I read many opinions on how recruitment will evolve in the future and people seem to all think HR processes will go fully digital. I do not entirely agree on this, or at least I think recruitment will evolve in a different way.
In those companies where HR is seen as a partner for business management invests in HR so there are already chatbots in admin, ATS (applicant tracking system) and all the other wonders of modern technology to simplify the life of the team and automatize everything that can possibly be automatized.
In those companies where HR is seen as a function making work contracts and handing out pay slips, what makes you think there will be openness suddenly to invest significantly in digitalization? Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of digitalization. I’m just saying that allocating the necessary funds does not depend on a pandemic or on the obvious efficiency argument, but rather on the importance HR has in the organization. And let us not forget that overcoming the fear that automation will make some jobs obsolete is not a simple or rapid journey. Any change is painful, and we fight it instinctively.
Personally, I appreciate the recently developed solutions which replace the repetitive work of the recruiter but bear in mind no AI can replace the insights that the recruiter gets during a face to face interview. And no matter how much we dress up and clean a corner of our house, hiding the mess, a remote interview does not allow for the same level of communication and connection as a face to face one. Obviously in all the cases when we cannot see candidates in the office, we will proceed with the selection process online, but I expect a certain level of reserve in considering onboarding complete until the new employee can be observed live in the office.
So how will recruitment evolve in the future?
In my opinion the selection process will be more digitalized and more remotely performed. We all have zoom or skype installed on our phones now anyway and we are used to check the connection and plant the phone in an angle which shows our best side. And the recruiters have seen with their own eyes that remote interviews save a lot of time, allows for optimizing schedules both for the candidates and for them and for access to wider time slots.
If on one side, the weak connection does not allow us to notice the faces the candidate makes or his emotion, on the other side we get to test his skills in dealing with unforeseen situations, such as when the connection goes down or his kids suddenly enter the room. And candidates have learned to appreciate that they can see their face on the screen and control their emotions or at least the way in which they express them during the remote interview.
This pandemic will have made us take a big immediate step in accepting technology as part of the recruitment process and an instrument we can use anytime we can, instead of avoiding it like we used to. How many times did candidates tell us they were available for a remote interview and we still asked them to drive across town through the top of the traffic, just to see them in the office? In the future, this behavior will gradually fade into a higher level of acceptance of technology and its proactive use in the selection stages. Therefore my conclusion is that in the future both recruiters and candidates will get more used to technology, more attentive to the quality of job ads, more open to using automatic screening, online assessments or video onboarding.
As teams will start working remotely more and more and the induction and onboarding part will surrender to technology and the first day in the office which new employees classically spend listening to a group of colleagues speaking about the labor contract, health and safety rules, internal procedures will be replaced by a virtual pack. From what I have seen from Google, Zappos or Canva, they can successfully convey company values and an understanding of the culture through their short induction movies, but I have to say the video of Manatee County Government, Florida really has me convinced: HR thinks of everything: how to get to the office, where to park, how to find the HR office, how to dress for the badge photo.
After selection and onboarding, taking a step further I believe we will start being more open to hire people for flexible roles and for remote work, in virtual teams. Searching LinkedIn for remote work openings, I got 51.400 results and I was happy, but when trying to limit the search to Romania, only 41 were left. There is still a long way to go in this direction, but I think we will travel that road faster than we would have estimated before.
And further still, I believe we will make the transition towards even more flexibility, recruiting project-based talent and not necessarily long-term employees. Organizations will become leaner and more open to recruit on the basis of projects and to create remote teams of people who possess the competencies, know-how and experience necessary to successfully completing the respective project, rather than just hiring on undetermined period in a world in which both the company’s and the employees’ needs change and need to adapt to the current requirements of the business environment. Also, the young professionals entering the labor market no longer dream of jobs that they will retire from, but of projects that will put to the best use their talents, interests and expertise and bring passion into their work.
From my experience with many interviews of people below 30, I think this trend shows already. That is why, in my opinion, the future belongs to pooling resources. No matter how much we digitalize, performance, initiative, attitude and the correct match between talent and the challenge will continue to matter in any industry or context.
There’s more than just identifying the talent that the company needs, then it is all about making people understand what the organization expects from them, how they can maximize their contribution and grow professionally and personally, making the company that they are part of benefit of those increased capacities and levels of expertise. To that end, training plays an essential role.