The Future of Recruitment: Digital or Not?

31 October, 2019

By Guy Vereecke, AHEAD (Belgium)

Dr. John Sullivan, an internationally known HR thought-leader from Silicon Valley, gives his view on the future of recruitment in a recent post[1]. The article is a “think piece” designed to stimulate our thoughts around the future of recruiting.

I wanted to share it with you for two reasons:

  1. Dr. Sullivan is an authority in this field.  Fast Company called him the “Michael Jordan of Hiring”. called him “the father of HR Metrics” and SHRM called him “One of the Industry most respected strategists”.  He was among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and was ranked eighth in the top 25 online influencers in Talent Management.
  2. If he is right, we’d better get our act together.

Dr. Sullivan writes the following: “Forget what you’ve read about the future of recruiting, because the biggest driver of change will be an integrated self-service phone app.  A single integrated phone app will dominate because often today’s recruiting processes are merely a hodgepodge of barely connected parts.  Executives now expect all business processes to be fully integrated with seamless handoffs.  Therefore, sooner than you think, managers will hire without recruiters, using only a single integrated self-service phone app.

Self-service Mobile Phone Apps dominate the Future of Business Processes

It might initially seem strange that a hiring manager could complete the entire hiring process on their mobile platform without directly working with a recruiter.

In banking, “fin-apps” already allow customers to complete almost every banking transaction on their own, gradually replacing most tellers/clerks and even ATMs.  Not to mention, today we can purchase almost anything without interacting with a single person.

Recruiting leaders should not be surprised to learn that they are not exempt from this trend.

In the future, recruiting will be done exclusively by hiring managers using self-service and without (in most cases) the personal help of a recruiter.

It will be possible thanks to an end-to-end integrated recruiting app, supported by machine learning, that will literally guide managers through each step, while simultaneously improving every single decision in the hiring process.

Advantages of the Phone App-Based Self-Service Recruiting Model

Once you get past the “but we will lose the human touch whining”, it makes sense to begin examining the many benefits of the self-service fully automated recruiting model. They include:

  • Accessibility – Managers already carry and use their phones 24/7. Simply because of its dominant accessibility, eventually, all corporate software applications will be 100 percent usable from any manager’s mobile phone.
  • Fully integrated recruitment process – at present, it can be challenging to provide a unified recruitment process with separate vendor-supplied tools and separate functional teams managing each major recruiting step.  A single integrated application could be the solution.  Most likely, a large vendor will offer a self-service recruiting app that covers every recruiting step from the beginning to the end.  Obviously, in order to be successful, each step of the recruitment process needs to be fully integrated, allowing the user a seamless handoff from one step to another. 
  • Ownership and control of the recruiting process – a universal problem is that hiring managers are not able to devote enough time to recruiting. However, if we give managers total control of the recruitment process, their engagement will increase.  With a self-service app, managers can make every decision with aid of data, while controlling the pace of the process.  This allows managers to have not only total control of the process, but also full responsibility, thus they will most likely devote more time to the process. 
  • A data-supported process – the primary weakness of most recruiting processes is that they are based on intuition and best practices.  However, this app increases the likelihood that most decisions will be made using data.  At each step and decision point, the hiring manager is provided with data and predictive correlations that will steer them toward an objective decision.  Of course, a manager can make decisions contrary to what data suggest. However, should a hiring mistake occur, the app’s automated failure analysis component will make them fully aware of their bad decision-making.
  • On point decision-making – With the app, decisions are made closer to those who understand the needs. Often miscommunications between the hiring manager and the recruiter can slow up the hiring process and even lead to mis-hires.  The app reduces the need for communications, by allowing the hiring manager to make every decision. 
  • Accelerated hiring process – if managers need to speed up to the recruitment process to meet deadlines they have the power to do so.

As other business processes are shifting over to the self-service phone app model, there is tremendous pressure on recruiting to do away with the disjointed hodgepodge of sorcerers, recruiters, and outside vendors and to transition to the future of recruiting.  An integrated self-service app will offer hiring managers an end-to-end full-cycle recruiting process at their fingertips, 24/7.

The app will interactively walk the manager through each step and decision of the hiring process. In the end, it will provide an objective metric assessment of the result, as well as provide the hiring manager with feedback on how to improve their next hire.

Futuristic? Look what happened to banking.

[1] Dr.John Sullivan, Alert-Recruiting’s Future will be dominated by a Full Cycle Self-Service Phone App!, October 14, 2019 .

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