Technology is advancing at a greater pace than many of us may have ever predicted. The impact on the talent acquisition process has been immense.

The use of job adverts to fill a role is dying, as is the value of company career websites as a standalone tool. The simple reason is that people are actively searching for jobs less. Instead, jobs are finding them – something that is easier to do now that we are all virtually connected.

While some commentators may be concerned with this growth of passive candidates, I am encouraged by it. The world is full of potential employees and it’s impossible to reach them all with a job advert or standard careers site.

Added to this, the trend we’ve seen over recent years of sourcing as many candidates as possible in the hope of finding the perfect individual has led to a shocking amount of wastage in the hiring process. In fact, we recently conducted a survey with Social Talent which found that three quarters of those considered for a job do not meet role requirements. This mismatch is evident in further findings that 282 candidates are, on average, considered for every role.

Improved tools

These shocking figures suggest that a worrying number of hiring processes are inefficient: but they don’t have to be. Advances in technology mean it is now much easier for HR to identify those with the right skills – both technically and more competency based attributes – and evaluate if or when they are ready to make a career move. This approach then enables employers to either directly contact and engage with individuals, or push them to careers information or social sites to engage on a long-term basis.

But the use of technology doesn’t have to, and indeed shouldn’t, stop after the identification stage. There is now a vast array of assessment tools available to help not only identify the best talent, but also provide a more robust candidate experience. However, many aren’t necessarily used as often or as well as they could be due to what I believe is a fear of technology, particularly in the SME community where decision makers are arguably more risk averse. Video is a good example of this.

We live in a virtual world, yet the assessment process is very much stuck in the need for physical meetings. The right person for a job might be in a different city or even country and as such may rule themselves out of a job because they cannot make the strict face-to-face interviews, even if they are open to the possibility of relocating for a new position. However, video interviews and assessments make it feasible for anyone to apply for a job.

So why aren’t these being used more, particularly in SME businesses where geographical constraints are perhaps more prevalent? Simply because decision makers are sceptical of making a hiring decision without ever meeting them in the flesh. But this needs to change.

Natural scepticism

As a case in point we recently worked with an investment bank which was adverse to video technology initially, but was open to trialling new approaches. We set up a pilot video assessment process for one area of the company with great success.

The result was a reduction in time to hire and costs, less wastage in the recruitment process, engagement with a significantly larger talent pool without compromising on the quality of candidates and an improved candidate experience. In fact, it was so successful that this has now been rolled out across the rest of the business.

It was the company’s willingness to try something new that’s key in this example. It’s only human nature to be cautious of new things, but that doesn’t mean we should completely avoid change.

I’d like to stress that what needs to happen immediately is a change in people’s perceptions and I know this is possible, not only because I have achieved this with many businesses, but also because I myself had a change of heart about the use of video assessments.

There was a time when I was a bit old fashioned and didn’t think a hiring decision could possibly be made without meeting someone in person. But I’ve seen it work, I’ve lived it now and I’ve performed a complete U-turn on the subject. Having been reassured that video platforms enable users to complete a thorough assessment process and seeing first-hand the benefits for all parties involved, I am now a real advocate of these tools.

As a previous sceptic I understand the reservations many may have had, but I implore anyone involved in talent acquisition and management not to rule out technology yet. We’re not in the dark ages anymore and our thinking needs to evolve, regardless of our company’s size.

Be brave. Don’t let technophobia hold you and your business back, at least give it a try before you rule it out completely. 

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