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Technology May Help Solve Your Staffing Needs

When you think of "crowdsourcing," you probably think about people trying to raise money for a charitable purpose from friends, acquaintances and like-minded people on the Internet. But in the world of recruiting, crowdsourcing has now caught on in a big way.

A Strong Platform

Much of the work of a recruitment agency, in addition to employing a staff of recruiters, consists of lining up employers to use its services. Other duties include administrative functions, such as relaying information about its clients' staffing needs to recruiters and ongoing communication with those clients. Traditionally, these tasks have been done by recruiters beating the bushes looking for suitable candidates. Today, many of these communication and admin tasks can be streamlined and automated on an Internet-based service platform.

Recruitment infographicEmployers can access the platform directly and relay in detail their "talent acquisition" needs, setting the recruitment process in motion. Information about potentially suitable and interested job candidates can be returned to employers via the platform, hitting the ball back into the employer's court.

Where crowdsourcing comes into play is that freelance (or gig worker) recruiters can access the platform to find recruitment-pending searches that they're most qualified to complete based on their contacts and talent market niche, and go about the business of finding viable job candidates. Those freelancers are also called "contributors" to the platform.

The platform's provider is the "middle man" between the employer and the recruiter, and the highly automated nature of the services it performs can significantly lower the overall cost of filling an open position.

Recruiters employed by traditional staff model recruitment agencies could also use such a platform if they want to and work out the arrangements with their own employers.

On most platforms you pay only if you hire a job candidate you connected with via the service, but some also establish an hourly rate to support you in your own recruiting efforts.

Key Developments

Here are four more developments in the recruitment field that are part an outgrowth of the intersection of tight labor markets and technology advances:

  • Application of artificial intelligence (AI) to recruiting: Galloping advances in AI allow recruiters to, among other things, identify "passive" job seekers. These are individuals who might be receptive to learning about a new job opportunity, but haven't yet explored the market. Data about them is gleaned from digital footprints they leave on the Internet. Here's how one vendor describes its service: "Using AI technology and machine learning, [the company] quickly finds candidates based on criteria set by recruiters … it automatically sorts, analyzes, and ranks a person's fit for an open position across several attributes including job title, work history, skills, likeliness to leave their current role and more."
  • Advanced interviewing and testing tools: New systems invite job candidates to demonstrate their abilities online, to perform tasks pertinent to the position. "Hard" skills can include computer programming, writing and design, among others. Also, some systems seek to assess "soft" skills, such as curiosity and teamwork. Even virtual reality technology has been deployed to place candidates in 3-D situations and assess their certain skills.
  • Data analytics: According to the 2018 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends survey, recruiting pros value existing data analysis tools for purposes of maximizing the probability that their new recruits stay with their new employer a long time. The tools are also useful for evaluating skills gaps, building better job offers, understanding "candidate wants," predicting candidate success, and assessing talent supply and demand.
  • Progress toward workforce diversity goals: Increasing workforce diversity (and leveraging technology that helps to achieve it) is being driven by changing demographics that are "diversifying our communities, shrinking talent pools for companies that don't adapt," according to LinkedIn. Technology is being applied in various ways in recruitment processes to assist employers. For example, one recruitment platform attacks unconscious bias with an "unbiased sourcing mode" option. "Users can anonymize factors commonly associated with different forms of bias" with "filter options" that remove the actual names, hide photos, replace gender-specific pronouns and conceal school names, among other things.

Technology can only go so far in solving your manpower requirements. The Global Recruiting Trends survey pinpointed several skills considered least likely to be replaced by technology. They include building relationships with candidates, seeing candidate potential beyond credentials, judging "cultural fit," gauging candidate interpersonal skills and convincing candidates to accept job offers.

The Bottom Line

Despite technology's impressive new capabilities in the realm of recruiting, it can't replace the essential human element. Only with an "all-of-the-above" strategy — combining the best of people skills and technology — are you likely to build and maintain the staff you need for today and into the future.

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