The War for Talent

Is Technology The Answer?

The global marketplace continues to fuel new employment opportunities, creating a feeding frenzy in pools of top talent with crucial skills. This talent deficiency has increased the difficulty level of recruiting and attracting top talent by dramatically transitioning power from a company-driven employment market to an ever-shrinking, candidate-driven market. This shift impacts the market by placing a premium on qualified, capable, and competent human capital while pressuring companies to provide the right opportunity, environment and culture necessary to retain talent. In fact, according to a recent study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the average American worker seeks a new job every 5¹/₂ years, and even more frequently in technical disciplines like Engineering and Information Technology.

So how should companies address this challenge? Obviously, traditional approaches will not suffice! But does technology offer the ultimate solution? Technology has undoubtedly streamlined the hiring process by enabling employers to manage the volume of applications and resumes they receive, with managers averaging 250 responses per job posting. Social media networks such as LinkedIn provide alternate venues to connect, directly or indirectly, with passive job seekers and develop brand presence among talent communities.

Despite the obvious benefits, many HR thought leaders fear technology can do more harm than good by dictating how the hiring process is designed and executed rather than enabling recruiters and hiring managers to make informed decisions. In fact, many technology companies are betting that their advancements will remove human managers from the hiring process altogether. However, much of today’s technology focuses on removing candidates who fail to meet certain qualifications or identifying keywords in resumes rather than making talent judgments. The automation of many features through the widespread use of search engines and social media has altered recruiting in ways that are not always transparent to job seekers. When applicants fail to compensate for technological changes, hiring organizations are ultimately penalized because ideal candidates may not be considered. Many shortcomings in the development of new recruiting and hiring technology result from decisions made by technologists without the input of HR experts who value the human aspect of the recruiting process.

The question still remains what role technology plays in the overall recruiting process. Technology can create efficiencies in the hiring process, but do any of these options offer any competitive advantage in accessing the best candidates available? Our rush to adopt technology for practical reasons of recruiting and hiring has created obstacles to the human element. Integrated technology is a significant enabler of Human Capital management, but emphasizing the human touch fosters the development of a cohesive company culture; happy, engaged employees; and a fortified company brand that is attractive to candidates.

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