Technology has already revolutionized HR. Everything from streamlining candidate communication via email, focusing data storage and retrieval with cloud services, and analyzing employee performance—21st-century tech has already had a lasting impact on the sector. That said, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA) and advanced analytics coming out of the data sciences are all set to create even bigger waves as we enter the belly of the century.
The Changing Labor Market
We don’t have to tell you that today’s labor market is a bit...different. Starting with the recession in ‘08, it’s been shifting toward being more candidate-focused. And the current labor shortage has accelerated that shift, to the point where it’s no longer enough to post openings on job boards then sit back and wait for applications. Recruiters have to be proactive, reaching passive job seekers where they spend their time and getting the company EB in front of them. More employers than ever are struggling to fill open jobs—45% across the globe say they can't find the skills they need, up from 40% in 2017 and the highest its been in over a decade. (
Large firms have twice as much difficulty filling roles: 67% report hiring challenges, and nearly a quarter say they’re having more difficulty now than a year ago. Thirty-five percent say a lack of applicants is their biggest challenge and that job-seekers expect higher pay than what they are willing to offer (14%) compared with micro-employers (9%).
It’s time for a new approach to the big talent problem. Companies need to understand that candidates are also consumers, which means that in order to attract and engage the best and brightest, HR teams need to be a master marketers. In a punishing labor market, employers must work hard to attract candidates by showcasing a strong employee value proposition, clear purpose, and a winning culture.
At all points of the candidate’s journey, from passive social media follower all the way through happy new hire, there are touchpoints where the candidate is interacting with you, your team, and your company. And each of these touchpoints stands to be optimized with the use of these emerging technologies:
• Social media automation to get the word out, even when you’re out of the office.
• An application process that’s quick and easy to navigate, especially on mobile devices.
• Automated status updates, company news, and interview tips.
• Seamless integration between your RMA and your ATS.
That is but a sample of the ways technology can impact your HR department’s activities. The changing recruiting landscape is one area where these emerging technologies stand to change the also emerging practice of recruitment marketing.
Bots for the win!
Robotic process automation is a way to automate business processes previously believed to be human dependent. In short: RPA uses software-based robots, known as “bots” to perform rote, repetitive, and data-driven tasks by virtually recording the human workflow, then automating it. These bots work via the user interface of even the most legacy software, rather than from the back end via something like an API. This means that rather than programming ability, all that’s required is a detailed knowledge of the process steps in order to configure the bots.
You’ve undoubtedly encountered RPA in your online wanderings. Remember when you contacted your bank via chat? Those initial questions you were asked, the ones about why you’re getting in touch, what your account number is, and so on? That was a chatbot. Once the bot collects the basic information, you were then passed to a live person who handled the more intuitive aspects of your interaction.
These chatbots often use AI and machine learning to adjust how they interact with people, whether it’s a different way of asking a question, or learning that one answer is typically followed by another and starting to combine those questions. This ability to learn and make adjustments on the fly is one of the primary functions of this technology, no matter where it’s being deployed.
Imagine the impact this can have on your candidate’s experience. Rather than needing several members of your team sitting on the receiving end of chat all day, the bots can handle a large percentage of the queries that come in, while your team can focus on the more complex questions, discussing specific interview questions, or conducting initial phone screenings.
Along with chatbots, RPA is useful for sending automatic emails, then collecting peoples responses in a database for future use. The bots can be configured to automatically send things like surveys to a certain subset of your contact database, then when people respond, the same bots can parse their answers and compile everything into a relational database that you can use to tailor your RM activities in the future.
The bottom line, as with so many things, is ROI. When you can take the rote, repetitive tasks like data collection and entry, off your team’s hands and let technology handle them, your team can move on to the human-centric and intuitive work of HR. Things like conducting interviews, sending thoughtful, personalized emails, and working with hiring managers to sort out exactly what they’re looking for in a new team member.
And the emerging technology of the last few years is set to make all that happen, and so much more. Recruitment marketing automation and RPA together can help you streamline your candidate’s journey, ensuring not one candidate gets lost in the shuffle or walks due to a lack of updates.
Of course, robots aren't the only technology with the potential to make a big impact on HR. On a basic level, it’s simply never been easier to reach out and connect with someone. Your team and department can use email or Slack channels to keep internal stakeholders updated. Your recruiters can use email, text messages, Facebook Messenger, Slack, or WhatsApp to ensure their candidates have all the information they need for a successful candidate’s journey.
On top of this layer of tech, automation is set to carry on with the time and energy saving by allowing you to create workflows that can take the repetitive tasks off your plate, letting you and your team focus on the people-centric aspects of your work. With today’s recruitment automation solutions, automated email workflows can be used for everything, starting with initial contact when someone submits an application, to say “Thanks!” and let them know what to expect moving forward.
Then another workflow can send an update email after a predetermined period of time, should you not have any updates, to let them know you haven’t forgotten about them and maybe share some general company updates. And ultimately, these workflows can be used to provide information on the coming interview cycle, share updates about the team they’ve applied to, and even remind them when to come in.
Speaking of the candidate’s journey and all those people who are mid-funnel, did you remember to get their preferred contact method? Because you can also automate updates via platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger for those who don’t prefer email.