“HR is 45% process, 45% people, and 10% technology. Yet we blame tech vendors when things go wrong.” Jason Averbrook, Unleash 2018.
An impactful statement from Jason, and one that resonates with me as a marketer working in recruitment.
I’m not going to focus on criticism or pointing the finger. Instead, I’m more interested in the reasons why tech is held to account over people and processes.
Caveat. Tech isn’t always the perfect solution
Let’s get this straight – tech isn’t infallible out-of-the-box. No product is absolutely perfect from the get-go, so we need to dedicate the time needed to run experiments or try products on a smaller scale before roll-out. That’s the price we pay to achieve optimum productivity and be free to focus on human skills like empathy or influence.
Tech is only as good as your processes
Automating bad processes is going to give us the same poor result, just faster. If our foundations are weak or datasets incorrect then we risk intensifying issues like unconscious bias. Using JobPal’s example, if we took the top performers in a company, and only hired people who were exactly the same, then we’d risk worsening any unconscious bias that occurred at the outset.
In parallel, introducing new tech might give you the chance to overhaul and streamline all your processes.
Fight or flight
The fight or flight response causes us to become habitual, to stick with what we know over the risk of failing, or worse still, replacing ourselves. The fourth industrial revolution has exacerbated this natural human tendency…
The change curve is a simple representation of how we feel when new tools are being introduced. Communication, emotional support and direction are crucial in changing mindsets. If there’s a lack of guidance from the top, people fall into natural reactions.
For recruiters in particular, there are so many tools that essentially replace repetitive tasks – whether that’s CandidateID building talent pipelines, to RoboRecruiter engaging with candidates using Chatbot tech and Knack using games to shape hiring decisions. If recruiters don’t embrace these tools and instead, stay habitual, they protect their current workloads but don’t move towards becoming talent advisors and consultants in their fields.
Tech highlights organisational problems
Tech shines a spotlight on business agility. If an organisation is slow to change, then automation and insights can’t break through the bureaucracy alone. It’s easy to say: “Tech isn’t right for us,” without using any people power to throw out old hiring processes or mentalities.
Let’s take matching technology like Pocket Recruiter. It shows us the best candidates for a role regardless of race, age or gender, but that doesn’t mean they’re the ones who will get hired. A lack of existing diversity could contribute to further bias at interview and offer stages. Ultimately, people are still making the final decisions on candidates, so if they have an inherent bias, tech can’t change that.
The silver bullet
The other scenario is high expectation, leading to eventual disappointment when tech isn’t the magic fix. This is the most dangerous kind of detractor; one that seems to have been behind the tech, then rapidly switches opinion. This can bring the whole team down and halt progress completely. It’s for this reason that comms, clear direction, a strong plan and expectation setting are so vital for long-term benefit.
Being human: recruiters have the most tech potential
Recruitment is one of the most tech-filled areas of HR; there’s so much at our fingertips… In order to achieve this potential and become product owners with consultancy-level knowledge, we need to remove habitual behaviours and organisational barriers first.
It’s these barriers and excuses that are holding recruitment back, and it’s only when they’re removed that we can adjust mindsets.
With tech, recruitment should be 90% consultancy & relationships, and 10% tech stack management.