Technology has of course transformed every aspect of our lives, at work and at leisure, and continues to do so. The impact of the internet and digital processes over the past 20-30 years is incalculable, and the pace of change shows no sign of slowing down. Virtual reality, the Internet of Things, 3-D printing, rapidly improving AI, and machine learning, are just some of the phenomena that are either just around the corner, or that are already making their presence felt in dramatic ways.
It should come as no surprise then that human resources and recruitment are among the areas being changed by new technology. The processes of matching the right person to a job role and then making sure that the needs of both the company and the individual are being met are ones that can potentially be greatly improved by judicious application of technology. We’ll see how developments in fields including communication, data processing and analysis are allowing ever-more accurate recruitment, hiring and career management while freeing up human employees to better focus their time and energy.
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Digital technology and the internet have already changed how job vacancies are advertised and candidates found. Jobseekers are now much more likely to search for suitable vacancies online than in the “want ads” of the local paper or even an industry-specific magazine. The internet allows job searches to be as wide or as specific as you wish, with filters including geographical area, business sector, salary levels and requirements all easy to apply to scalable degrees.
It’s also now possible to connect with recruiters and business management directly through platforms like LinkedIn. This direct connection can bypass traditional recruitment agencies altogether, so they are having to offer more services in order to stay relevant, and those extra services are also usually technology-driven. Individuals can network virtually without having to attend industry events that may be hard for them to get to.
For recruiters, the internet gives them a global talent pool to choose from. It also makes it easier to connect with “passive candidates” who may not be actively looking for a new job at the moment, but would be willing to discuss the right opportunity. Email, text messages and Skype have also all made applying for jobs, contacting applicants and conducting interviews easier and faster than the old methods of letters, phone calls and face-to-face meetings.
The next step in recruitment technology is already with us in the form of innovative platforms and software that use the predictive capabilities of AI to streamline and improve the recruitment process. The former CEO and co-founder of HR software provider 1-Page, Joanna Riley, now helps run Censia, a talent intelligence platform for predictive sourcing of candidates that essentially allows companies to hire better people, faster.
Censia uses candidate modelling based on real people, generally the top performers in any given industry. This AI-driven modelling is combined with predictive matching tools that find the best person for the job role based on the pre-assigned criteria.
Another recent development is the appearance of video interview platforms, where applicants answer pre-scripted questions and face challenges inspired by the world of video games. Their answers, choice of words and even their facial expressions are then analyzed by AI programs. This allows employers to narrow down the list of suitable candidates, and applicants to practice for real-life interviews.
The advantage of AI in candidate selecting and screening is that it operates entirely without bias and focuses solely on the specified criteria for the job role, such as experience, skills and qualifications. Human beings often have an unconscious bias that we may not even be aware of. Tiny details, from a candidate’s photo to their address or even just their name or the way they phrase a sentence may trigger associations that could influence the decision on whether to select them or not.
The ubiquity of social media means that it undoubtedly has an impact on the recruitment process, even if it isn’t officially recognized. Employers will increasingly check the social media profiles of applicants as a matter of course, and any information that is publically accessible about them will affect the decision on whether they get the job. What does your social media profile say about you to an employer? Are you revealing aspects of your life that you’d rather keep private?
Job hunters can use social media to their advantage however. Posting about industry-related topics, connecting with well-known professionals, and sharing the latest news, demonstrates a level of passion and ambition within your chosen field that will be sure to impress potential employers. Be aware, however, that as well as checking social media, employers will use search engines to do a general background check on you. In this technologically-driven age, individuals need to learn to manage their personal brand just as corporate entities do.