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Despite revolutionary changes in the recruitment industry and the world of work, one thing has remained largely the same. And that’s the hiring process. For the most part, recruiters still expect candidates to apply for a job by sending in their CVs and covering letters – the former will be added to internal databases, screened and sent to hiring managers. Then it’s time for a telephone or face-to-face interview and so on…

Why? Because that’s the way hiring has always been done.

Recruitment rebels

It doesn’t have to be this way, as Anna Ott of hub:raum (start-up incubator of Deutsche Telekom) demonstrated so well at UNLEASH Amsterdam. Rather than asking for permission, she experimented with using a chatbot – hubbot – to interact with candidates, sending information back to humans. “Unless you try it, you’ll never know”, says Ott, who made important observations about talent behaviour.

HR Tech World Amsterdam

Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness” – Anna Ott.

Over half of interactions with hubbot occurred outside of working hours, and candidates asked a vast array of questions. The majority of these queries related to salary and job specifics – things they may not have felt comfortable discussing with a human. In turn, her company gathered candidate insights akin to what would be on a traditional CV. This is a great example of how better user experience yields stronger results.

Tasha Cluskey of Mediatonic Games broke convention with her disruption of the hiring process. In just five months she rid her organisation of its traditional hiring methods, using a tech test and an informal video interview to attract top talent. As a result, she increased workforce diversity and built an innovative employer brand.

Make jobs great again

By holding current processes so dear, we’re harking back to a bygone era of manufacturing firm domination and single company careers. This is exactly the kind of misplaced sentimentality that holds us back.

We’re ignoring the dramatic changes taking place across the jobs’ market with tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple employing fewer staff than traditional industries, and making use of contingent workers for projects.

These firms are adopting contemporary ways to attract and hire such employees. Rather than looking at what grades candidates achieved at certain universities, they’re using gamification and data science to recruit talented people.

And it’s not just tech firms getting in on the act. Air Baltic put the fun back into its talent acquisition with its Facebook game that invited candidates to deal with difficult passengers – played by their friends. Successful gamers were then invited to the next stage of the recruitment process, creating a fun and positive recruitment experience.

Meanwhile, disruptors like Knack are making waves by offering companies a smart and engaging recruitment platform. Using games, behavioural science and predictive data analytics, Knack helps companies make hiring decisions based on the potential for success. No stuffy CVs here. Clients include Shell, Caterpillar and AXA.

Talent acquisition has some catching up to do

Many agencies and in-house teams are embracing change, investing in machine learning platforms like Pocket Recruiter, to intelligently match candidates with jobs. This technology drastically reduces the time it takes to screen, source and evaluate candidates, freeing up recruiters to focus on being true talent advisors – something which we can’t automate, yet.

These are huge leaps forward, yet some recruiters are still wedded to habitual talent acquisition; perhaps unsure of how their hiring managers would feel if alternatives were suggested. There’s also the risk of slowing the hiring, and ultimately losing out on business. However, the risk of not adopting new methods is greater, with top talent drawn to companies that embrace new, innovative ways.

Like with matching platforms, recruiters need to take a bold step towards data-led hiring or face obsolescence. Run experiments with tech tests, use a data science platform for a forward-thinking client, run informal Skype chats… Above all, make it happen.