Automation in recruitment shouldn’t come at the expense of the customer experience, argues Roger Clements, chief growth officer at Matrix Workforce Management.

As the world hurtles towards an increasingly digitalised landscape, our HR, recruitment and background screening industry finds itself at a pivotal crossroads.

The integration of automation, data analytics, and artificial intelligence has undeniably brought about important efficiencies that are transforming processes for the better. But at the same time, as a sector we’re in danger of losing our soul.

The vital essence of all service-related industries like recruitment is providing a great experience to our customers – in our case employers and candidates. But so many organisations in our field, in their quest to achieve the commercial gains available through digitalisation, have lost sight of this guiding light.

Tuning to the individual

Automation should be used not only to accelerate processing speed and cut unnecessary administration effort and costs, but also to make life easier for employers and candidates through improved personalisation and increased time efficiencies.

Worryingly, however, overall, our industry has focused exclusively on the former at a time when business customers are increasingly demanding a consumer-grade experience.

As a result, we are starting to see the corporate graveyards filling up of those organisations that have forgotten to place experience at the heart of their human to digital strategy.

Great customer experience is tuned to the individual. Approached in the right way, the application of digitalisation – and in particular artificial intelligence – can deliver highly personalised customer interaction, as evidenced by Amazon and a host of other organisations that are getting digitalisation right.

These firms are achieving their success by ensuring they fully understand the customer journey and the challenges faced, along with what their audience wants, before embarking on automating services. They are then methodical, disciplined and precise in applying technology to solve these challenges and meet these demands.

Failed promises

In contrast, the digitalisation of our industry is driving deep frustration from employers and candidates who have been badly let down by the failed promises of badly thought-out digital service models, where a beautiful shop window is powered by a platform that appears to be tied together with string.

This is backed by a faceless and very often offshored service team that’s ill-prepared or insufficiently supported, which degrades rather than improves the customer experience.

In our sector, our services can be complex and require experts either at the front, middle or end of a customer journey. Getting digitalisation right so that we deliver a better experience through intelligent automation means blending human expertise with cutting-edge innovation.

Success therefore demands drawing on the decades of expertise that our teams possess to inform the development of technology to enhance the experience, validity and power of our digital solutions, supported by processes that are fast efficient and cost effective.

The outcome should be a long way from a faceless customer experience, putting properly trained and expert client success teams right at the front of our services, with the data and insight they need at their fingertips to advise, guide and in many cases, protect, our customers quickly and effectively.

Striking the right balance

Digitalisation holds the key to faster more efficient HR, screening and recruitment in the future. But the true leaders in this evolving and complex landscape are those that can strike the right balance between technology innovation and the human touch.

This means using the latest forms of data analytics, process personalisation and automation to streamline processes to deliver a more efficient and engaging service. But managing and informing this with human expertise, and always providing personalised interaction where it’s needed to guide and reassure candidates and employers at pivotal stages.

Achieving this optimal balance is a strategic imperative. Automation should enhance, not eclipse, human interaction. As the landscape of our industry continues to evolve, we should remain steadfast in our commitment to maintaining this delicate balance. By harnessing the power of automation while preserving the invaluable human element, we can empower organisations to attract top talent and foster meaningful connections that transcend mere transactions leaving a legacy of respect, empathy, and authenticity in the hearts and minds of candidates everywhere.

Originally published Tech Informed | April 2024

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash