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Recently, MightyRecruiter put together a compilation of interviews with recruiting-industry influencers. Because I'm a guy who publishes a lot about technology, I took the liberty of sifting through this "2017 Hiring Trends and Predictions" eBook in order to find the most important insights into how technology will (or won't) change the future of recruiting. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts, along with some of my own commentary:
1. Laurie Ruettimann, Founder and Principal, Glitchpath:
"It's about the right mix of technology and in-real-life, human-to-human experiences. It's important to have regular, reliable, repeatable patterns and good data in your recruiting processes to ensure that candidates are all treated the same way. That said, you can't use technology to do the work that humans do. It's got to be the right blend of technology and human interaction. One of the lessons for recruiters is that you can't Skype your way to an effective hiring decision. You have to bring candidates in and spend some time with them."
My take: If you conduct fewer face-to-face meetings, you increase your risk of making bad hires. Especially when you're hiring for important roles, you want to take some time to study the "little things" about candidates – their demeanor, how they greet the office manager, the enthusiasm they bring to the room.
Ruettimann's point definitely resonates with me: "You can't Skype your way to an effective hiring decision."
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2. Steve Levy, Principal, Recruiting Inferno Consulting:
"While technology is playing an important role, personal relationships – the ability to find that visceral connection between your company and the person you're talking to – is the linchpin.
"Hopefully [the No. 1 takeaway recruiters learned in 2016] was a reaffirmation that personalization, messaging, and reaching out to people in human ways is better than sitting back and assuming the technology will do it for you. Too many recruiters don't get it, and it is evident in what candidates say about them. Have you ever Googled the phrase, 'Recruiters are' without hitting 'return'? 'Worthless,' 'evil,' [and] 'annoying' appear."
My take: Recruiters definitely need to care more about reputation. It lives forever online. Are you someone a prospective candidate would want to talk to? For the best recruiters, the answer is a resounding "yes." Moving forward, the very role of "recruiter" will not survive if candidates continue to perceive the profession as worthless, evil, and annoying. The difficulty here is in balancing the helpful and hurtful natures of technology. Technology can increase efficiency by communicating more with candidates, but it can also be detrimental in the way it reduces meaningful human interactions.
3. Gerry Crispin, Principal and Founder, CareerXroads:
"[The technologies I see gaining greater traction and prevalence in 2017 are] chatbots, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. We are reaching a point where machines will represent humans in a way in which an objective observer cannot determine the difference. For example, prescreening candidates will become an automated process using chatbots backed with machine learning and AI."
My take: Chatbots altered history in 2016. Chatbots can save companies tons of time while providing their customers with some interactive and always accessible touchpoints. Right now, chatbots are largely used for things like booking flights, ordering dinner, and handling customer service issues. Recruiting is next.
4. Katrina Collier, Chief Searchologist amd Social Recruiting Expert, The Searchologist:
"Recruiters who are winning know the art of conversation. They are pre-social media and maybe even pre-Internet. They know how to dig in and be creative in finding candidates. At the same time, they are using technology tools to have better conversations with candidates."
My take: Are you noticing a theme? You cannot overestimate the importance of how your company communicates with its candidates. When you bring technology into your candidate communication efforts, you better implement it well. Technology can certainly widen your recruitment marketing funnel and help you find more great candidates, but if your recruiters are not great conversationalists, your company will maintain a poor candidate close rate.
5. Kyle Lagunas, Research Manager of Emerging Trends and Technologies (Talent Acquisition and Staffing Services), IDC:
"The three big words this coming year for me are 'consistency,' 'scale,' and 'operationalized.' Those organizations that adhere to these will succeed when they roll out new recruiting and hiring strategies and technologies. Those that miss on these will struggle and probably even fail."
My take: Leave it to Lagunas to boil the corporate recruiting trends of 2017 down to three words. I myself would probably go with "communication," "scale," and "the machine" – as in, communication frames all employment offers, you can't argue with or underestimate the importance of scaling, and I think "the machine" is a more entertaining way to say that a recruiting department needs to keep producing.
That's my take, but you can read the full interviews for yourself by checking out the eBook. Aside from the experts mentioned here, the book also contains insights from Stephanie Tan, head of talent at Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center, and Bill Kutik, managing editor at Firing Line with Bill Kutik.
David Smooke is CEO and partner at the digital storytelling firm ArtMap Inc. and its media arm, AMI Publications. You can read more of his recruitment content on 42Hire. Find him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.