The evolution of cloud recruitment



By Martin Conboy

You have just picked up a new piece of work and 20 new customer service positions have become available within your company. You need to fill them quickly. You advertise and over 1000 people apply for the positions. What to do you do?

The challenge is how do you screen, process and decide which of those thousand people should be interviewed? And how do you do this quickly, efficiently and economically while at the same time selecting the best candidates?

The Internet and the advent of online recruitment have changed the shape of the recruitment industry forever. But the very advantages the Internet offers in terms of speed, flexibility, and accessibility can generate their own particular complications. The easier it is for people to apply for a job, the greater the number who will apply.

While recruiters almost universally agree that e-recruitment practices save time, money and streamline recruitment processes, more than fifty per cent will say that they incur ‘back of house’ costs as a direct result of their e-recruitment activities[1]. These additional costs are incurred through increased administration time spent handling large numbers of job applications and developing and implementing systems to support e-recruitment activities.

The other issue is the effectiveness and the quality of applicants attracted by online advertisements. Broadening the pool of candidates in many cases it does not always improve the quality of available candidates.

Now you have many more candidates to sort through than before, but you may not have a better selection to choose from. The key to recruiting successfully and effectively via the internet is to have an effective means of screening and assessing candidates. It’s not just about handling a large number of applications, but finding the best candidates to interview as quickly as possible.

Problems with existing technology and recruitment processes


It is now recognised that job boards generate huge volumes of unqualified responses, particularly in tight candidate markets. As a result of Internet advertising generating significantly more responses, recruiters now spend more time manually filtering through a greater number of applications. A lot of time and effort is wasted on unsuitable responses. Consequently metrics like Cost Per Hire (CPH) really start to reflect the real costs associated with inefficiency in the hiring process.

The law of diminishing marginal productivity states that if one input in the production process is increased while all other inputs are held fixed, a point will be reached at which additions of the input yield will be progressively smaller, or diminishing increases in output.

Thus a BPO service provider will find that a certain number of internal recruiters will yield the maximum output per employee. If he should hire more recruiters to handle the additional load his process will only become more expensive due to the expansion of the workforce and the output per head would be less efficient because the proportional increase in the overall output would be less than the expansion of the workforce.

At this point, each additional employee provides less and less return. Moreover if new employees are constantly added, the facility will eventually become so crowded that additional recruiters will actually decrease the efficiency of the other recruiters, thus decreasing the efficacy of the recruitment process and defeating the primary purpose of the exercise.

Technology advances have succeeded in more than offsetting this factor and improved recruitment processes.

Over the last decade a range of tools and processes for online screening and assessment have been developed.The online screening and assessment process starts with the online collection of job applications and automated screening and matching according to job descriptions. The purpose of screening is simply to examine very broad and basic qualifications of applicants in order to narrow down the applicant pool to a manageable number. It’s the first step in the candidate filtering process.

Screening is undertaken as a questionnaire via a web form for the purpose of collecting data about an applicant’s most basic qualifications. Common screening criteria include willingness to relocate, number of years experience, highest degree obtained, salary requirements, and so on.

Successful applicants then progress to the assessment stage where ranges of assessments are made on their cognitive ability, work preference, behaviour/personality traits and values.

The purpose of assessment is to provide a measurement of specific knowledge, skills, abilities, traits, and competencies that have been clearly linked to job performance. Properly constructed assessments look below the surface information presented by applicants, in order to predict which applicants are right for a particular position.

Though not as manually intensive or error prone as sorting through hundreds of resumes, the process is not as fully automated as it could be.

Interactive/video Resumes


Online screening and assessment may allow you to quickly and effectively short-list candidates to be interviewed.  But imagine if you could see and hear a candidate before you needed to interview them, thereby eliminating the need for first round interviews. These interactive video resumes unmask applicants from their text resume, enabling the hiring manager to see and hear them and to gain further insight into their strengths and communication skills. This is especially important when accessing candidates for business grade English skills. A leading player in this emerging space is Canadian based SaaS player

Candidates are video recorded while responding to typical first round interview questions. The hiring manager, via email, the web or CD, can view each candidate’s audio/visual presentation, potentially saving hours of interviewing time and money. The system provides whole back end workflow architecture to stream line and manage the process. Moreover hiring managers can do it in their own time and not be restrained by scheduling and finding mutually convenient times to meet candidates.

Automating the process


When one thinks of all the steps in the hiring process, from the candidate submitting their resume to being shortlisted to being given an offer, almost everything can now be handled by software. Applicant tracking systems have been used for over a decade, but combined with video now allows for extensive automation.

New solutions have recently entered the market that allow for the full automation of the recruitment process. Candidates are pre-interviewed and assessed based on what is important for the position and candidates are automatically filtered out until a list of final interviewees is presented.

October 22, 2014

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