Is Our Recruiting Efficiency Hurting Our Company?

Jan 12, 2012
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

Have we become too impersonal today? Too efficient? Will that hurt recruitment in the long run?

Think about it. We’ve got wonderful technology. We no longer need to sift through hundreds of job applicants by hand. We select our criteria and wham — we have our list of candidates. We’ve got efficient phone systems; individuals interested in working for us or talking to us can simply punch in the right numbers. “Press 1 if you … press 2 if you…”

The calls are directed automatically. As recruiting and HR professionals we can then call them back if we want. If not, well …. they don’t know who they’re calling anyway. Makes things so easy for us …. Doesn’t it?

The systems are set up so we barely have to do anything. Which of course we all know in reality doesn’t quite work that way. But the concept sure sounds like a dream.

And we have become anonymous. As people. As individuals. As a company. Particularly when it comes to the outside world and those applicants we really don’t want to deal with. The ones who take up a lot of our time when they do not have the qualifications for the job. Those individuals who call and call and call. Those individuals who are not going to be hired by us. Ever. And that’s great. That’s where the technology comes in handy and is extremely beneficial.

But what about those individuals who could be an asset to our company? Or at least are worth strong consideration for positions. Are we slighting them? Do we miss out on even talking to them because of the screening criteria we’ve used, or the way they’ve worded their resumes? How about the individual who never made it beyond a voicemail left to some anonymous machine because the right person never got the message? If we had met with them maybe we would have known immediately they would have been a strong contributor to our organization. What about those people?

We all know the value of a face-to-face conversation. As an experienced recruiter, you typically know within minutes of meeting a candidate if they are a strong prospect or not. You know what hiring managers are looking for. You know strong contributors when you see them. You understand that many times the resume does not always reflect the true nature of an individual. Their drive. Their ambition. A positive outlook. A new way of looking at things. A team player. A strong communicator. Those things just simply cannot be fully grasped unless you sit down with someone personally. But of course that does not always happen. It can’t. There is simply not the time.

And with face-to-face communication we add another element. That of accountability. We feel a stronger need to get back to people. We’ve met them. We’ve looked in their eyes. We’ve made a promise. We’ve given them our word. We’ve told them we will get back to them. And it becomes a lot easier to do so. And a lot more important to us.

So … can efficiency be hurting us? It does beg the question: are we sometimes missing out by being too driven by technology and ease of systems? Would a little bit more of a personal touch improve recruiting? Improve our employee base? Increase retention? Build a stronger brand? Even enhance sales? Now that’s an interesting thought.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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