If we think about social networking tools, HR teams can now reach a wider audience and engage with potential employees in new ways. It’s clear that there’s huge value in this, but is it possible that we have become too technologically advanced?

Many of the members I’ve spoken to within the TEAM network seem to think so. Every quarter, we have regional meetings where our agencies can network to share problems, offer advice and discuss the current recruitment market. This always raises some interesting points, and the use of technology in recruitment was one such issue that came up recently.

At the meeting, it was recognised that it’s fundamental to build relationships with clients and candidates. HR and recruitment are ‘people businesses’ after all, and there is great value in really getting to know who you’re working with as it allows for a much more personalised service.

The new wave of computerised recruiting tools

With the increased use of technology, it was pointed out that human contact is disappearing. New computer software is starting to take over staff roles, and a recent BBC article referred to several examples of this. Talent consultancy The Chemistry Group, for instance, has designed an online game for O2 to analyse potential candidates. Also, EnRecruit, a video-based interview product, provides applicants with three questions via a webcam which allows employers to make quick decisions about who to interview. The purpose of these techniques is to assess the ability of candidates in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

The importance of face-to-face contact in talent attraction 

The ideal candidate is not necessarily the one with the best CV, yet ‘applicant tracking systems’ are now being used to analyse CVs, and face-to-face interviews are often only seen in the final stages of hiring. This means that, off paper, an applicant could be perfect for the role, but if they can’t express this in the right way they won’t even be considered.

As HR professionals, the key is for you to be able to attract and retain top talent, but if some of the best candidates are being taken out of the running by computerised analysis, you may be missing out on key employees for your organisation. Placing the right candidates in the right roles involves a much more personal approach, requiring human contact and not just a mobile or PC.

Take advantage of technology, but only to a certain extent. Remember that in order to develop your future talent pipeline and ensure the success of your organisation, you shouldn’t become too dependent on technology.

Written by Liz Longman, managing director of TEAM

Liz Longman is the managing director of TEAM (The Employment Agents Movement) and has been involved in recruitment for nearly 20 years. She previously headed up a region for a generalist agency before joining TEAM some eight years ago.

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