Recruiting Automation vs. Hiring Facilitation

As I continue to reflect on David Smooke’s question, “What can we do to connect people with opportunity?” I wonder why, in this age of light-speed communication, multitudinous weak-tied tribes, and a bandwagon of technology tools to bring it all together, we even have to ask this question. It should be easy—to find a job, to find qualified people, to make good hires. But, it is not.

When I come in and start working with a client on recruitment processes, the first to embrace me are the overwhelmed HR and recruiting staff. The first to resist me are the hiring managers, because I make them sit down and talk to me. I want to know what is going on in their hiring experience. Then, things start to change. They get excited because they see activity and have hope that jobs that have been open for months will be filled. The resistance recedes. My 16 year old son made the comment one time when I was remarking on this, “They love you, Mom, because you make their lives easier!” Funny, but I’d never looked at it that way.

Automate CultureFacilitation makes things easier. Automation makes things faster. Technology should focus on facilitating hiring as opposed to automating recruiting.

In the recruiting process most metrics relate to speed, quantity, cost, and other things that equate to hard work for everyone. We make it hard for applicants to be interviewed. We make it hard for hiring managers to hire. We throw a lot of obstacles in the hiring path to slow things down so that we don’t “mishire,” because then, we will have to figure out how to fire without being sued. We do this in the name of “compliance and fairness,” but what happens to finding great talent?

Without naming names, some of the biggest offenders, with the most arduous hiring processes, are exceptionally well known innovators with thousands of employees and even more thousands of people trying to get their resumes reviewed.

Why is there a problem? What is the problem?

We have focused on automating flawed processes. Our automation serves our need to comply with employment laws but it doesn’t facilitate the hiring process. We have more stuff coming in faster, but the process to hire great people is harder. We need to make it easier, or we will never be able to connect people with opportunity.

It is time to put “ease of hire” at the top of the long list of staffing metrics. In future posts, I will discuss some ways to make things easier for everyone.

Pat Sharp, The Talent Architect blends strategy, technology tools, and assessment tools with marketing magic to create unique talent solutions. Past and current clients include: Motorola, Deloitte, TiVo, and Cloudscaling. Visit The Talent Architect. Photo Credit DevCentral.

Originally Published on the SmartRecruiters Blog


  1. Interesting article, but misses a few key points. When my son entered the workforce in 1995, with no student loans, he could afford to take a low paying entry wage. That was 17 years ago.
    Recently on Hannity, he interviewed a recent Harvard grad who had joined the Occupy Wall Street movement. Why did this person with an Ivy league education join a ragtag group of people with multible agendas? He could not find the kind of work he needed. Although Hannity tried to tell him what you advocate in the response to the Smooke article, (Start entry level, work your way up), the student responded that without a $70,000 a year job, he could not keep up with his student loans and live in an apartment. Maybe, maybe not. The truth is universities are raising their prices 7-10% a year when the economy is receding. Family income is down almost $4000 a year in the last three years. But somehow, on the campus, this recession seems to have not penetrated. Maybe they have less students for the same amount of classrooms, so they have to charge more. Heaven forbid they should recede with the rest of the population.

    Secondly, for those without the “proper skillset” due to age or long-time employment, when you get within ten years of retiring and get laid off, the prospect of taking on new education, especially with fully 50% of college grads not able to find work, is daunting. Plus, the unemployed older workers have other things, like large bill packages to keep up on. No time for school, have to figure out how to pay the mortgate. I think you’ve been there.

    So, it comes down to the companies not seeing the forest for the trees. In this economy, most companies do exactly the opposite of what they should do. Instead of filling the position with someone that maybe just matches the position and doing a small amount of training to add on, maybe just hiring slightly under, they tend to tack on lots of other items they think they can now add since the worker pool should be so big. Need a new IT director? Let’s tack on web designer, Wi-Fi installer for the logistics department, and on and on.

    I recently took an interview for a manufacturing engineer at a local company, more to see what things looked like than to take the job. I was stunned at the skillset they wanted. Kaizen certified, Six Sigma, Autocad proficient, take on the entire Quality Department, install new lines, supervise line leaders, it was outrageous. All for under 50K a year. Good luck with that list. The position had been open for almost four months, much as you describe these openings. No wonder.

    The answer lies in a strict discipline of what a company needs, and what they are willing to pay for it, this economy not withstanding. Think long term, not how much you can save in the first two years in a single person’s salary. When a hiring company wants to see your last W-2, so they can lo-ball you, you know the employee will jump as soon as the economy improves if they do take the job. So tacking on extra tasks, and trying to buy on the cheap just ends up with a lot of unfilled positions and a lot of unemployed people who otherwise could do the job.

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