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Today’s recruitment efforts can have quite a bit in common with an advanced science experiment. Algorithms match talent to an organization’s needs or pinpoint stellar employee performance. Machine learning from Big Data can even predict which employees are most likely to quit.

But just because technology improves certain recruiting functions doesn’t mean hiring managers will be out of work anytime soon. 

“In embracing the science, never forget the art. Technology is not infallible. Remember the human dimension,” Meghan Biro writes on Forbes. “The best HR practitioners and leaders know their organizations and culture brand on a visceral level.”

Researchers at the University of Oxford studied 500 different jobs to predict the likelihood that each would be replaced by technology within the next 15 years. Human resources management positions rank among the least likely to be automated.

Technology simplifies the more mundane tasks of recruiting, such as combing through thousands of resumes to find qualified candidates, but there are many areas where it simply cannot (or at the very least shouldn’t) replace the human aspect.

1. Candidates don’t want to be hired by a machine.

Personal relationships are key to filling positions. In many cases, recruiters are the ones who make a first impression on applicants. Just as potential hires need to sell themselves to the company, recruiters are tasked with selling their employer brand to candidates. New hires will have a hard time getting a feel for company culture or negotiating a contract with avatars.

2. Hiring decisions require intuition.

“An organization can have the best ATS [applicant tracking system] on the market, but attracting candidates and filling positions comes down to personal interactions between applicants, recruiters and interviewers,” Patrick Clark writes in Business 2 Community. Through face-to-face interactions and situational conversations, recruiters glean important — but not always immediately apparent — information about candidates. They catch subtle, nonverbal cues and personality indicators to understand whether individuals will mesh with company culture.

3. Internal hires and employee referrals still rule the roost.

Companies trust their employees. That’s why internal hiring and referrals from current employees account for the majority of hires, according to the CareerXroads 2013 Source of Hire Report. While software certainly can make the employee referral process easier, recruiters can understand the internal and external relationships that play a significant part in recommending and evaluating talent.

4. Technology enhances the work that recruiters already do.

Rather than displace workers, technology helps them do their jobs better. It helps them post to job boards and schedule interviews efficiently. Technology also broadens the talent pool to global and social audiences. It makes it easier for recruiters to identify talent that they might not otherwise have found. 

5. Technology makes a recruiter’s job more strategic.

“When you automate the right tasks, then it frees up time to do the in-person ones better,” Sharlyn Lauby, the president of HR consultancy ITM Group tells Inc. With administrative burdens off their plates, recruiters have more opportunity for face-to-face communication and personalized attention.

When used correctly, technology makes HR even more human, Clark writes. “Automating the administrative aspects of hiring enables you to focus on strategy, build relationships with candidates and find new hires who will be the best fit for your business needs.”

Photo: Creative Commons