Hiring Technology is Great…Until it Isn’t

It recently struck me how HR professionals can sometimes become overly dependent and even defensive of hiring technology solutions, even when faced with obvious gaps in their effectiveness.

A short while ago, I spoke to a recruitment leader who had invested heavily in resume screening software, and was using local career sites to attract candidates who would use that software to apply.  It was like watching a light bulb turn on when I suggested that only financial professionals who were actively searching for a job would see the company’s ad on Workopolis.  I asked if it would be helpful to also promote the opportunity to busy financial professionals who didn’t have time to visit career sites?  The answer was yes — but — he was very insistent that the company’s expensive resume screening system be utilized in the process.

So, then we got to talking about how some sophisticated resume screening software can turn off busy, employed and career-stable financial professionals.  I pointed out how some software forces candidates to essentially recreate their resume and fill out cumbersome forms, hoping that he could appreciate how that might frustrate a busy senior executive or manager. I didn’t have the heart to say that great, employed executives are busy, so they don’t have time to figure out what the key words are that the screening software has been programmed to look for.

Another large corporation HR recruitment leader I spoke to had invested very heavily the LinkedIn recruitment solution, and she had built up a significant department of in-house recruiters to run that system and the subsequent processes. I asked about the many excellent financial professionals who are not on LinkedIn according to a recent Pew Research study, LinkedIn is only used by 28% of adult internet users. Instead of considering what else could be done to capture the attention of people not using LinkedIn, she protectively stated that “those financial professionals are severely limiting their career.”

I wonder what will happen to HR leaders like this when a Board member receives a complaint from a friend — who also happens to be a highly desirable senior candidate — about the long and cumbersome online job application process they endured, compared to a more stream-lined approach of a competitor?  How long before HR departments are asked to demonstrate exactly how much money they’re saving or how they’re reducing unwanted turnover by maintaining large numbers of in-house recruiters?  What would most senior executives and Board members say if they learned that there are cost effective, complimentary services that could help their company also access the top notch financial professionals who aren’t actively using LinkedIn

Will they be open to change, or will they stick by their beloved technology, no matter how flawed?

Stephen Smyth is the CEO & Managing Consultant of Chief Financial Interviewer, Inc.