A simple search for "lack of skilled workers" will throw up a slew of results highlighting the issue of talent crisis that is affecting every industry. Globally, 40 per cent of employers are having difficulty filling the positions, according to Manpower Group Survey. While the problems related to talent shortage are many, a key issue concerns the process of hiring the right candidate.
For the past 20 years, the recruitment process has been a linear or horizontal approach - find the candidate, track the candidate and perform the process. The emergence of Web 2.0 technologies (social media, blogs, vlogs and more) has provided a cost-effective system that does not follow the linear approach of recruiting. Online resumes and social media accounts help the recruitment industry scale up and go nearly 100 per cent digital.
But in 2016, the recruitment industry has seen a major shift with three of its key players, namely, Naukri, Monster and CareerBuilder, getting acquired or being put up for sale. That is not all. Tech industry giant Microsoft has entered the game with its recent acquisition of LinkedIn. Its aim is to increase efficiency while reducing cost of operations. Vertical integration along the value chain has rattled the recruitment space and the industry is witnessing a sudden rise in start-ups focused on recruitment technology. Companies are targeting three aspects of recruitment - recruitment marketing, artificial intelligence or AI and automation.
Recruitment marketing is rapidly becoming the top talent acquisition strategy. What is contributing to the success of recruitment technology is the refinement in 'people analytics', with the help of Big Data. Cloud-based recruitment tools allow recruiters to intelligently pick the right candidate for the job while innovative assessment and filtering techniques are providing a holistic view of applicants. On an average, recruiters take up to 23 hours to screen resumes for a single hire. Big Data, and its integration with social media, are also helping recruiters save the time and labour required to manually sift through loads of resumes. This has been highly effective to find the right candidates from the 'spray-and-pray' lot.
The use of smartphones has also been a major technology disruptor in the recruitment industry. Mobile platforms are helping end-to-end recruitment processes, especially in mass recruitment scenarios. For instance, Hire.Me tapped into the potential of using smartphones as a medium for hiring. Through its native mobile app, recruiters can reach, engage, assess and shortlist candidates from any corner of the world. The mobile solution also features a quick and easy application for candidates with video-recorded interview, skill assessment and language assessment tools. Recruiters and candidates both benefit from Hire.Me and save on months of searching for the right candidate for the required job.
Other forms of disruptive innovation can be seen with the introduction of AI. Using AI and machine learning, tools are constantly being developed to aid the hiring process. Most AI-based tools cover 75 per cent of the recruitment process, mainly focusing on data analysis and identifying candidates for pre-interview sessions. AI systems are rapidly growing owing to their speed and efficiency. An added benefit is its unbiased approach to processing candidates across geographical boundaries. In the future AI is set to take over all the steps - even the person-to-person interactions. However, the ethical and technological barriers for end-end integration of AI are yet to be completely understood.
While AI is in its initial stages of adoption, gamification is proving to be an efficient solution for mass recruitments. An innovative process, gamification is the latest trend in attracting passive candidates and also a part of talent attraction marketing. Large companies like Google, Formapost and Umbel are creating immersive platforms to hire desired candidates. Prospective candidates are tested on real-world processes via an engaging game-based platform.
The last trend affecting the recruitment space is the need for automation for screening a high volume of candidates. Automating the recruitment process, right from job posting, matching, assessing and finally to onboarding of candidates is a process that is continuously evolving. Innovations in machine learning and natural language processing are being employed to automate most of the recurring tasks. These include data collation, fact-checking, pre-screening, interviewing and background checks.
Most recruiting organisations use some form of applicant tracking system (ATS) to create their candidate database. The system has helped recruiters reach out to passive candidates based on their application history. Companies are investing in talent acquisition platforms that integrate ATS and CRMs to reduce paperwork and increase data accountability. AI-powered chatbots are excellent for engaging a candidate and performing in-chat pre-screening. Recruitment chatbots like Mya are helping automate 75 per cent of the hiring process.
The use of analytics and complex algorithms has helped recruiters' benchmark and baseline their hiring results. Recruiters are no longer looking to just fill a job vacancy - it is all about quality over quantity. Thus, transforming the recruitment process from a transactional exercise to a strategic approach involves the use of various technological tools for better talent acquisition. At the end of the day, technology is to aid the recruiter to make an informed decision, letting them concentrate more on candidate engagement.
Philip Kurian is Country Manager and Director, Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessment