Technology and people: a crossroads for HR?
It goes without saying; I have always had a good relationship with technology. It’s provided strong data and overall, technology has already made a huge – and very positive – impact on a range of areas in HR. Many basic but important functions have been automated, which have, in turn, liberated HR, allowing it to concentrate on more strategic business functions, as well as providing the metrics it needs to assess the success of that very automation.
But what does the future hold when we come to that important crossroad between people and technology – recruitment? It’s a logical question to ask, not least as recruitment represents the second largest expense after training. If technology can transform so many other areas of HR, what impact might it have when applied to this vital function?
In our company we have already been exposed to the wonders of technology, in particular artificial intelligence (AI). It’s already a vital tool we use to gather customer feedback. Our AI platform Metis allows us to find and analyse thousands of online customer reviews and surveys in seconds, thus providing actionable insights into how we can improve the guest experience. Might this same technology be used in recruitment? Allowing HR to identify potential candidates – even from those who have not yet even considered a new role?
Many basic but important functions have been automated, which have, in turn, liberated HR, allowing it to concentrate on more strategic business functions
Using algorithms and already published data by the potential applicants themselves, such as Linkedin profiles and other widely available online sources, we can target key roles to key people, tailoring exactly what you need to the skills and experiences they have. AI could also be used to look at CVs before we have any initial conversations, identifying gaps in the information given, and prompting questions to ensure that these gaps are closed. This requirement is even more vital as traditional references are, for a variety of reasons, becoming narrower and narrower in what they actually reveal about a candidate’s experience in any previous role or roles.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this process should never replace the final face-to-face interview, but I believe would bring many advantages beyond the simple streamlining of the process itself. For one thing, it would remove that initial human element, the tendency we have to look for people like ourselves or who match our own expectations. It would, therefore, allow us to widen the initial search, bringing with it the potential for fresh faces and fresh ideas; people who are only found if we look beyond the traditional ‘talent pools’ which can only narrow our expectations. If we all simply fish in the same small pool, we’ll never come across those individuals whose very different approaches could well have a transforming impact upon our businesses.
It’s in ways like this that we may well find ourselves challenged and moved beyond our comfort zones. But this would be in a positive way, as the process would be far more orientated towards the talents processed by the many rather than the ‘few’. This might lead us to ask if HR really wants to change its approach: if the familiar recruitment processes provide a security blanket many could be reluctant to part with. But in the search to find the best people, technology could very well open up a range of new approaches which could bring significant benefits to those who are willing to embrace it.
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