Recruitment Processes: The human touch

21 July 2017

As part of the expansion of Embedded, I have been looking at responding to adverts for consulting projects through recruitment job boards / posts on specialist consulting websites.  Clearly this is a completely different venture to the word of mouth references I’ve enjoyed so far, but you can’t rely on your mates all the time….

I’ve signed up to a number of services, and entered a profile.  Being a people based search process, you need a CV which I have duly completed and have been submitting with little to no results.  When you look at the volumes of applications there is clearly no surprise there.  So, in the interest of understanding how best to succeed, I engaged with an agency that specialises in CV writing to understand how the whole process works.  It’s quite depressing.

For many of the job board / internet based recruitment services, it is now substantially performed by the robotic document processing of your CV, looking for keywords and typos, to weed out candidates.  Now I would class my CV as being relatively healthy looking, but a specialist ran my CV through the initial vetting process; Applicant Tracking Service or ATS, to see how it faired.  I got 60%, which means I probably wouldn’t get past the first hurdle for most job searches.  I told you it was depressing, especially if you are looking for work.

I suppose it’s no surprise that accessibility of information made possible by the Internet has lead to an increase in awareness of jobs, and therefore a broader set of applicants creates a more onerous task to filter the wheat from the chaff in terms of suitability for job roles.  The ATS score is the first process to cut the “hundreds” of applicants down to “tens”, which then allows the recruiters to focus on the chosen ones to more closely read and prioritise.  Even then, I believe the recruiters rely on the ATS score to filter further if the number of applicants is too great to manually process.

Maybe I’m an old romantic, but I’d love a recruitment industry that relied on people knowing people, rather than a computer trying to read your CV.   Whereas I am a complete supporter of technology and automation, for something so personal as job applications and giving people purpose, surely you can’t rely on the HAL of recruitment to decide your fate.  And if you aren’t as nosey as me, you could be submitting your CV unsuccessfully for months without knowing that its actually “computer says no” because of a lack of keywords in your Word document, rather than someone actively deciding you aren’t right.  I just find it all a bit sad that we’ve created a world where the volume of interaction is so great, we’ve started to automate interactions to make it more efficient.

I’d welcome commentary from any of the recruitment contacts I have on LinkedIn if I’ve misinterpreted the reality.  It’s not a criticism, I understand why this needs to be the case, but surely if recruiters had the ability to build relationships and an understanding of their candidates they could offer a better service than purely relying on automation? 

Technology and broad information dissemination brings enormous benefits.  But there are clearly downsides to the volume of interactions it breeds, and I can’t help but feel this industry trend is exactly that.

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