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The world of work is rapidly changing, and this is creating new opportunities and challenges for talent leaders. Technology continues to transform the marketplace with the rise of automation software, which has made it more accessible for hiring managers to discover and engage with top talent. However, the increasing use of tech can make the recruitment process feel impersonal and rushed, leaving candidates feeling like they have not had an individual, engaging experience.

So how can recruiters achieve balance? The key is to use automation only in areas that create value for a company without adversely affecting the candidate experience. To achieve this, it’s important to consider the expectations of candidates. For example, most people want to be able to buy groceries or music in a highly automated way via the web or smart phone, but when their child is ill, they expect a personal experience with their human GP. In other words, the experience and expectation are situation specific and differentiating between the two is key to building a process that maximises the advantages of humans and machines.

If we take a very simple view of the talent acquisition world and the role of the professional teams within it, we can break this down into two major groups of activity: a) enabling processes; and b) customer-facing processes. The former is critical to improving operational and business outcomes and stands to benefit from AI technologies to help streamline and automate repetitive tasks. Doing so frees up recruiters and the talent acquisition team, allowing them to focus on strategic business goals like productivity. When it comes to customer-facing processes, greater consideration is required.

In a high-volume hiring environment, like retail, or when hiring large numbers of people in unskilled labour roles, speed in screening and selecting talent is key and does lend itself to automation. However, a screening and selection process that takes minutes may not fill a skilled hire with the confidence about the experience and, therefore, the organisation. In both scenarios, we’re still operating in a world where person-to-person connections drive the emotional commitment needed to guarantee someone’s time and interest in a role.

To strike the right balance, HR must measure experience and build their process/strategy around it, then measure and monitor and rebuild as the world (and a candidate) changes. To ensure this is done in the right way, automate and digitise the search/sourcing process to help identify talent.

It’s crucial to get the balance right, and personalised tailored outreach is key to forming a solid foundation between both parties and hopefully makes for a high-quality hire. It is essential to keep in contact with the candidates at regular intervals – making them feel valued and au fait with the culture of the business - to increase the chances of their accepting the job offer. As such, smart organisations use digital tools to give prospective hires access to a great deal of information that allow them to personalise their own experience.

While there has never been a better time for employers to explore the possibilities that technological innovation can bring to their recruitment processes, it should not come at the expense of personalisation. It is now so much easier to source and screen talent, but at the same time, there’s an added level of complexity. Organisations need to consider the overall hiring experience, and, more specifically, determine the best mix of ‘tech and touch’ to improve recruitment outcomes. Over-automating puts a hiring strategy at risk of feeling dehumanised and less engaging to potential candidates; whereas relying solely on human input to complete all recruitment stages is often time-consuming and ineffective for hiring on a mass scale. Therefore, it’s important to find a viable middle ground between the two ends of the spectrum and establish what works best for each hiring team.

Author bio

Matt Jones has over ten years’ experience working within Talent Acquisition and HR teams and is member of the Cielo European Executive team.

Cielo is the world's leading strategic Recruitment Process Outsourcing partner. Under its WE BECOME YOU™ philosophy, Cielo's dedicated recruitment teams primarily serve clients in the financial and business services, consumer brands, technology and media, advanced manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare industries. Cielo's global presence includes 2,000 employees, serving 154 clients across 92 countries in 36 languages. Recognized as the most technology-enabled RPO provider, Cielo believes that technology is only as valuable as the human experience it improves. For more information, visit