Recruiting has changed a lot since I started out in the industry, not always for the better. I sometimes get a bit tired of being told that digital technology has revolutionized my work world. The capacity to automate a lot of administrative tasks is truly great. Applicant tracking systems and artificial intelligence determining which resumes get in front of an HR professional is worrisome, as is the trend for companies to rely on assessment tests as the basis of their recruiting efforts.
I remain rather skeptical of most of those tests, especially the PI (Predictive Index). The results are either predicated upon things that a good recruiter should already have discovered while interviewing the candidate, or end up being completely inaccurate, as I discovered when reading the PI summary of an exceedingly problematic colleague a year into her employ (might I add that I inherited her, I did not recruit her). The final nail in the coffin for me was when, as a jobseeker, I had interviews with two different companies on the same day: both made me take a PI test with wildly opposing results, as though the same test had been taken by 2 completely different people.
DISC is a bit different. I didn’t feel that its analysis gave me any insights that I hadn’t already come across during introspection. What was an eye opener however was what it offered in terms of better communication with colleagues. The human tendency is to always speak “one’s own truth” and the idea that one should tailor how one communicated with one’s colleagues based on how they inputted information was revelatory. For example, I do best when given the necessary information and am then left alone to get on with it. I had a colleague who worked best when it was explained to her where what she was asked to do fit into the big picture; she needed to be made to feel how her contribution would make a difference in order for her to do her best work. When her DISC results showed this, and we were able to present what we were asking her to do in those terms, her work improved significantly. I applaud the modern technology that could assess that and allow us to create a happier and more productive workplace.
Investing money in the newest “time saving” technology seems to be the most prevalent trend in recruiting. I believe this to be short sighted. The proviso to incorporating AI, PI, ATS, or any acronym into your company’s recruiting processes, should be that that there are human conclusions involved in the process at all times. Otherwise, you will find that the money you saved by not hiring a qualified and involved recruiter, and buying the shiny new system instead, will soon be spent on turnover.
My colleagues and I have launched our executive search firm determined to keep our client base small to ensure quality of service, and to devoting a huge amount of time to the vetting process of our candidates. This is not only in keeping with our core values but ties in with the fact that we are secure enough in the matches that we ultimately make to offer a year’s guarantee on all executive placements. Taking the time to really get to know candidates the old-fashioned way, through multiple conversations over time, honing our listening and analytical skills rather than directing the conversation only to the questions we want answered to fill a specific role, fully understanding our clients’ needs though in-depth communication; these things make a big difference in terms of how deeply we get to know the people who trust us to find their next perfect role, which it then does for the clients who rely on us to find their next solid hire.
It also means that, though we are - of course - delighted to work with modern technologies that help us speed up our administrative tasks or streamline our day, we make better matches than any Applicant Tracking System or multiple choice assessment test ever will.