We’ve all heard it before: is automation really better? In some cases, such as recruitment sourcing, it can actually be the key to your success.
Your HR department is busy. No matter how much time your hiring manager actually has to dedicate to sourcing, it is never enough. Automated talent systems, also sometimes called automated recruitment software, are designed to help you identify the candidates that you need and select the best person for the job.
There are many advantages to automated online sourcing, so long as you choose the best tools and resources. Not only does accurate sourcing reduce the time required to fill positions, but it can build long-term talent pipelines and put companies in a better position to meet their recruitment goals.
Rather than waiting for people to come to you, sourcing allows you to take an active role in your candidate sourcing and recruitment from the very beginning. Plus, automating the process saves you time and effort.
Current automation tools and trends
The sheer volume of candidates for any one position or organization is continually growing. With the added pressure to meet KPIs in recruiting and hiring, decision-makers in the talent acquisition process are left to struggling to make quality hires quickly.
This is why many organizations and talent acquisition professionals seek out automated tools to assist with recruitment sourcing.
Although many candidates and HR professionals alike express the desire for the human experience in interviews, the recruiting automation process can actually improve that one-on-one interaction by allowing recruiters to find the best talent and hone their own candidate engagement skills.
Plus, recruiters and sourcing specialists can gain back as much as eight hours of their week lost to repetitive tasks.
Techniques and tools you should be using
1. The applicant funnel
Anyone in sales has heard of the sales funnel. The same methods (and even a few metrics!) can be used in recruiting to create an applicant funnel. What this does is to essentially weed out the candidates that may not be the best fit and narrow down the talent pool to only the best applications for the job. How can automation help this?
By attracting targeted talent with targeted ads, emails, or website pages, automation can encourage more specific talent to apply to your job listing.
Rather than inviting 5,000 candidates that may or may not have the right skills, automation will focus on the 500 candidates that do. This will give you a better hiring rate and lower turnover than many other recruitment tools or methods.
This software can add pop-up boxes to your website for applications, trigger email campaigns, and more. Of course, you’ll still want a human filter at the end of the funnel to do the final filtering of applicants.
2. AI for candidate screenings
The average high-volume listing will receive over 250 resumes. As many as 65% of those go ignored simply because they get the first glance by an overwhelmed recruiter and immediately are tossed into the “no” pile.
With automated screening software, you can make sure that the right candidates are identified.
This software will learn what skills, qualifications, and experience are required for a position and will then use that information to screen candidates and create a shortlist for you, cutting your recruiting and hiring time by as much as two-thirds.
Unless you have hours to sift through hundreds of resumes to find the ideal candidates, this is one of the best places to implement automated tools. Plus, it can help remove unintentional bias and improve diversity in hiring. We’ll get more into that later.
3. Sourcing and recruitment chatbots
Chatbots are one of the most popular online tools available today. As a recruitment sourcing tool, chatbots help streamline the applicant funnel by offering real-time communication to your candidates.
This can improve the candidate experience while freeing up recruiters’ time because it provides instant access to valuable information.
What will a recruitment sourcing chatbot do, though? You can set it up to provide just about any assistance that you desire.
Typically, these chatbots will answer common job-related questions, provide updates, and offer an interface for scheduling follow-up interviews and other position-related tasks.
4. Bias-free programs
In a world where equal opportunities are more important than ever, getting rid of unconscious bias can be crucial to an organization’s employee sourcing. Human nature may not be able to overlook certain demographic elements, even if only by accident. And this may unconsciously affect the sourcing and hiring process.
With AI and new technologies, companies can automatically ignore items like candidate-disclosed race, age, and gender, ensuring that there is truly no bias in the hiring process.
As workplace diversity becomes an increasingly popular focus, it is crucial for companies to ensure that they are embracing diversity and hiring people for their skills, not their demographics. The thing about unconscious bias is that it’s hard to identify and predict because it’s just that– unconscious.
Adding in AI tools to remove any potential bias helps everyone.
5. Candidate database sourcing tools
Candidate rediscovery is one of the most affordable ways for an organization to find new talent. If you already have a database full of resumes and credentials, you may already have the perfect candidate and not even known it.
Software is available that allows you to scour your records and identify the best candidates for current openings. This software can even rank candidates based on their experience and skills, saving you yet another step in the sourcing process.
This method is different than traditional keyword searches because it actually learns what is required of the role and then finds the resumes that match, rather than requiring you to do the legwork.
At the very least your ATS should have advanced search options and tagging features to help you identify the right talent.
6. Automated targeting for job ads
You can use automated tools to “super-target” your job ads. With recruitment sourcing tools, you can re-target previous visitors in an attempt to regain their interest. You can also use geo-targeting to source locally and guarantee that candidates are from the same city as your business.
As the labor market continues to tighten its ranks, the old “blanket” approach of trying to reach everyone is no longer effective. Sourcing specialists and recruiters need to focus on the candidates that they want to reach, either by targeting their skills and abilities or their location or a combination of both.
Automation in recruitment makes this easy.
The limits of automation
Automated recruitment sourcing is quite effective. In fact, as much as 45% of the tasks people perform can actually be done more effectively with automation, according to a recent survey by PwC. This could provide significant savings, in both time and money, to businesses.
The limit of automation, of course, is the lack of the human connection. For candidates, they need to feel like more than just another number on your list to check off.
Fortunately, you can add a personal touch to your automated tools or messages to take the generic nature out of the experience. You can also make a point to include personalized points throughout the recruitment process, from application to hire, all while utilizing automation when and where it fits better.
The most important thing to remember with automated sourcing and recruitment is that you have to know when it’s time to make that leap to a face-to-face meeting or some other kind of human connection.
A lot of companies are streamlining this by doing initial interviews (or all interviews) through video conferencing software. This still allows everyone to be connected but saves on overhead and other expenses.
Channels best for automated sourcing
There are a number of different methods for reaching candidates with the automated tools that you are using for sourcing. Social sourcing, which can also be automated, is a very popular option for many recruiters and hiring managers right now.
Since social media is such a popular tool, companies are right to capitalize on it for the sake of identifying candidates and filling positions within their organization or for their clients.
Social media platforms can assist in streamlining sourcing, so long as you use them accordingly. Keep in mind that you will also need a different approach for active and passive candidate sourcing.
While an “in your face” job listing might work well for an active candidate, a company culture biopic or blog post might be more intriguing to a passive candidate.
- LinkedIn: While this might seem like the most obvious choice for recruitment sourcing, you’ll need to tread carefully here. People get tons of emails from recruiters and spambots on this site, so if you have a serious position or offer, you may want to find a way to make sure you get your message across so that is seen.
- Twitter: You can use lists, chat, and search to find candidates for your organization. You can even search for industry-related hashtags to find talent. It helps if you engage on Twitter and advertise your organization’s role in the industry. Use this platform to build your brand, not just track down potential talent.
- Indeed and others: Job boards are the obvious choice for recruitment sourcing, and for good reason. Even passive candidates can be sourced here by searching through the resume archives. There are more than 90 million resumes on Indeed alone, and while there may only be a handful that fit your open position, you can use automated tools to search their database in just seconds.
- Facebook: People use Facebook to look for jobs, research employers, and find other networking opportunities. It makes sense to utilize Facebook groups, paid ads, and your own company posts to attract and recruit talent when you can. Plus, like all social media, your Facebook can be largely automated to take the task off of your hands.
The one step you need to automate today
Automation provides a level of cost savings and efficiency that you cannot get with human recruitment sourcing. There are some limitations, as discussed, but it can generally be an effective part of the process.
While you may not decide to automate the more personal steps in your recruitment, automating the manual time-consuming tasks like uploading CVs in your ATS is absolutely essential. Use a sourcing extension to speed up your sourcing immediately.
But perhaps the most important thing to remember: automation is only a part of your recruitment strategy. It can be an effective tool, but only when used accordingly.
The key to success is to find ways to put the human touch back into your automated recruiting. Even if it’s just changing the wording of your emails to a more informal language, it’s going to make a difference.
People are going to be much more engaged and likely to respond if they feel like they’re being treated individually and not like applicant number 400 out of 5,000.
With customizable auto-generated responses, chatbots, and social media campaigns, there are plenty of ways to keep the automated recruitment sourcing process a little more personal.
In need of more sourcing inspiration? Read our Sourcing Strategies Playbook, where our three experts discuss the cutting-edge sourcing techniques you need to know about!