– by Joy Redmond, Sonru 

I came across a very provocative piece by Liz Ryan in Forbes recently. In her article entitled “How Technology Killed Recruiting”, Ryan argues that recruitment technology, specifically the ATS, has dehumanised the recruitment process and that most software cannot discriminate between good and bad candidates. She also refutes the presumption that the elimination of poor candidates is the key challenge for recruiters.

Let’s look at these points in some more detail.

Firstly, Ryan maintains that the system’s predefined data fields such as name and length of time with employer along with job title and the listing of associated tasks and duties will not enable recruiters to differentiate between candidates:

If you think about the smartest, most switched-on person you’ve ever worked with, and then think about the biggest slacker and do-nothing person you’ve ever worked alongside, the contrast between those two people is obvious. Yet no ATS in the world could distinguish between them.”

This idea presupposes that recruitment technology has not evolved and that neither ATS providers, nor general software developers for the recruitment space, have evolved to accommodate the qualitative or human elements so essential to effective candidate selection. It also ignores the many and varied alliances between ATS providers and other technology players that are working together to bridge such gaps.

For example, Sonru works with several high profile ATS providers, including Hireserve, enabling their users to access Sonru’s pre-integrated video interviewing solution within their hiring workflow.  Clients can view, share and provide collaborative feedback on the candidate interviews directly rather than having to view in a pop-up window or leave their own ATS.

“In a recent case one of our users ran a selection process with Sonru and then another one without it, and realized the difference in the quality of the invited candidates on the day of the selection board.”

“You get a measure of the candidate much quicker because you have that verbal and mental cue in your head. I’m much more engaged with my candidates on the day because I’ve already met them.”
– Asda

Screening and attracting talent

Secondly, Ryan laments the presumption that the elimination of poor candidates is the key challenge for recruiters – “whereas in fact the problem in recruiting is that it’s hard to find great people, and we should be selling them throughout the process if we want them to consider joining us.”

Here, two different points are confused – applicant screening and whether the recruitment process effectively attracts or repels talent.

Candidate screening, vetting, selection – call it what you will – eliminating the worst candidates or selecting the best – it’s still shortlisting. Whatever your personal philosophy, you can’t take everyone to a face-to-face interview.

Ryan says the solution is to target market the ideal applicants with a marketer’s precision so as to avoid mass applications thus eliminating the need for any screening – oh that we in marketing were so on top of our game to have such a hit rate that eliminated all marketing wastage!

A further solution offered is to avoid making the “job application process as off-putting as possible” by not asking all candidates to provide the same standardised information or respond to them with a standardised response.

We’re in the muddy waters of potential discrimination claims if the recruitment process is not transparent. Does one applicant submit a poem, another a SlideShare deck, and another maybe even some home cooked goodies – where does it end? How can we compare like with like if the process is not uniform?

Recruitment technology, specifically video interviewing, enables a standardised, structured and transparent interview that ensures fairness of process to all candidates.

A positive experience for all

What is clear is that the process shouldn’t repel the applicant. By integrating with a video interviewing solution like Sonru, employers can benefit from a positive impact on their employer brand and candidates from a more streamlined process:

“Video Interviewing has made our process slicker internally and definitely improved our employer brand to candidates.”
– Asda

“Any system with in-built quality like this immediately enhances the hiring reputation of the company – leading to better applicant engagement.”
– Qatar Airways

“It’s nice to see a company that isn’t afraid of using the latest technology for something like recruiting.”
– Candidate

Moving away from the anecdotal above to the empirical evidence of over 30,000 respondents who volunteered to complete a survey, these statistics speak louder than any quotes:

  • 75% of respondents recorded a positive candidate experience, with just 4% dissatisfied.
  • 86% of respondents completed their video interviews from home with the flexibility offered to candidates to choose the time/not having to take time off work emerging as the key benefit.

Giving candidates genuine choices/flexibility in their recruitment process is essential for organisations looking to attract top talent.

Ryan concludes: “The ATS vendors that will survive to 2020 and beyond will be the ones that figure out how to humanize the selection process.”

Luckily, there are several technology and ATS providers that work together preferring to engage rather than intimidate and repel applicants. It’s just a matter of finding them rather than sticking to your guns about the bad experiences you’ve had in the past.

Go forth folks – trial new recruitment technology and find innovative partners such as Sonru and Hireserve whose solutions not only improve candidate selection but also wow and impress candidates so much that the process itself  attracts interest.

For a complete list of Sonru partners that do “humanize” the recruitment process for both recruiters and candidates, please contact our Channels and Alliances team on partners@sonru.com

Fully integrated with iCams, Hireserve partner Sonru  is the global leader in video interviewing solutions. Join Sonru at its first ever User Conference, #SonruStandOut, in London on 22nd April 2015.

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.