Automated technology is a powerful tool that can assist recruitment specialists in collecting specific information about the process and enabling analysis, which can drive much greater efficiency. Collecting and collating granular metrics along the lines of CV to interview ratio and time from offer to onboarding really allows for the fine tuning of the recruitment engine. If a headline statistic like time to hire is down in a particular region, delving into the numbers for specific actions or responsibilities within the process can reveal where support is required.

But with the recruitment market evolving at an unprecedented pace and more platforms for recruitment than ever before, and a corresponding increase in the sources of information, such systems have to be agile. An organisation’s recruitment process should never be static; it should be persistently interrogated with a view to improvement – and therefore the means by which data is captured and analysed must be adaptable.

With the rise of big data and much more information available than ever before, it’s tempting to believe that automation is a necessity from day one. But if you are refining the recruitment process and have therefore re-assessed (or just formalised) the points at which you wish to capture information, and now know exactly what the most useful metrics will be for your organisation, but have yet to invest in a solution, immediate automation can be more of a hindrance than a help.

That is not to say never implement automated systems, but rather that prior to doing so it’s important to ensure that the recruitment process is running smoothly and that the capture points and metrics identified are the correct ones for your unique requirements. As difficult as it might be to acknowledge, for those not buying into a ready-made recruitment function and accompanying bespoke system such as that provided by a quality RPO, this demands labour-intensive manual input for the first months after a process has been adopted.

Inputting data into spreadsheets and creating pivot tables manually will allow the team to swiftly identify whether the information being fed into the system is useful and actionable. At this point, the process can still be tweaked and tested, whereas if an expensive automated software solution is already in place and the underlying process is adjusted, it can be far more difficult to engineer compatibility. With a thoroughly audited manual process having been up and running for a set period, implementing automation should be a much smoother experience and will deliver superior results.

As the process will be further adjusted after a period of time to incorporate new efficiencies, enhanced techniques or in line with new strategic business objectives, when selecting a solution it needs the capacity to accommodate these changes.

However, it’s not uncommon to come across companies that already have a cutting edge system with a wealth of value-add functionality, but it is not a solution that aligns to their needs – and therefore so much of the power lies dormant. For those in such a situation seeking to improve the underlying recruitment process, there are undoubtedly additional challenges, including whether the system will support the changes and if so, how to back-engineer the technology for the new demands.

In the first instance, consult with your chosen provider and clarify any additional costs that might be incurred as a result. If an outsource partner is leading the process change, they should have experience of interacting with a range of software solutions and, if they have a proprietary system, this should be able to interface with any existing automated technology.

While manually inputting data is no recruiter’s favourite task, the value of doing so is immeasurable. It allows you (or your outsource partner) to clarify exactly what your organisation’s specific needs are, and therefore select or create a bespoke, agile and – above all – correct solution.