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You only need to consider what you can do on your smart phone to understand that technology has made life easier – and yet, sometimes harder. While talking on the phone you can surf the Web, text a friend, transfer money at your bank, and post to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (simultaneously)!

Yes, they’re wonderful, but our smartphones have a negative side. US consumers now spend more than 5 hours per day on their mobile phones, according to Flurry Analytics’ data. And, devices have made us ever-accessible — changing every day experiences such as meals, concert-going and even, a day at the beach.

In the HR world, automation is also impacting candidate experience in major ways. In an August 2017 survey of 1,200 U.S. adults by Randstad US, 82% of respondents said they are “often frustrated with an overly automated job search experience.” Meanwhile, 87% noted that “technology has made the job search process more impersonal.” Almost everybody (95%) said technology should be used to “assist the recruiting experience, not replace it.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, has transformed the work that recruiters do. And that can greatly pare a recruiter’s time from time-consuming administrative tasks. In a Society for Human Resource Management article published last month, Kevin Wheeler, founder and president of the Future of Talent Institute, a San Francisco-area think tank, noted that “basic chat bots are useful for initial candidate interactions and can improve careers site retention. They are helpful in scheduling interviews and screening candidates with basic questions, and the more sophisticated can actually match candidates and do search functions. Moving forward, “AI will enhance workforce planning and make using predictive analytics routine,” he added, progressing from transactional functions such as scheduling, interviewing, database housing and clerical tasks.

Meanwhile, other software helps employers reach more diverse candidate pools with automation that intelligently reads job descriptions to identify phrases or qualifications that are slanted with gender and racial bias.

How to Fix Job Seekers’ Dissatisfaction with HR Tech

But hold on. While recruiters and other HR professionals may think technology is giving them a much-needed break, that’s not always the opinion of job seekers. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of spending an hour filling out an online job application only to see the system crash just before you hit save or submit, you’ll know it’s not all fun and games.

How to fix it? In the Randstad survey, 82% said “the ideal interaction with a company is one where innovative technologies are behind the scenes and second to personal, human interaction.” And it can be done. New research by consultants The Hackett Group has found that digital technology can help HR departments “improve their efficiency and effectiveness” when delivering services, as well as boost customer experience. And sophisticated analytics can be used for better decision-making.

Take a look at Sutherland, a Pittsford, NY, information technology and services company, which built Tasha, a chatbot, to reverse a crushing 80% applicant drop-off rate (mostly in the early stages of the hiring journey). Tasha interacts with job seekers via their preferred contact channel (text, email or dialogue box) and helps them answer basic questions, invite candidates back to the process, and even schedule an interview. After just two months of intervening, the drop-off rate is down to 62%, noted Kelly Culler, Sutherland’s VP of a Global Talent Acquisition. “If at any point you had a question, you could ask Tasha,” said Culler, in an October LinkedIn article. “She’ll answer from her knowledge base, and we’re growing that knowledge base over time using common inquiries. If you hesitate at a spot, or you don’t complete an action—it might be your assessment, or scheduling your interview—she’s going to ask you why and prompt you to get back into the journey.”

The applicant experience is also improved by using cloud-based technology that allows the job seeker to be engaged with the reference checking process. By using reference-checking technology that starts with the candidate in control of entering their references. It then reaches references online versus manual processes (emailing multiple requests, follow-up phone calls, relying on posted letters) and asks appropriate, relevant job-specific questions that relate to success. References receive links to an online portal (via an email from applicants, themselves) where they can quickly and easily fill out detailed reference information. In addition, the technology enables references to use any device, e.g. a cell phone, tablet or laptop and provide feedback at their convenience.

Recruiters and hiring managers benefit from rich reporting on references’ responses, and with SkillSurvey ReferenceTM, providing employers access to predictive data. And that’s information that can help you reduce turnover rates.

Many HR organizations using this friendlier, speedier technology typically experience an 85% response rate from references, an in 90% faster time, versus traditional phone-based methods.

Such technology, like AI chatbots, go a long way in reassuring candidates – goodwill that puts a shine on an employer’s brand. It cuts down on dead time, that black hole of communication in which the anxious candidate wonders if their references have been contacted. Now, there’s no more guessing games.

Here’s proof that well-designed HR tech can actually humanize and improve your hiring experience: A significant number of Talent Board’s 2017 North American Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards, which is given to employers who provide “an exemplary candidate experience” to job candidates, use SkillSurvey ReferenceTM reference-checking technology.

Learn more about how to make recruiting and hiring more applicant-friendly. Read here about the successes of real-live companies who are hiring more effectively with new HR technology.

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