Artificial intelligence has made headlines around the world in the last few years. Recruiting has naturally been impacted by these technology changes. Bots and machines claim greater efficiency than human recruiters in picking out the best matches from millions of profiles in a large database of candidates. Companies have been advertising their vacancies on several platforms – online as well as offline, spreading the word about their open positions in the talent market using many recruitment agencies and involving their own employees to seek referrals. Yet they find it a challenge to reach the right person. And sometimes when they do reach, they cannot attract the best talent. Why is it so?
Attracting Talent is not same as Advertising
For any marketing campaign to reach its target audience successfully, we put together a message and advertise it using the right media. Similarly for recruitment, we should be able to copy-paste the same practice and catch the right talent. We have to write a message to attract talent, define our target audience and reach them using the media that is frequented by our target pool of talent. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Recruiters create a document called job description. They leverage all the sources they can command to identify the target talent pool using various search methods and automated tools. Then the long-list of potential talent are reached by emails, texts, automated phone calls, display notifications and adverts. This approach seems pretty robust. Yet, companies fail to attract the best.
The problem lies in all three components here : the message, the media used and the tenor of the message. In order to standardise the communication, companies define a job description. This is a piece of lifeless art which does not talk to the target audience. What is the motivation for someone who is already doing well on his job to evaluate a new opportunity? Active job-seekers will be happy to grab an opportunity, however an employer is looking to hire the best. What if an active job seeker is not the best?
Secondly, the technology tools carrying this piece of lifeless message are impersonal and do not make it a compelling proposition before a human. Last but not the least, the targeted person is asked to apply for the job by clicking a few buttons and gets no human contact. After he or she applies, the application often gets into a black hole. Most often, there is just an automated response sent out to the applicant and that’s it!
Job change is one among the three most significant transitions in one’s life. If I am not desperate, can such a major change be kick-started in my life by a non-human interface?
We must have a story to tell
Job descriptions were intended to help define a job and create a shared understanding about the job in an enterprise. This was never intended for talent attraction. Unfortunately, over a period of time, its purpose has been diluted.
The line manager and the recruiter have to collaboratively define the ideal person they are looking to hire. They have to craft a message creatively to attract the best-fit candidate. Job description can be an attachment but cannot be the main tool to communicate. The message has to be a story that helps a prospective candidate visualise a future. This has to be done by human intelligence, insights and intuition. Technology can help in identifying potential choices but cannot build the story on its own. That’s really the value that a Recruiter needs to bring to the process.
Who delivers the story and how?
It is important that the story takes into account what we are looking for, what we are offering, what a potential candidate is looking for and hence, why should he or she pick this up. The story has to be compelling so that we are able to hold the attention of the listener and make a promise that matters to him or her. Once the message is crafted, technology can carry it to the right audience.
We have technology tools that create the freedom and flexibility for a potential candidate to review the opportunity and decide if he or she should pursue this further. These tools do come handy in the backdrop of the demanding schedules all of us have. We can send a curtain-raiser first and then, take the next step of a meeting or conversation in person.
The recruiter who speaks to the candidate needs to not only provide information but also build credibility, seek information, judge suitability, sense the state of mind of the candidate and empathise with him or her. This calls for not only knowledge about the opportunity, the industry sector and the job market but also the social skills and personality traits to relate with a variety of people, care for their ambitions and help them shape their future. Technology is not yet there. We need humans to do this!
We need high order personal interactions to make the hiring process holistic and successful.