If you haven’t lived on the moon for the last couple of years – you’ve heard a lot of talk about the importance of the candidate experience within talent acquisition. The ”experience” has become a differentiator between companies competing for the best talent – whether it is the pre-employment or employee - or even alumni experience.
This is nothing new, as you could say that overall we live in an ”experience driven” world. We as individuals want to experience things which fuel our passion or we get a kick out of. We also want to spend our working time with people with similar interests and passion. More and more organisations around the world are embracing and investing on the candidate/employee experience. Some organization do it as they truly see the importance of offering a great candidate experience, and others as they have to. But what about automation & robotics – the game-changer in the way we work and live our lives? How does this relate to candidate experience and can you automate candidate experience?
Few weeks back we got to read yet another report (by Word Economic Forum / Bloomberg) that by 2020 over 5 million jobs will be lost due to technological development, robotics, artificial intelligence (including automation overall) in the 15 major economies. It is clear that these changes and opportunities will change the way we recruit for good. The role of the recruiter will also change and automation will help screen candidates easier, more efficient and in a more objective manner than humans are able to. A.I. and BI will increase the quality of recruitment – as decisions can be made through analytics and data – not just gut-feeling and interview. Marketing automation will make it easier for companies to communicate their brand and employer image. These are just a few of the benefits of automation and robotics in talent acquisition.
At the same time we realise that we are still humans and that (at least some of us) still need human interaction – especially in recruitment and on-boarding. Some even say that you can’t automate candidate experience, but I think these two streams/trends should and can add value to each other – and of course to the organisation and the candidates. It is never black and white. This is also visible in the research by TalentBoard’s CandE results. The companies which are successful in generating great candidate experience also make sure the human touchpoints are included in the process and that they truly generate added value.
Candidates appreciate speed and open communications in the selection process – which can be supported by technology. Having said that – there will always be roles in which you need to be very up-close and personal – to be able to attract the top talent. More importantly we also need to remember that talent can’t be put in to segments or demographics that easily any more. Ie. we are unable to make blind categorisation of – say sw developers living in Helsinki (Finland,) who are male and aged 30-35. Even within this segment there are individual personal values for each developer. Each developer is unique and has different drivers. To understand these, we can use analytics and research – but nothing beats the human contact.
So can we say candidate experience can be automated – yes and no. There is a lot to gain by advanced technology in talent acquisition and in generating world class candidate experience. The technology will continue to change how we work and it helps us to make better decisions. I would personally estimate, that the biggest bottleneck in embracing the opportunities of technology is the recruiter or talent acquisition professional. Tech will change the way recruitment operates and the individual recruiter role will evolve at the same time. Tech shouldn’t be seen as a threat for the recruiting profession – quite the opposite. Once we embrace the opportunities of technology while maintaining the human touchpoints, we are able to ultimately offer better candidate experience to the talent we are trying to attract.