Can a Handshake Be Replaced? Seattle Talent Pros Discuss the Future of Recruiting

August 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM by Bryce Kisker

R@S-Seattle (1).pngAutomation was the word on the tip of everyone’s tongue as talent acquisition leaders from the Seattle area gathered at Payscale’s offices just south of CenturyLink field for Recruiting @ Scale: Seattle. With nearby giants like Microsoft and Amazon pioneering new technologies almost daily and hiring the talent to fuel their innovations, Seattle recruiters are well-acquainted with the world of smart technologies.

But recruiting isn’t just about technology, even though it can feel that way sometimes. At its heart, recruiting is still about connecting people with opportunities and persuading them to take the leap to something new and exciting. And the truth is, that will probably never ever be fully automated. The key, then, for those of us in talent acquisition is to figure out how we can strategically leverage technology without losing the very human skills and attributes that make us effective recruiters in the first place.

With a few dozen of the smartest talent pros in Seattle taking part in the conversation, we covered a lot of ground. Here are a few of my takeaways from the Recruiting @ Scale: Seattle meetup.

Too many resumes, not enough recruiters.

One of the biggest challenges facing talent acquisition is the sheer number of applicants received for some roles. It’s impossible to look at every single resume and candidate yet by not looking at most of them you could be missing out on some talented candidates. This is where automation will really pay off down the road. If bots or other technologies use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to help us accurately screen and assess candidates, reduce false negatives, personalize yet automate the first touch, recruiters will wind up with more talent in the pipeline and more time to interact with the really good candidates. That’s a win-win no matter how you slice it.

Clearly differentiate your employer brand.

To find the best-fit candidates you need as many leads as possible, but personalizing your outreach and selling the unique opportunity is essential. Generic messaging about the role just won’t work with today’s savvy candidates. To develop a strong message and pitch, talk to the people at your org and figure out why they joined. Then use those reasons in your outreach. You can’t afford to be wishy washy. Once you have cast the net, you have to follow up and follow up again. Bots and technology will allow for personalized automated responses and continue the candidate journey, making it easier to nurture more candidates without sacrificing a positive candidate experience or damaging your employer brand.

Don’t skimp on the onboarding.

Imagine having gone through all the trouble to convince someone to join your team and then having them spend their first week at work without a computer. That’s a terrible way to start a new job but it happened to a poor soul at Recruiting @ Scale. Onboarding is very important. It sets new hires up for success. Great talent management isn’t just about getting new people in the door, it’s about keeping them around after you’ve hired them.

A little bit of planning is worth its weight in gold.

Since they have to manage numerous roles across different departments, recruiters at Amazon rank roles by how difficult they are to fill and use those rankings to balance workloads across the team and forecast how long it will take them to fill certain reqs. Managing recruiter workloads is a great way to reduce burnout and keep your teams performing at peak efficiency, which in the long run can be hugely valuable.

Relationships still matter and always will.

In the coming years, new and emerging technologies like chatbots, automated scheduling, and automated candidate scoring will continue to make recruiter’s lives easier but the human factor will always matter. If anything, recruiters and talent pros will have more time to spend on the important, strategic stuff that matters most. Recruiter’s value will soon be in how they manage the process of hiring and how they interact with hiring managers, candidates, colleagues and anyone else who is part of the process. If anything, automation will allow us to do our jobs better by spending more time on the people and jobs who really matter, and that’s pretty cool.

For recruiters and talent pros, the question is how we will adjust to this brave new world by remaining open to new technologies while simultaneously nurturing the people skills that are so crucial to our work. If Recruiting @ Scale Seattle is any indication, we’re in pretty good shape so far.

Thank you to Entelo, STAC, Payscale, presenters Chris Stiemert from Payscale, Evan Seguirant of Atlas Informatics, Rebecca Wiseman of Qualtrics, Jenny Chynoweth (who is available if you're hiring)and all of our attendees for contributing to an invigorating and informative conversation about where recruiting is headed next.

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