Business meeting

By John Bentley, CEO, elbo

If one positive can emerge from the current COVID-19 threat to business that we are all facing, it’s the opportunity to innovate.

In recent weeks, most business owners and SMEs have had to rapidly adjust and adapt their short-term operations, from the logistics of remote working to completely rethinking and adjusting supplier relationships. Many have also been looking at core business operations and making quick decisions about things such as diversifying their offering, furloughing teams and which processes can be made cheaper and more efficient. What’s clear from all of this activity is that the current crisis will have an impact on businesses of all sizes and in every sector for many years to come.

Traditional recruitment which relies on expensive, inefficient and time-consuming practices is a prime example of a business process which is ripe for disruption and innovation. The current crisis, where organisations have had a heightened focus on their teams and ensuring they have the right talent in place to drive business continuity, will undoubtably prompt many forward-thinking business owners to question how they source talent in the future.

Sourcing talent in a digital world

The way we seek out talent has lagged behind other business processes, with most continuing to revert to traditional ways of recruiting. In a digital world where we expect consumer-grade services in many areas of our lives, the idea of manually going through CVs or waiting days or even weeks for agencies or job boards to deliver results seems unthinkable. Not only this, but the cost of recruitment is significant, especially for SMEs and growing businesses which are hiring on a regular basis.

Data can now be used to effectively overcome subconscious bias, to hone in on real skills not subjective role descriptions and to assess behaviours, tendencies and personality traits as part of the sourcing process. Why try to gauge a candidate’s intellect by making unqualified assumptions about the quality of their education when you can determine their actual IQ with a short test? Why rely on an irrational ‘gut feeling’ about cultural and team fit when you can test these and score the candidate against them as part of the screening process? We seem programmed to continue highly subjective and dangerously inaccurate methods of sourcing talent.

Going forward, technology will play a pivotal role in recruitment, especially in a post-COVID world. For business owners and fast-growth organisations, hiring platforms offer a quick and cost-effective way of rebuilding operations and sourcing teams, including:

  • Saving time: as most SMEs will tell you, the process of writing job specs and then reviewing CVs is hugely time-consuming. Technology which offers job building tools, preferable that utilise things like pick lists, will significantly reduce this time burden.
  • No more CVS: CVs lack in detail and fail to pull out nuanced skills and personality traits. We can now collect multiple data points about an individual, but we must start to look at candidate data in a different way and vary the data that we assess – for example, skills over roles, IQ over education and personality over experience. The measures of performance have been largely unchanged for some time – IQ, agreeableness, conscientiousness and emotional stability. These things aren’t on CVs and in the rare cases they are used by hirers, they are often deployed too late. By including them in screening, employers make them part of the job requirement and are able to measure how candidates match them.
  • Instant shortlists – RecTech platforms should provide the ability to match job specs to applicant profiles automatically and instantly. Additionally, employers need to look for a solution which offers lots of other helpful management tools like interview scheduling and offer management. Saving time and money means you can dedicate more effort and energy to onboarding, training and the overall employee experience
  • Cancel big recruitment bills –It’s high time we all questioned whether the value we gain from recruiting agencies is worth the high price point. A recruitment technology solution should enable businesses to post jobs and find candidates for free with no upfront fees and ideally give you the opportunity to see if your chosen candidates are fit for purpose before you pay any recruitment fees.

Time for change

If necessity is the mother of invention, COVID-19 could well be thought of as the trigger that businesses needed to think creatively about shifting traditional business processes to new and innovative ways of doing business. Just as many are coming around to the benefits of video conferencing over face-to-face meetings as a perfectly valid and effective way to do business in this new environment, many will turn to recruiting technology as a way to shake up tired and outdated practices.