The automation of recruiting and the obsession with technology

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automatin-in-recruiting-460x170Before I began this post, I had to pull my jaw off the ground. Yes, I had just learned that Monster paid $12.5M for Jobr. That’s right. An app that Monster actually spec’d out to build at $250K. So why did they do it? An unhealthy obsession with technology. I think they were willing to throw money at anything that would make them hip and relevant and new.

Why? Because that’s how it rolls in the recruiting industry. If it ain’t automated and AI and programmatic and NEW, well….it just ain’t.

Before you dismiss me as an out-of-touch Luddite with one foot firmly in the past, consider this: if automation is so great, why aren’t HR folks and hiring managers happier? Why do they consistently complain about the difficulty in finding quality candidates? One of the fundamental promises of recruiting automation and digitization has been (at least as long as I have been around) an improvement in candidate quality and a reduction in hiring cost. It seems that recruiting automation has perhaps made it easier to hire vast quantities of low-skilled workers – at a lower cost. But moving up the skill ladder? Less successful.

Don’t get me wrong – I like new, shiny technology. I write about the interesting start ups in our industry on a regular basis. And I recognize that recruiting technology does some things better today than it did 20 years ago. But the bottom line is the match between employer and candidate – and sometimes I feel like automation makes things worse by breaking down a person’s capabilities and drive and abilities into bits and blocks of data that become disassociated from the original living, breathing human. (And yes, that was a long sentence. Sorry.).

So if you work in the recruiting industry (and if you’re reading this, I assume you do), test your ‘solution’ against one simple metric: does it provide employers with exactly the hires they wanted, and candidates with exactly the employer they wanted. (And note, I said that candidates should get the employer they wanted – not necessarily the job – because the right workplace fit encourages the candidate to grow. A simple job fit may not.).

And you can bet I will be back soon with new, shiny tools and sites and companies. But I will be skeptical…as should you.

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