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The balance between human ‘touch’ v ‘technology’ in today’s recruitment sector

09/04/19 Michael Diozzi Consultant, R&D / Engineering

The recruitment landscape is always changing. As technology becomes cheaper and more readily available, businesses need to continually adapt their recruitment strategies to identify the best talent.

The digital age has helped revolutionise the way engineering and technology companies acquire talent. Traditional methods of attracting highly skilled candidates no longer work to previous levels. Indeed, the biggest issue facing the industry is a 'war for talent', both against direct competitors, and the newest industries often seen as offering more attractive careers such as AI, robotics, driverless vehicles, etc.

The job market has continued to become ever more candidate-driven, with the unemployment rate in the UK edging down to 3.9 percent, its lowest level since November 1974 and Germany's seasonally adjusted and harmonised unemployment edging down to 3.1 percent in February 2019. It was the lowest jobless rate since March 1980.

The millennial generation is undoubtedly different to generations that have come before – and the way most people source information and learn are the key differentiators.

Growing up connected to the internet has meant generational changes. We live in a world where, if you want to learn something new, there are YouTube videos, podcasts and access to apps which teach us new things every day.

This array of informational methods, gives the current candidate community far more power in choosing the job opportunities they are interested in and the companies they want to work for.

Candidates still prefer a high level of human ‘touch’ when applying for jobs and undertaking the  recruitment process, believing human recruiters to be better at identifying talent versus technology, according to a survey published by The 5% Club and Schneider Electric UK.

With the rise of machine-learning and predictive analysis becoming an efficient way for many organisations to find and recruit talent, this has allowed for some limited improvements in the hiring process, removing bias and managing high numbers of applicants.

However, according to The 5% Club, companies that fail to embrace the balance between regular human ‘touch’ points and the right forms of technology, risk finding themselves on the losing side of an increasingly digital war for talent, with candidates turning to companies who succeed in getting the balance and technology right.

Moreover, we are currently in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. It is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advances commensurate with those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions. This speed of revolution is forcing organisations to rethink the way they create value forcing changes across many aspects of our working lives especially within manufacturing and management areas.

This creates a challenge for the current workforce to gain a new set of skills that will render them qualified in their chosen field.

We spoke with Michael Diozzi, Redline’s Contract and Interim consultant regarding the use of recruitment technology in the hiring process. 

“Recruitment and technology share a long history,” says Michael. “The relationship between the two industries formed after the invention of the computer and blossomed once the World Wide Web was established.The emergence of online job boards meant recruiters could move away from the traditional newspaper advert and get “on board” with the digitally-governed, global marketing strategy that is online advertising. This “digital switchover” did not, however, just occur within the recruitment process, as it was not long before recruiters turned to technology to manage their companies, particularly in relation to daily office operations and the hiring process.

According to Schneider’s study, today’s digital natives both professionally and personally still favour many traditional recruitment practices, desiring as much as 75 percent of human interaction throughout the recruitment process. If we want to attract and retain top talent when recruiting for technical jobs, we can’t ignore these findings. Employers must constantly strive to strike the right balance of technology and the ‘human touch’ throughout the recruitment process, offering the right guidance with the technology.

In a knowledge-led and candidate driven market with many employers vying for a similar talent pool, companies must consider the recruitment process as part of their employer brand. Part of this means understanding how candidates want to be treated during the recruitment process, the tools used to assess potential and the candidate ‘journey’ – often the recruit’s first experience of the company. Getting the balance right between human ‘touch’ v ‘technology’ is vital if businesses are going to attract the best early talent, like apprentices, and ultimately fill roles, imperative in the current skills crisis.

In spite of the recruitment industry’s investment in digital services, the human interaction side of recruitment can work alongside technology; there is space for both to exist. While technology is a great asset to the technical recruitment process, particularly with regards to its ability to help companies and recruiters to keep track of candidate applications and log important information, the majority of the recruitment process works best when there is human touch. Recruitment selection involves two main processes: shortlisting candidates and assessing candidates against job-related criteria to make a final selection decision and at the end of the day, people, and not robots, should assess people.

We can help your technology business

At Redline, we’ve streamlined the recruitment process into an efficient method based on our significant insight and research, taking you through competency-based interviews, offer and onboarding processes.

Redline Group offers knowledge-led, tailor-made recruitment programmes to suit clients’ specific needs, adopting a ‘partnership’ approach to ensure a detailed understanding of clients’ objectives and requirements.

For more information regarding how we can help your business, please contact Michael Diozzi, Redline’s Contract & Interim Recruitment Consultant on 01582 878818 or email MDiozzi@RedlineGroup.com.