By Peter Weddle CEO TAtech
Recently, TAtech hosted the latest in its series of Exclusive Roundtables that bring together TA professionals to tackle some of the most important issues in talent acquisition today. Our topic for the episode was “How can technology help to optimize the Recruiter’s experience?”
We picked that topic for two reasons:
• First, there’s been plenty of discussion about what needs to be done to optimize the Candidate’s experience, and that’s certainly a step forward. But, here’s the rub: you can’t create a superior Candidate’s experience unless you first optimize the Recruiter’s experience.
• Second, for many in the talent acquisition field, technology is viewed as a powerful resource that can dramatically improve a recruiter’s performance. For many others, however, it represents an existential threat to recruiting careers that must be minimized or at least strictly controlled.
Our panel offered some insights on how best to achieve that first outcome. For the second, however, it’s important to understand what’s driving the concern in the first place. After all, recruiters use a host of technology in their everyday lives so they aren’t simply a bunch of Luddites, pushing back on progress. No, there’s another factor at play, and addressing it is the key to transforming anxiety into anticipation.
Every time a new technological advancement is announced that can play a role in talent acquisition, a firestorm of comments erupts on social media. Take ChatGPT, for example. Within hours of its release, thousands of posts appeared on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, all addressing some aspect of a single question: “Will recruiters still have a job now that this hyper-intelligent communications capability has arrived?”.
While the answer is (almost) always “Yes, recruiters will still have work to do,” the question itself is actually a red herring. Instead, what recruiters should be asking themselves is this: “How is my job likely to change with the arrival of this technology and how can I effectively manage (or leverage) that change to my benefit?” Large language models and every other form of artificial intelligence are here to stay, so what must recruiters do to ensure they’re the master rather than the victim of whatever change they bring?
Being the Master of Change Rather Than Its Victim
New technology-based tools can sometimes be disruptive. Not always. But often enough that the change they activate needs to be forecasted and then effectively accommodated. What kind of change are we talking about? It can range from the need for recruiters, those in HR and even hiring managers to acquire a new set of skills to much broader organizational impacts that can include revisions to policies, processes and practices.
The key to forecasting such changes is to make their discovery and analysis a part of the product acquisition process from the very beginning. Waiting until after the contract has been signed for a new product almost guarantees that the scope and impact of change it introduces will be greater than anticipated and harder to assimilate. Said another way, it’s best to see the introduction of a new technology-based product as an exercise in change management and to plan accordingly.
Even when a new product doe not produce significant organizational change, its introduction still has a disruptive effect on the recruiter’s job. The rationale for acquiring these capabilities is almost always to free recruiters from the low value administrative and process tasks that currently consume so much of their time. As it’s often articulated, the goal is to enable recruiters “to do what they do best.” But what is that exactly?
To achieve the maximum ROI on a new product, recruiters should have a clear vision for what their new focus will be once technology takes the drudgery out of their job. In addition, they should conduct an assessment of their skill set for performing these new priorities. Since they haven’t previously had the time to do much of what they do best, there’s a high likelihood that some of those skills may have atrophied. Part of product implementation, therefore, should be to acquire whatever new skills are needed to use the technology effectively and whatever old skills need to be refreshed so they can be deployed in conjunction with the new product.
In essence, optimizing the change you do with talent technology is the best way to make the most of that technology.
Food for Thought,
Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at OneStoryforAll.com. And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.