From self-checkout at the grocery store to AI in HR, everything seems to be getting automated these days—including the workplace. While HR technology makes your recruiting process easier, quicker, and more successful, the human element in the recruiting process remains critical.
Ensure your recruiting and interview process avoids the feeling of being impersonal or dehumanized. Discover how to create a human-first approach to recruiting and hiring in order to attract new talent to your company.
How hiring got so impersonal
It’s hard to find job listings and apply
Local newspaper classifieds may be an option in some cities, but many listings have dramatically reduced readership. Online job boards have gotten more popular, but there are so many options that employers and applicants can have a hard time picking where to search.
Some job listings give only a phone number or email. Others use an “application form” that’s really just relaying contact information. Either way, the online application process typically goes back and forth a few times before you ever meet a real human.
Generic job descriptions
Most job descriptions have barely any unique information. Vague buzzwords and catchphrases are more common than specifics about important details. Readers tend to be skeptical employers who claim to offer “great pay and benefits” …without advertising the actual pay or specific benefits. A lot of companies claim to treat employees “like family,” which doesn’t sound convincing to anyone who has worked for different employers in the past.
Slow selection and impersonal hiring
It takes a while to cull through large numbers of resumes, especially when you have a lot of under-qualified applicants. Unfortunately, a period of just a couple weeks can feel much longer to a person in between jobs.
Interviews and even job offers can feel very impersonal in an era when we’re all second-guessing personal biases. Overemphasis on specific qualifications can mean ignoring the more subjective personality traits that make a big difference in company culture.
Too focused on checking off lists
Some companies begin a job search like a naive college student making a checklist for their dream husband or wife. There might be a long wishlist of skills and abilities you’d like to find in a perfect candidate, but it’s important to remember the much shorter list of core requirements.
In practice, a candidate’s ability to learn “on the job” can be more useful than their past accomplishments. Training to close skill gaps in-house can emphasize your company’s unique way of doing things.
Over-reliance on automation
Some types of automation improve efficiency, while others become habitual shortcuts. An automatic email response is a great way to confirm receipt of a new application, especially when the application may have been submitted in the middle of the night.
Once you’ve vetted the initial round of applications, it’s time for a human to reach out to the candidates who might be worth interviewing. Recruiting and onboarding software should streamline and simplify your talent search, not replace the human experience in recruiting.
Tips for creating a human-first approach to recruiting
Don’t withhold information in ways that might be considered misleading. If you’ve offered the position to someone else, then you owe a timely update to the other candidates you interviewed.
Some of your favorite applicants may “ghost” or disappear during the application process, but you should still treat the other applicants with professional courtesy and respect.
Communicate early and often
Your communication sets the tone and expectations for company culture. Even when job seekers are rejected, they still leave with either a positive or negative impression of your company. Your interview process can affect your company’s reputation, as local professionals in your industry compare first-hand experiences and rumors.
Prepare for each step of the process
Job interviews and evaluations go both ways. Qualified, motivated workers are judging your company’s culture and management. A bad first impression can drive away the workers who value respect and efficiency. With a more human-first approach to recruiting, you can show respect for candidates by setting aside time to prepare thoroughly for each phase of the interview process.
Humanize your relationships with candidates
Automated emails can address each person by their first name, but you’ll need to do better. Learn at least a little about their individual preferences and backgrounds. Try to make a human connection in interviews. Make it clear that you’re personally invested in them, and candidates will feel more invested in your company.
If they aren’t a great match for your current opening, could they be a good candidate for future positions? You can ask for permission to contact them about opportunities in the future, if a different position might be a better fit for their skills and abilities.
Improve the experience for job applicants
Try to provide helpful information in your automation. You might have a recruiting page on your company site where applicants can choose to learn more about company culture and perks.
HR staff should work to minimize the wait time between each phase of the hiring process from application to interviews to onboarding the new hire. Even interviews that don’t lead to a job offer can still be a positive experience for everyone involved.
Be inclusive and reduce unconscious bias
Use modern recruiting strategies to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). While promoting diversity and inclusion, you still want to attract people who share similar passions and goals. You can try blind recruiting when comparing resumes, removing the personally identifying details like names and religious or gender-exclusive schools.
Emphasize company culture
Without getting too cheesy or generic, you should emphasize what’s special about your company. The workers who value your company’s unique priorities will prove to be a better match for your team.
A Workplace Giving Program can demonstrate how working at your company is bigger than just earning a paycheck, and it’s something unique to mention in recruiting material.
Build towards better onboarding
Once the job offer is accepted, the interview process flows naturally into onboarding. With the right software, you can begin remote onboarding and start paperwork before your new hire’s first day in the office.
At some point in the first weeks of the new hire’s time at your company, survey them on their impressions from the application and onboarding process. What were their first impressions of the company culture? What could be improved? Human beings are always growing and changing, and your processes should be constantly improving, too.
Discover how Netchex can help you implement a more human-first approach to recruiting:
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