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We all know that it’s a competitive marketplace out there.

You need to be quick to snap up the best talent, but you still need to do your due diligence. To be confident you’re hiring the right person, you need to vet them properly – and for most companies, the process isn’t getting any faster. As Professor Peter Cappelli recently observed in the Wall Street Journal, the time it takes companies to fill job openings has been going up for more than a decade.

Luckily, you don’t have to face all this alone.

Technology has become a powerful ally for modern talent leaders and recruiters. From chatbots to automated reference-checking software, it has the potential to free you from much of recruitment’s more mundane work, so you can focus on strategy and selection.

Here are just four technologies already helping hiring managers to win the race for the best talent.

1. Chatbots

Getting the right people in for interview can be a slow and arduous process, filled with repetitive tasks that don’t actually require human expertise, but need to be completed over and over again. At scale.

In short – the kind of tasks that chatbots love.

And today, there are a lot of chatbots designed specifically with hiring in mind. Whether they’re engaging candidates across SMS, email, social media or messaging apps, chatbots can help you with:

  • Pre-screening candidates – by talking to them to ensure they meet the minimum requirements for a role
  • Scheduling interviews – so you get more time to prepare for them
  • Responding to queries 24/7 – and boosting candidate experience

Even the most basic bot could lighten your administrative load by fielding potential candidates’ FAQs about your business.

2. Reference-checking software

Candidate references used to be a hassle to reach. Worse, they often did little except confirm a candidate’s dates of employment. That’s because people feared providing a less-than-glowing recommendation could result in recriminations – or worse, litigation.

But today, technology has transformed the humble reference check into one of a hiring manager’s most powerful tools.

Online reference-checking software can:

  • Automate and accelerate communications, so you’re not constantly chasing people’s old line managers or college professors
  • Ask a candidate’s past colleagues about their job-specific soft skills – with a guarantee of confidentiality, and no risk of legal comeback
  • Surface areas of interest or concern, informing the questions you ask at interview

One advocate of a modern, automated approach to reference checking is HR thought-leader Tim Sackett.

“We stopped doing manual references five years ago, because it made no sense,” he says. “With automated reference checking technology, references can actually impact your hiring decisions – because people will tell you where the candidate fits on a spectrum where both sides are positive, but one fits the role or your culture better.

3. Video interviewing

Meeting candidates face-to-face takes time, and costs money – especially if you’re paying for travel and accommodation.

But to make a smart hiring decision, you absolutely need a chance to observe their body language. You’re also likely to want to test how well they respond to your questions in real time.

It should be no surprise, then, that more and more hiring managers are adding video conferencing to their technology toolkits.

Connecting with candidates via Skype, Google Hangouts, or enterprise video conferencing solutions can improve hiring in some less-than-obvious ways.

For example, you might well find your hiring process gets faster, as video interviews happen sooner – it can be hard enough getting all the right people in the same city, let alone the same room.

4. Candidate relationship management software

Software that’s purpose-built to support the hiring process is nothing new. But software that helps hiring managers nurture and engage potential candidates – even before your job ad has been posted – is a more recent and welcome development.

The features of candidate relationship management tools vary, but at a fundamental level they help hiring managers:

  • Gather and curate information about potential employees
  • Segment those individuals by job role
  • Engage them with co-ordinated marketing messages

Having access to that pool of relevant, nurtured talent can shorten your hiring cycle – and is especially useful if you have a role (think sales professionals or software developers) that you need to fill time and time again.

What, no AI?

In 2019, it seems that every list of influential technologies has to include artificial intelligence and machine learning. But while AI is a fundamental element in a lot of HR technology – notably chatbots – it won’t be disrupting the human side of hiring anytime soon.

Here’s Paul Hebert, VP Individual Solutions Strategy at Creative Group, Inc. and co-founder of the hugely popular HRPositive LinkedIn Group: “We’re seeing the idea take off, right now, and it can certainly help us find better people to consider. But if you want to hire the best candidates, the interviewer still has to make the decision.”

Paul uses a simple example to explain the dangers. “The machine won’t spot false negatives – and while the numbers may be small, the impact can be large. Take a former senior executive who is looking for a new role. The machine might easily say he’s too overqualified. But he’d actually be a huge asset.”

Technology is there to help. Use it.

From nurturing talent pools to chatting with applicants, sourcing invaluable references and enabling interviews, there’s technology available to automate and enhance all the most time-consuming elements of the hiring process.

And that means you can focus on the important things. Like developing and executing the right strategy, and hiring stellar talent.

Could you be making even better hiring decisions? Take our quiz to assess your hiring process – and your risk of making a bad hire


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