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So Long, 'Post-and-Pray': Katherine Jones on the Future of Recruiting Technology

Cornerstone Editors

Recruiters are tapping into an array of new tools and apps these days to attract top talent. Yet using the right technology isn’t the only factor in successful prospecting — it’s what you do with it that counts, says Katherine Jones, the Lead Analyst for HCM Technology at Bersin by Deloitte. Here's her take on the potential — and limits — of recruiting tech.

How has the approach to online recruiting changed in recent years?

It’s no longer the post-and-pray of posting a job and seeing who applies for it. Now savvy recruiters are looking across social sites to see what kind of talent there is. It’s not about filling a job, it’s about finding talent for your organization — and often that talent is already happily employed. There’s a long courtship of introducing the company in a nice way and continually talking with a possibly passive candidate to start getting them interested in the company.

How have you seen a shift in the recruiting process from focusing on the company to focusing on the candidate?

Rather than being all about the company, career websites are creating positive candidate relationships by talking about their employment brand. It’s about creating a true, authentic representation of what it’s like working there. If a recruiter makes up a view of the company that’s fabricated, they’re going to have a lot of people running from the company once they’ve been hired.

How can a company effectively define its culture for new prospects?

Let me give you an example: A recruiter who was new to the company had employees take yellow stickies and post the words that they associated with the company all over a glass wall. From that she was able to glean what people really thought about working there. Then when she wrote her description about the company culture, she went back to those same people to see if her description accurately portrayed the company. What I loved about that example is often people make up a culture but don’t check to see if it’s real or not.

That company also had "A Day in the Life" videos where the employees voiced their opinions and felt valued. It worked in two different ways — it was true for candidates to get a flavor for the company, but also the employees benefited because they felt they’ve had their say.

Where is recruiting tech going to take us in the years to come?

We’ve seen a big growth in the "Apply with LinkedIn" button, and that type of trend will grow. What that means is that people can start applying without going through a long tedious application online, and recruiters can find out about interested candidates earlier. The change is toward a kinder, lighter way of applying for a job. But there’s a flipside for the recruiter. Many more people express casual interest which means it’s a more overwhelming process of sorting through people.

How can recruiters stay focused at a time when tech is rapidly changing so much about their work?

There are a lot of things on your website that can help people make intelligent choices, such as gamification and video simulation, so it’s not just the recruiter saying, "I need someone who has five years of experience and this person only has four, so begone." For example, a high-end jewelry company made a simulation where you choose an avatar that puts candidates in the shoes as a sales associate. Someone comes in looking for a present for his wife or a customer comes in to complain about something, and you can tell whether you like the job tasks. So people who think Yikes, I would hate this can screen themselves out. The more information that lets people do self-screening, the better off everyone is.

Sometimes these come in the form of quizzes, or for technical roles, they have candidates write some code. They can figure out ahead of time whether they can do it, and recruiters can evaluate the quality of their work. This type of technology isn’t very time-intensive for recruiters and helps candidates self-screen.

Image via Can Stock Photo

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