Many people have taken time during the pandemic to reflect on their careers. Some may not come back to work while others have decided to focus on professional advancement. Meanwhile, just as COVID-19 has upended our personal lives, it has forced companies to make structural changes – including talent acquisition. Companies like CVS, Cisco, PwC, Delta, Vodafone, Unilever and others have invested in technology to automate recruiting.
Procedurally, many of these companies are testing for cognitive abilities to determine candidate attributes and qualities and bypassing vital conversations that go beyond their technical ability. While that may save time for recruiters to focus on other tasks while staying socially distant, this automation can miss a crucial element for employers – a human connection with applicants.
Instinctively, one can learn a lot about candidates through the application process and dialogue – how they follow instructions, how they schedule an interview, their demeanor during an interview, and, most importantly, how they connect with a person already working at the company.
I have interviewed many candidates during my career, and by connecting with candidates, I have learned more about their current situation, their aspirations and overall dynamics. I also stay in touch. In my experience, the simplicity of this human connection overrules any system that may dehumanize the hiring process and treat applicants like just another number.
Sure, you can argue that recruiters should adapt with the times and embrace technology. We certainly do here at ECU. After all, we are a digital savvy marketing agency. But this trend, one of many ways the pandemic has changed recruiting, is also a detriment to recruiters and many headhunters.
Much of our job as recruiters is to determine a person’s work ethic and behavioral quirks, and to dig deep on why they are genuinely applying for a position. Often, it’s the soft skills that make a difference, observations that can’t be captured by an impersonal computerized assessment.
Nothing feels better than having the right eye on a candidate and agreeing he or she is our person to make a difference for our department or company. Every company and organization wants to hire the right candidate, but sometimes it’s just a matter of seeing the big picture and taking a chance on someone. It goes back to basics. Human beings do not always need a significant scientific process to understand them; it’s a matter of communication – getting to know another human being – and taking a chance on them as long as they meet the job requirements.
As technology advances and takes root in tasks that were once the domain of human intuitions, we cannot forget we are all human beings, and no technology will take that away from us. We need to have empathy, knowledge on how to connect with our applicants. For some, a transactional approach works, but many want a human connection.
More than ever, recruiters are the first person to represent your company. If all you hire are excellent test takers and not individuals who have a combination of interpersonal and critical-thinking skills, your hires may fall short and might not fit the culture of your company, costing you time, efficiency and missed opportunities.
-Fatima F., HR Specialist at ECU Communications
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